WHAT IS IT?
Legislation enacted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Legislature in January 2021 requires that an “MBTA community” shall have at least one zoning district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right and meets additional criteria that includes:
• Minimum gross density of 15 units per acre
• Land located not more than 0.5 miles from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, if applicable
• No age restrictions and suitable for families with children
WHO IS AN MBTA COMMUNITY?
An “MBTA community” is defined by reference to Section 1 of MGL c. 161A:
- one of the “14 cities and towns” that initially hosted MBTA service;
- one of the “51 cities and towns” that also host MBTA service but joined later;
- other “served communities” that abut a city or town that hosts MBTA service; or
- a municipality that has been added to the MBTA under G.L. c. 161A, sec. 6 or in accordance with any special law relative to the area constituting the authority.
Randolph is designated as a "commuter rail" community due to the Randolph/Holbrook Commuter Rail Station.
WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?
DOES THE LAW FORCE PRODUCTION OF HOUSING?
WHAT IS RANDOLPH DOING?
The Town's Planning Department has been actively engaged since the regulations were enacted. Through the department, the Town received a grant to hire a consulting firm to provide guidance to understand the entirety of the law and requirements, to review the town and town maps and identify potential districts, determine if the proposed districts comply with the law and write draft zoning to meet all aspects of the statute. The team of RKG Associates and Innes Associates is currently guiding the Town through the process.
WHAT IS MULTIFAMILY HOUSING
Multifamily residential is a classification of housing where multiple separate housing units for residential inhabitants are contained within one building or several buildings within one complex. Units can be next to each other, or stacked on top of each other. While a common form is an apartment building, there are many other types of developments of multifamily housing. The specific type and size are informed in part by the size and shape of a building lot, where the lot is located (example in a downtown near public transportation) as well as what the market dictates (who is seeking housing). Some examples of multifamily housing are:
The law that requires MBTA communities to enact zoning permit a community to enforce some site plan or design elements but those same standards may not restrict the development or make it impossible to construct. The district and construction must be family friendly (example, no age restriction or all one-bedroom units) and accommodate at least 15 housing units per acre of land.