Housing Choice Act 2020

Click here to view the presentation by KP Law from the Planning Board/SLPAC Meeting on March 16, 2021 on the Housing Choice Act. Click here to view the video recording of that meeting.  


Chapter 358 of the Acts of 2020 included a series of revisions to MBL Chapter 40A, commonly known as the Zoning Act.  

MBTA Communities:  A new section 3A of the Zoning Act states 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 other criteria set forth in the statute. 

  • Minimum gross density of 15 units per acre
  • Not more than 1/2 miles from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, if applicable.
  • No age restrictions
  • Suitable for families with children.
  • The only penalty for non-compliance is the inability to apply for Housing Choice and Massworks grants.

The statute requires DHCD to issue guidelines that define compliance with this new section of the Zoning Act.

Compliance criteria will be developed in consultation with affected MBTA communities and other stakeholders.

Housing Choice:  Amendments to Chapter 40A include:

  • Changes to Section 5 of the Zoning Act, which reduce the number of votes required to enact certain kinds of zoning ordinances from a 2/3 supermajority to a simple majority.
  • Changes to Section 9 of the Zoning Act, making similar changes to the voting thresholds for the issuance of certain kinds of special permits.

For the latest information please visit the State's webpage at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/housing-choice-and-mbta-communities-legislation#resources-and-documents-

Housing Choice Act 2020 H5250.  Click here.

Housing Choice Act Summary.  Click here.

KP Law Guidance Memo re:  Housing Choice Act 2020.  Click here.

DHCD Preliminary Guidance on MBTA Communities.  Click here.

Guidance regarding voting thresholds for zoning bylaws.  Click here.

Updated guidance regarding voting thresholds for Zoning Bylaws 04092021.  Click here.