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In Depth: Mandating Multifamily Zoning Near Massachusetts Public Transit

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June 20, 2023  

In Depth: Mandating Multifamily Zoning Near Massachusetts Public Transit

The In Depth section on HUD User’s Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse (RBC) takes a closer look at innovative state and local strategies, activities, and plans to mitigate the impacts of regulations on the development of affordable housing. Each In Depth article highlights a particular plan, ordinance, or strategy in the RBC database and elaborates on aspects such as the approval process, stakeholder participation, and the progress made in reducing regulatory barriers.

In January 2021, Massachusetts enacted House Bill 5250 (H.5250), which includes measures to prioritize higher-density residential construction near the state’s public transit system. In addition to easing the approval process for zoning amendments that facilitate the production of multifamily housing, the bill directs communities served by the state’s transit agency, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), to zone at least one district near a transit station that permits multifamily housing without the need for a special permit, variance, zoning amendment, or other discretionary approval. The bill also directs the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in consultation with MBTA, to prepare guidelines to determine jurisdictions’ compliance with the bill.

Visit HUD User’s RBC In Depth page to learn more about Massachusetts’ H.5250, as well as other plans and initiatives that state and local governments have enacted to reduce impediments to affordable housing.

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