Final Guidelines to Determine Compliance with 3A
September 8th at 9:38am.
The Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has released the final guidelines to determine compliance with Section 3A of the Zoning Act. Section 3A requires that every MBTA community have at least one zoning district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is allowed as of right, and which is located near a transit station, if possible.
The guidelines incorporate several changes from the initial draft, including:
Revised Community Categories: The “bus service” category has been eliminated. MBTA communities are now categorized as rapid transit, commuter rail, adjacent, and adjacent small town.
Significant Adjustments for Small and Rural Towns with No Transit Stations: The final guidelines eliminate the minimum land requirement for zoning districts (previously 50 acres). The guidelines also reduce the multifamily unit capacity for communities with a population of less than 7,000 (or under 500 residents per square mile).
Changes to Reasonable Size Criteria: The final guidelines prevent multi-family unit capacity from exceeding 25% of a community’s existing housing stock, or the minimum land from exceeding 1.5% of its total developable land area.
Tailored District Location Requirements: The portion of a multi-family zoning district that must be located within a half mile of a transit station now varies based on the amount of developable station area within each MBTA community. Communities with more developable station area land will be required to have more of their multifamily districts within a half mile of transit stations. A community with less than 100 developable acres within a half mile of a station will be free to choose any appropriate location.
For a summary of how NSR communities were affected by the guidelines, please click this link HERE.
Every NSR community besides Georgetown, Gloucester, Haverhill, Ipswich, and Middleton saw a reduction in multi-family unit capacity with the updated guidelines.
If a MBTA community is not in compliance with Section 3A, that community will not be eligible for funds from the following grant programs: Housing Choice Initiative, Local Capital Projects Fund, and MassWorks infrastructure program.
Updates, including individual community efforts to reach compliance, will be posted on the NSR Blog.