Chapter 40A of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:
Section 3A: Within two years of the effective date of this section, all zoning ordinances and bylaws shall include districts in which multifamily housing of two or more attached dwelling units is a permitted use as of right, including housing that is not age-restricted and that is suitable for families with children, and such districts shall accommodate a reasonable share of regional needs for multifamily housing and be as proximate as reasonably possible to schools, transportation and public services. Allowance of multifamily housing in suitably located districts shall not preclude the establishment of zoning districts where only low-density development is permitted in order to protect natural resources. A city or town may elect to satisfy the foregoing requirement by obtaining a determination from the Department of Housing and Community Development, acting directly or through a regional planning agency as its designee, that the multifamily provisions of its zoning ordinance or bylaw are consistent with published guidelines. In establishing such guidelines, the Department shall take into account differences between regions of the Commonwealth and between sizes and types of communities and shall promote reasonable opportunity for multifamily housing construction in each city and town, taking into consideration the land area and suitability of districts zoned to allow multifamily housing, the location of those districts, the types of multifamily housing allowed, and anticipated market demand for multifamily housing.
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