On August 10, 2022, the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development (“EOHED”) and Department of Housing and Community Development (“DHCD”) issued final guidelines for cities and towns to implement Section 3A of the Zoning Act (“Section 3A”) as required under the Governor’s Housing Choice legislation. DHCD had promulgated draft guidelines for public comment on December 15, 2021. You can read more about the draft guidelines here.
In general, the Housing Choice legislation and DHCD guidelines aim to increase the overall capacity of multi-family housing units with close access to public transit. Although DHCD makes clear that this is not a mandate to build any specific number of units, its goal is to pave the way for more families to take advantage of local and regional public transit in Eastern Massachusetts.
Based on feedback received during the public comment period, DHCD implemented the following major changes in its final guidelines, all of which are outlined in DHCD’s letter to municipalities.
Additionally, the final guidelines make various technical changes to requirements, definitions, and specifications. Most useful to cities and towns may also be the newly added chart listing each MBTA Community with its category, number of housing units, minimum multi-family unit capacity, minimum land area, developable station area, and percentage of district to be located in a station area.
A copy of the final guidelines is available here, and further explanation from DHCD is available here.