SECTION 1. Section 1A of chapter 40A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the introductory paragraph the following definitions:-
“Department”, the department of housing and community development.
“Gross density”, a units-per-acre density measurement that includes in the calculation land occupied by public rights-of-way, recreational, civic, commercial and other non-residential uses.
“MBTA community,” A city or town that is enumerated in one of the following: (i) “51 cities and towns”, as defined in section 1 of chapter 161A of the General Laws; (ii) “Fourteen cities and towns”, as defined in section 1 of chapter 161A of the General Laws; or (iii) “Other served communities”, as defined in section 1 of chapter 161A of the General Laws; and such other municipalities as may be added in accordance with section 6 of chapter 161A of the General laws or in accordance with any special act to the area constituting the authority.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 40A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after section 3 the following new section: -
(a) Zoning ordinances and by-laws of a city or town that is an MBTA community, as defined in this chapter, shall provide at least one district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is a permitted use as of right. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “district of reasonable size” shall include: (i) multi-family housing without age restrictions which is suitable for families with children; (ii) have a minimum gross density of 15 units per acre, subject to any further limitations imposed by section 40 of chapter 131 and title 5 of the state environmental code, established by section 13 of chapter 21A; and (iii) be in a location as described in subsection (b) of this section.
If a city or town that is an MBTA community fails to comply with this section, that city or town shall be ineligible for funds from the so-called Housing Choice Initiative as described by the governor in a message to the general court dated December 11, 2017, and the Local Capital Projects Fund under Section 2EEEE of Chapter 29 of the General Laws. If a city or town receives funds from the Housing Choice Initiative or the Local Capital Projects Fund and fails to comply with this section within three years, all funds to the city or town shall be repaid to the general fund.
(b) Districts shall be in the following locations:
(i) located within .5 miles of a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal, or bus station.
(ii) located within .25 miles of a stop along a local bus route, key bus route, commuter bus route, rapid transit route, commuter rail route, or boat route, as defined in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Service Delivery Policy as approved by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board on January 23, 2017, and as it may be updated and approved from time to time.
(c) A city or town may satisfy the requirement of subsection (a) of this section by obtaining a determination from the department, acting directly or through a regional planning agency as its designee, that the multi-family provisions of its zoning ordinance or bylaw are consistent with the department’s guidelines, or no locations as described in subsection (b) exist. If a city or town obtains a determination from the department under this section, the city or town may use the determination as verification of compliance with subsection (a) in order to establish eligibility as a so-called housing choice community to receive funds from the Housing Choice Initiative or the Local Capital Projects Fund under Section 2EEEE of Chapter 29 of the general laws.
(d) The department, in consultation with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, shall promulgate guidelines which shall be used to determine if a city or town has satisfied the requirements established in this section.
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