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MBTA Zoning & Complete Neighborhoods

MHP's technical assistance for MBTA communities is part of its Complete Neighborhoods Initiative, which supports the Baker Administration and state legislature's efforts to build more multifamily housing near transit, jobs and services. The initiative consists of:

  1. MBTA Zoning Compliance Technical Assistance: ("3A TA"): Provides training, online resources and technical assistance to MBTA communities to meet the new multifamily zoning requirement for MBTA communities.
  2. Complete Neighborhoods Partnership: Provides expertise in planning, community engagement and predevelopment activities within targeted districts to build local capacity and readiness for investment.
  3. Capital Investment: Subsidies for the creation of low- and moderate-income housing in proximity to transit nodes.

The following explains each part of this initiative:

1. MBTA Zoning Compliance Technical Assistance (“3A-TA”)

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.

On Aug. 10, 2022, the state released final guidelines for the new law. To help MBTA communities comply with the new law, MHP's will provide technical assistance 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 that will complement DHCD outreach on Section 3A goals and technical compliance requirements, focusing on “big picture” and adjacent topics including incorporating affordability requirements into your multi-family district, providing safe and complete streets in transit areas, and building support for multi-family housing. To learn more and register for our 10-part webinar series, click here.
  • Community specific 3A-TA Technical Assistance Awards: MHP staff and pre-qualified consultants will offer free technical assistance to municipalities. Eligible activities will include siting and mapping the district, developing use and intensity requirements and calculating capacity yield. The application closed on November 10 and recipients will be announced in December. Email MHP Senior Planner Katy Lacy for more information. Email MHP Senior Planner Katy Lacy for more information.
  • 3A-TA Information Clearinghouse: Below is the 3A-TA Clearinghouse featuring the latest information to help communities comply with the new requirements. Resources will be posted in collaboration with DHCD’s Community Services Division, and will complement guidance available from DHCD, Citizens Planning Training Collaborative (CPTC), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and other partners. Materials will also be posted on MHP’s Housing Toolbox website.

3A-TA Clearinghouse

MBTA zoning requirement resources

Tools for planners

Zoning & Transportation

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

2. Complete Neighborhoods Partnership

To complement the new MBTA communities zoning requirement and to promote the development of walkable neighborhoods across the Commonwealth, MHP is offering The Complete Neighborhoods Partnership. This program concentrates technical assistance, resources, and investments within designated districts over multiple years to support the creation of mobility-rich, mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods. It is available to all communities in the Commonwealth.

Budget and Schedule: The program will select up to 12 communities to receive up to $150,000 each in technical assistance for a total of $1.8 million over a five-year period. Six will be selected in 2022 and six in 2023. Services will be performed by MHP staff and/or third-party consultants. No direct funds will be awarded to selected communities.

2022 awardees: Applications were accepted through April 15, 2022. Chelsea, Brockton, Fitchburg, six towns in Franklin County and a regional application from North Attleborough and Plainville were selected as the first recipients of Complete Neighborhoods Partnership awards. For more information, read the press release and click here for more specific information on how each awardee is using the program to accelerate investments in affordable housing near transit and mobility hubs.

Webinar: An informational webinar about Complete Neighborhoods Partnership was held early in 2022. Watch the webinar video and download the presentation if you're interested in applying in 2023.

Selection Process: Communities will have up to four weeks from the date the call for proposals is issued to submit an application online. During this period, the program manager will be available to answer questions. Applications will be evaluated by a committee consisting of state and quasi-public agencies who are involved in housing and economic development policies and programs. Award decisions will be guided by the applicant community’s economic conditions, demographic profile, development opportunities, local capacity, readiness to proceed, and impact of COVID-19.

Eligible Uses: Funds can be used for predevelopment, policy development, community engagement, or financial analyses. MHP Community Assistance staff will provide support throughout the program.

Post Selection: Following award announcements, awardees will work with MHP’s program manager to execute memoranda of agreement. Each community will identify key stakeholders to assemble a local partnership, which will serve as the steering committee.The program manager will work with each partnership to develop a work plan for the grant period (2.5 years).

More information: Contact MHP Senior Development Manager Christine Madore at cmadore@mhp.net.

3. Capital Investment

The economic development bill included a $50 million allocation to “support the creation of low-income and moderate-income housing in close proximity to transit nodes.”

MHP is working in collaboration with DHCD to review eligible developments and make funding recommendations based on the goals of the enabling act, the Complete Neighborhoods Partnership and other transit-oriented development principles. For more information, contact MHP Director of Lending & Chief Credit Officer Megan Mulcahy at mmulcahy@mhp.net.