MBTA Communities: Multi-Family Zoning Requirement for Medfield

This new law (Section 3A of MGL c. 40A) requires 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
  • Located not more than 0.5 miles from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, if applicable
  • No age restrictions and suitable for families with children

Department of Housing & Community Development's (DHCD) webpage on MBTA Communities: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/multi-family-zoning-requirement-for-mbta-communities

MBTA Communities Timeline of Activity 

  • December 15, 2021 - draft guidelines issued by DHCD
  • February 2022 - required briefing to Board of Selectmen (BoS) by Town Planner
  • March 15, 2022 - 3A feedback letter to DHCD from BoS and PB 03-15-22
  • August 10, 2022 - final guidelines issued by DHCD
  • August 30, 2022 - BoS submits MBTA Early Adopters Program technical assistance request
  • October 21, 2022 - Guideline revisions
  • October 28, 2022 - MHP Process and Findings Memorandum 
  • January 10, 2023 - Town Planner update to BoS re: Action Plan                                   
  • January 17, 2023 - Action Plan submittal to DHCD
  • January 27, 2023 - Action Plan Approved by DHCD confirming a status of "Interim Compliance"

Medfield is an MBTA Community based on the the statutory language of Section 1 of MGL c. 161A (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) / other “served communities” that abut a city or town that hosts MBTA service. 

Medfield is considered an "adjacent community" and subject to the following requirements: 50 acres with a minimum unit capacity of 750 multi-family units. 

The new Medfield State Hospital zoning district generally complies with these requirements but the Land Disposition Agreement with Trinity Financial LLC for the redevelopment of the historic buildings limits the development potential to 334 units, far lower than what the legislation expects. 

The Town, through its Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Affordable Housing Trust, and Medfield State Hospital Development Committee, will be working with RKG Associates and Innes Associates on analysis associate with compliance. More information on the analysis, findings, and any specific proposals for zoning amendments will be forthcoming. 

Medfield has until December 31, 2024 to coming into complete compliance with the legislation.