MBTA Communities Multi-Family Zoning

The MBTA Communities Overlay District Draft Zoning Bylaw and Zoning Map may be viewed here:

The final guidelines for Andover require the following:

Andover MBTA Communities requirements


According to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Massachusetts has among the highest, and fastest growing, home prices and rents of any state in the nation. Rising costs have dramatically increased financial pressures on low- and middle-income families, forcing them to sacrifice other priorities in order to pay housing costs. These high costs are a disadvantage as Massachusetts competes economically against peer states. The risk of future job growth moving outside Massachusetts is rising due to the high costs of living. The lack of zoning for multi-family housing is a barrier for new housing development in Massachusetts. By allowing multifamily housing near transit:

  • New housing can be created in walkable neighborhoods closer to transit, which means that more people will be more likely to walk or bike and have easier access to employment and amenities
  • Provides an avenue to create additional housing that is priced lower than new single-family dwellings
  • Provide more options for people who want to downsize in Andover, or to move to Andover

Why is multi-family zoning near transit and in neighboring communities important?

The lack of zoning for multi-family housing is a barrier for new housing development in Massachusetts. By allowing multifamily housing near transit, we can create new housing in walkable neighborhoods closer to transit. This is not just good housing policy, it is good climate and transportation policy, too. The result of transit-oriented development is:

  • More housing closer to the places that we go every day, such as local shops, jobs, schools, restaurants, parks, etc.
  • Better access to work, services, and other destinations by increasing mobility and utilization of public transit
  • Reduced reliance on single occupancy vehicles, which helps in our larger effort to confront the climate crisis


The Guidelines establish timelines for municipalities to adopt compliant zoning districts. MBTA communities that are noncompliant with Section 3A are ineligible for funding from certain funding sources provided by the Commonwealth. There are two forms of compliance, district (or “full compliance”) and interim compliance. To remain eligible for the calendar year 2023 round of MassWorks and Housing Choice grants, as well as the Local Capital Projects Fund, an MBTA community must submit an Action Plan no later than January 31, 2023. 

Compliance Timeline for MBTA Communities
Deadline for Interim ComplianceJanuary 31, 2023
Deadline for DHCD Approval of Action PlanJuly 1, 2023
Deadline for Adopting New ZoningDecember 31, 2024