The Town of Andover invites residents to join the MBTA Communities Working Group and Town of Andover Planning staff for an update on the MBTA Communities Zoning Law on Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 PM at Memorial Hall Library. The event will include a review of community input received to date, a presentation of the MBTA Communities Working Group’s recommendation for the location of a zone in Andover, and discussion of elements of a potential Zoning bylaw.
This event marks the continuation of a community-driven process to evaluate implementation of the MBTA Communities zoning law launched by the Town’s division of Planning & Land Use earlier this year. The first community conversation on the topic was held on March 1, 2023. The MBTA Communities zoning law, enacted as part of a 2021 economic development package, requires communities that host MBTA service, or that are adjacent to communities hosting MBTA service, create at least one district in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right, meaning that development within the district may take place without the need for a special permit or other discretionary approval.
As defined in the law, the required zone must allow a minimum gross density of 15 units per acre, be located within a half mile of an MBTA station, and be suitable for families with children, carrying no age restriction for residency. Subsequent guidelines issued by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) establish that the multi-family zoning district must be able to accommodate a reasonable number of units, set at 15 percent of the community’s total housing units for cities and towns hosting commuter rail service.
Under the minimum multi-family unit capacity established by the law, a district established in Andover would have to accommodate at least 2,031 housing units – a number equal to 15 percent of the Town’s existing 13,541 units.
The law is intended to create a new tool in responding to the Commonwealth’s housing shortage and the lack of adequate housing options for young families, workers, and aging residents. The specific emphasis on expanding housing near public transportation hubs is intended to create walkable neighborhoods that are closer to frequently visited destinations, such as shops, schools, restaurants, and parks.
More information and resources about the MBTA Communities zoning law and its implementation in Andover is available at: andoverma.gov/mbtacommunity.