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Massachusetts Smart Growth

Real Estate

Posted in on March 13, 2014

The Massachusetts Legislature has recently implemented new legislation designed to increase the stock of affordable housing in the Commonwealth. Chapter 40R, otherwise known as the “Smart Growth Zoning Act,” will also help cities and towns meet their affordable housing goals in conjunction with Chapter 40B.

The Act encourages municipalities to create smart growth zoning overlay districts that provide for residential use as-of-right. These overlay districts must be located in eligible locations, particularly areas near public transportation facilities, areas with concentrated infrastructure such as town centers, and areas otherwise conducive to dense residential and mixed-use development. Smart growth zoning districts must provide relaxed dimensional and density restrictions meant to facilitate the development of residential units.

Each project within a smart growth district must include a certain number of affordable residential units. Affordable units created through smart growth zoning will count towards a municipality’s affordable housing goal. Furthermore, once a municipality adopts smart growth zoning it may receive incentive payments from the Commonwealth’s Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund for all housing units created within smart growth districts.

Municipal officials, property owners, and developers alike are encouraged to learn more about smart growth zoning in the Commonwealth at the Department of Housing and Community Development’s website here. For further information and assistance with enacting smart growth zoning in your town contact Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C.