NEW: MBTA zoning technical assistance & MHP's Complete Neighborhoods Initiative. MORE

MBTA Zoning Technical Assistance


This program will support MBTA communities seeking to comply with the new provision in the $262 million Economic Development Bond Bill of 2021. The bill included modifications to the state's zoning act (Chapter 40A, Section 18), adding a new section (3A) which directs 175 MBTA communities to adopt zoning where multi-family housing is permitted by right.

NEW: Compliance deadlines for MBTA communities

Since then, the state has developed draft compliance guidelines. Released on Dec. 15, 2021, the guidelines are based on the principle that communities that benefit from having access or proximity to public transit should “provide the opportunity for multi-family housing around these assets at a scale, density and character consistent with the community’s planning goals.” The draft guidelines will be open for public comment through March 31, 2022. Public comment can be made through this online form.

To support community understanding and compliance, MHP's will provide technical assistance for MBTA Communities, in collaboration with Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The 3A-TA program components will include:

  • Training: MHP will develop a series of instructional webinars for MBTA communities. 3A-TA webinars will feature experts and case studies that will complement DHCD outreach on Section 3A goals and technical compliance requirements by providing “how-to” instruction on attaining compliance, including mapping district boundaries build-out analysis, crafting by-laws and building community support.
  • Community specific 3A-TA Technical Assistance Awards: Starting in the spring of 2022, MHP will provide direct compliance technical assistance to a limited number of communities. Assistance will be provided by MHP staff or by third-party consultants. Eligible activities could include drafting or amending bylaw/ordinance, drawing district boundaries and mapping, build-out analysis, community outreach and preliminary compliance review assistance in collaboration with DHCD.
  • 3A-TA Information Clearinghouse: MHP is building a 3A-TA Clearinghouse with information to help communities comply with the new requirements. This will include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Best Practices, compliance deadlines, a model by-law or ordinance, sample talking points and action plans. Training resources will be developed in collaboration with DHCD’s Community Services Division, and will complement support and guidance available from DHCD, Citizens Planning Training Collaborative (CPTC), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and other partners. Scroll down for links to resources we have posted so far.

3A-TA Clearinghouse

MBTA zoning requirement resources from Mass.gov

Tools for planners

Zoning & Transportation

Additional resources

Discussion & commentary

More information

  • Technical Assistance: MHP Senior Planner, Katy Lacy, klacy@mhp.net.
  • Mapping & analysis: Matija Jankovic, MHP's Center for Housing Data, mjankovic@mhp.net