Massachusetts Multi-Family Requirements for MBTA communities

tysmith95

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My previous thread was locked after it became an unrelated rabbit hole on racism in zoning.

Final regulations have been released here. Some concessions were made to smaller towns, specially it caps the required increase in housing stock to 25% of the towns existing housing stock. It also slightly reduces requirements for towns that don't have a train station (but are next to towns that do).

Municipalities have until end of 2023 to comply for rapid transit communities, end of 24 for commuter rail communities.

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tysmith95

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Reading the text of the law, looks like the law disallows communities from making their new zoning overlays from requiring more than 20% affordable components, or other special types of housing (ig senior housing).


Probably a good thing as it prevents towns from building in zoning that makes it uneconomical for developers to build.
 

jklo

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So what do you think the real purpose of this bill is? If this was really about economic competitiveness, they would be pushing max density in the Urban Core rather than the burbs because that's where the jobs are. If it was really about reducing SOV, the burbs are a bad place to do that since you need a car. Not to mention that the Urban Core has actual public transit.

I'm not even sure this could be some sort of stealth pro-developer thing since 15 units/acre sounds like townhomes wouldn't be dense enough.
 

tysmith95

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So what do you think the real purpose of this bill is? If this was really about economic competitiveness, they would be pushing max density in the Urban Core rather than the burbs because that's where the jobs are. If it was really about reducing SOV, the burbs are a bad place to do that since you need a car. Not to mention that the Urban Core has actual public transit.

I'm not even sure this could be some sort of stealth pro-developer thing since 15 units/acre sounds like townhomes wouldn't be dense enough.
The commuter rail system has a ton of untapped potential with electrification and increased frequencies. This zoning update will increase ridership on those lines which will hopefully make improvements.

And Boston itself is more than pulling it's weight in new developments compared to the rest of the region. They aren't blocking all multifamily like much of the suburbs are.
 

Stlin

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The map that comes with this is pretty interesting and informative, as is the appendix explicitly spelling out minimum units per town, in showing how this is actually going to play out in the towns - the small towns actually have gotten a ton of reductions in the number of required multifamily housing stock.

Only the rapid transit communities will have to support 25%, so actual developments in those adjacent small towns will be minimal (5% of 2020 units with no minimum area) Dover, for example, is only expected to supply 102 units, and Avon seems to have gotten off scot free somehow.
mbta_communities_by_category_2022_august_04.jpg

Screenshot_20220812-152554_Adobe Acrobat.jpg
 
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jklo

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And Boston itself is more than pulling it's weight in new developments compared to the rest of the region. They aren't blocking all multifamily like much of the suburbs are.
Obviously it's nowhere near enough. And Boston has it's fair share of pushing for height reductions and the like.
 

Blackbird

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Reading the text of the law, looks like the law disallows communities from making their new zoning overlays from requiring more than 20% affordable components, or other special types of housing (ig senior housing).


Probably a good thing as it prevents towns from building in zoning that makes it uneconomical for developers to build.
So it’s an attempt to fill in a loophole? I guess that’s good, though it leaves a bad taste.

Arlington and Watertown really get away with murder here, huh?
 

theSil

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So it’s an attempt to fill in a loophole? I guess that’s good, though it leaves a bad taste.
Reads like savvy legislating to me. Jurisdictions sneaking poison pills into their housing requirements is much more egregious imo.
 

WestMedford

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Seems like the state really listened to community concerns and made adjustments that will increase the likelihood of adoption. I still think the grants programs that will be withheld for noncompliance aren’t significant enough punishment to influence the wealthier communities to adopt new zoning. But this law overall is a game changer for potential housing production in Greater Boston. Very exciting times!
 

jklo

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Arlington and Watertown really get away with murder here, huh?
See that's what I mean. Watertown you can get away without a car. Arlington... well you should. Those two especially should be doing much more.

Edit: Looked into it a tad and for sure it looks like Townhomes would not be dense enough. Three stories would be plenty though.
 
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stefal

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I was reading suggestions elsewhere that it shouldn't really be driven by town borders, rather by distance from a T/CR stop. Sure, towns will probably zone closer to the stations as needed, but the numbers could've been a little different..
 

jklo

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OK hot take time.

Not sure if this is the best thread for this but this is what I am talking about: https://www.redfin.com/MA/Westwood/298-Washington-St-02090/unit-202/home/178516684. It's this project in Westwood, near the Isington CR stop. Looks like they took single story retail and put a second level with some housing. Basic stuff. I looked to see if this project was mentioned anywhere here but didn't find anything.

Are you really dropping $860k+ for one of these units? Really? I'm not sure what the demographic would be that would be interested given the price. Only one parking spot guaranteed which is too limiting for the burbs even with the CR. Every trip that isn't work is going to need a car. Location and price make it unappealing to LL thinking they could rent it out to College Students.
 

dhawkins

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Foxbourgh surprises me. I thought for sure Kraft would want new housing towers sprinkled around the stadium parking lots. Do you think tenants could complain about tailgate parties and loud rock concerts! (It could almost like the Seaport?)
 

stick n move

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OK hot take time.

Not sure if this is the best thread for this but this is what I am talking about: https://www.redfin.com/MA/Westwood/298-Washington-St-02090/unit-202/home/178516684. It's this project in Westwood, near the Isington CR stop. Looks like they took single story retail and put a second level with some housing. Basic stuff. I looked to see if this project was mentioned anywhere here but didn't find anything.

Are you really dropping $860k+ for one of these units? Really? I'm not sure what the demographic would be that would be interested given the price. Only one parking spot guaranteed which is too limiting for the burbs even with the CR. Every trip that isn't work is going to need a car. Location and price make it unappealing to LL thinking they could rent it out to College Students.
That project looks really good, really fits in well with historic new england downtowns. Thats a lot of money though.
 

dshoost88

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OK hot take time.

Not sure if this is the best thread for this but this is what I am talking about: https://www.redfin.com/MA/Westwood/298-Washington-St-02090/unit-202/home/178516684. It's this project in Westwood, near the Isington CR stop. Looks like they took single story retail and put a second level with some housing. Basic stuff. I looked to see if this project was mentioned anywhere here but didn't find anything.

Are you really dropping $860k+ for one of these units? Really? I'm not sure what the demographic would be that would be interested given the price. Only one parking spot guaranteed which is too limiting for the burbs even with the CR. Every trip that isn't work is going to need a car. Location and price make it unappealing to LL thinking they could rent it out to College Students.
That project looks really good, really fits in well with historic new england downtowns. Thats a lot of money though.
In a market like Westwood where the supply of transit-accessible, new construction, walkable home ownership opportunities is scant--and where single-family listings nearby are comparably priced north of $1M--I actually think that's an attractive price point. Maybe not for you or me, but I'm certain there is a market for these types of units. That property is intriguing not only for the aforementioned reasons, but also because of evolving demographics in the suburbs: a lot of empty nesters in the suburbs are looking to age in place, but cannot necessarily upkeep a single family home in a traditional subdivision. New construction units like this with covered parking, elevator access, and an association that manages the property are a very attractive option. Especially if they can sell their single family home for 2x to 3x the value of units like these, and walk away with a net positive equity after purchasing at 298 Washington.

I think of my 65-year-old parents as the prospective buyer for a place like this. They live in Boca Raton, FL (where I grew up), and sold their single family home of the last 25 years to move to a new construction condo in downtown Boca Raton (1/3 the size). Although they have 2 cars, they rarely drive anymore, preferring to uber or take a short walk to everything they'd need that's already within 3 blocks of home. And with the added benefit of Brightline opening a station in Boca Raton a 10-minute walk from their place, they'll have even more downtown-to-downtown connectivity options further decreasing their need to have two cars.
 

Java King

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I've been meaning to do a "walk-about" in the Village of Greenbush within Scituate. There is quite a bit of new development including an entire converted MBTA Parking lot for Greenbush that was always heavily underutilized. Real Estate | Skysail at Driftway | Scituate, MA (skysaildriftway.com)

There are at least 4 active development parcels/buildings that the Scituate Planning Board is reviewing in relation to the Greenbush Village zoning. Scituate has another MBTA Station in North Scituate, but that area does not have sewer. It's zoned for multi-family residential, but almost impossible to build right now. It's my understanding the MBTA wants allowable zoning...........but that doesn't mean it can actually be built based on current infrastructure such as sewer and water.

Scituate changed their zoning around the 2 train stations in order to create a dense, walkable, residential and retail village. However even with ALL that, I don't think Scituate meets the MBTA requirements, but they are close. However, I'm pretty proud of the work the Scituate Planning Board has done prior to this MBTA requirement.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Scituate has another MBTA Station in North Scituate, but that area does not have sewer
So it goes without saying that you do NOT want to go swimming in the Musquashcut Brook. Come on Scituate... Get your collective action on! It doesn't make you a communist. It makes your backyard less smelly.
 

Java King

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So it goes without saying that you do NOT want to go swimming in the Musquashcut Brook. Come on Scituate... Get your collective action on! It doesn't make you a communist. It makes your backyard less smelly.
I could give you a LONG discussion! LOL Scituate has tried to work with Cohasset and Hull to connect to sanitary sewer. (.....as opposed to Septic Systems) It's a complicated process that seems to take forever. I don't think the threat of communism has any thing to do with it. LOL
 

Java King

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Greenbush Village Update:

First photo: New coffee shop, restaurant, and gas station under construction. The Zoning allowed a "Gas Backwards" building with the gas pumps to the rear. This creates a streetscape along the Driftway. The Driftway is the street name and the main entrance to Scituate Harbor.

Second photo: Current site of Dog Boarding & Training business. It is planned to be another 25 units of housing with retail on first floor fronting Driftway.

Third photo: New Sky Sail development immediately across from the Scituate Greenbush MBTA Station. This used to be additional parking for the MBTA Greenbush Station that was almost NEVER utilized.

Fourth photo: All new development within the last 5 years. Gunther Tooties Coffee, some small businesses, and apartments directly adjacent to Greenbush MBTA Station

Fifth photo: Scituate has adopted a standard signage for trails, businesses, historic sites, etc. This sign alerts people to a public path that parallels the Sound Wall on the opposite side of the Greenbush MBTA Station. (I have more photos in next thread.)

Sixth photo: This is a "recreation" of a historic farm house that could not be structurally saved.

Seventh photo: Typical apartment building at 50 Country Way. This development has 3 main apartment buildings with retail on the first floor, plus the stand-alone Gunther Tooties coffee and sandwich building.
 

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