top of page
  • Writer's pictureAndrew Sobel

MBTA Communities Act: Residents Have Spoken

The MBTA Communities Act is a law that states that those communities serviced by the MBTA (Boston's train/bus system) MUST allow/change zoning to accommodate multifamily properties within 0.5 miles of a MBTA service. This can be a drastic change in towns such as Milton, MA who voted strongly AGAINST implementation of this law, where the majority of the zoning is for stand-alone single family homes which is the least dense type of housing.

Towns across MA have been voting and the overwhelming response is NO, they don't agree with the required change in zoning. Is this a case of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard)? Should the residents have final say in the local zoning? Does the state have the authority to change zoning to serve their goal of creating more, denser housing near public transportation?

To help answer that, one has to look at the concept of the Act:

A) Lower the barrier for dense housing to be built by updating zoning where it's not currently permitted to allow "multifamily" type properties (2+ units, doesn't differentiate between condo or rental).

B) The zoning changes will be required anywhere within walking distance (0.5 miles) to any type of public transportation (MBTA). This is aimed at reducing the need for a car, potentially lowering the cost of living.

C) Additional housing stock will be ADDED to the market, helping to satiate the imbalance in supply (currently low) vs demand (currently high). This housing will be, by comparison, more affordable than the single family home alternative on a unit by unit basis.

D) Price appreciation may slow, due to the added supply, making the area potentially more "affordable" or at least provide more affordable options. Eg: A 2-bedroom apartment is less expensive than a 3-4 bedroom single family and you can fit 5 2-beds in the same lot as a large single family style home.

Some of the cases against the MBTA Communities Act revolve around the notion that people chose to live in those communities because of the open space (yards!) and now a change is being forced based on a services that has 'always' been provided (at least since the 70's).

Our post on Instagram has garnered 90,000+ views and over a 1,000 comments of all type of viewpoints, showing this is a divisive topic!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the MBTA Communities Act.

9 views0 comments


bottom of page