MAPC releases statement on MBTA Communities Multifamily Zoning Guidelines

MBTA communities can be affordable, transit-oriented

For immediate release: Friday, April 1

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) today released the following statement regarding the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s (EOHED) draft guidelines for compliance with the MBTA communities multifamily zoning requirement established in Section 3A of the Zoning Act.

“As the regional planning agency serving the 101 cities and towns of Greater Boston, MAPC is working hard to address the housing crisis facing the Commonwealth. We applaud both the Legislature and the Administration for providing much needed tools to meet housing need and demand, most recently with the multifamily zoning requirement for MBTA communities.

“Section 3A provides a vital opportunity to reverse exclusionary zoning policies that have barred many households and families from living in communities across the Commonwealth and perpetuated patterns of segregation by race and income. Cities and towns can now use Section 3A to create stable, mixed-income, and transit-oriented housing throughout Eastern and Central Massachusetts.

“To advance these objectives, the final guidelines must provide communities with ways to zone for affordable units and larger units suitable for families.

“Greater affordability can be achieved by providing incentives for adopting inclusionary zoning and/or MGL Chapter 40R Smart Growth Overlay Districts, both of which require developers to include affordable units in new projects. The guidelines should also prohibit any and all zoning barriers to family-sized housing production and require these units to be included in unit capacity calculations. Guidelines must also ensure new housing is truly transit-oriented, rather than transit-adjacent, and reconcile the need for a substantial long-term increase in multifamily zoning capacity with local concerns about the scale and pace of new development.

“MAPC remains steadfastly committed to providing our cities and towns with technical assistance to expand housing opportunities. We are ready to conduct community engagement, assess current zoning for Section 3A compliance, and draft zoning that is Section 3A-compliant. We are eager to partner with the Administration to help our cities and towns grow in a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable way.”

To read MAPC’s letter to EHOED with our full recommendations, visit: mapc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Section3A_FinalComments_3_21_22.pdf.

Press Contact

Amanda Linehan
MAPC Communications Director
alinehan@mapc.org