MBTA Communities


  • Section 18 of chapter 358 of the Acts of 2020 added a new section 3A to chapter 40A of the General Laws (the Zoning Act) applicable to MBTA communities.
  • Purpose: To encourage MBTA communities to adopt zoning districts where multi-family zoning is permitted as of right.
  • 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; not more than a ½ mile from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, if applicable.
  • Foxborough is classified as an “Adjacent community,” which means an MBTA community with no transit station within its border or within 0.5 mile of its border.
  • Foxborough requirement based on draft guidelines:

MBTA Community Type

2020 Housing Units (Census PL-94)

Minimum multifamily district unit capacity requirement

MBTA adjacent





  • The public comment period to solicit feedback on the draft guidelines is open until March 31st, 2022. 
  • An MBTA Community must take the following actions by 5 p.m. on May 2, 2022:
  • Include a presentation of the Draft Guidelines in a meeting of the Select Board;
  • Complete and submit the MBTA Community Information Form, found here: www.mass.gov/forms/mbta-community-information-form; and
  • Submit updated GIS parcel maps to MassGIS if the most recent updated parcel maps were submitted prior to January 1, 2020. DHCD will contact each of the 14 MBTA communities that need to submit updated GIS parcel maps. MassGIS staff Craig Austin [email protected]
  • By December 31, 2022, a community must either:
  • Submit a request for a determination of full compliance; or
  • Notify DHCD that there is no existing/compliant multifamily zoning district and submit a proposed action plan by certain deadlines, below.
  • For an adjacent community:
  • Action plan approval deadline: July 1, 2023
  • Multifamily zoning district adoption deadline: December 31, 2024
  • A community must submit a request for determination of compliance to DHCD within 90 days of adopting the zoning amendment.

Requirements for Foxborough

  • Submit comments on the guidelines, if any, by March 31, 2021.
  • Present draft guidelines to Board of Selectmen, complete and submit the MBTA Community Information Form, and submit updated GIS parcels, if necessary, by May 2, 2022.
  • Submit a determination of full compliance or proposed action plan by July 1, 2023.
  • Adopt multi-family zoning district by December 31, 2024.
  • Submit a determination of compliance to DHCD within 90 days of adoption of zoning.


Effect of Non-Compliance

  • Failure to comply with the multifamily zoning requirements would make a community ineligible for funds from:
    • Housing Choice Grants;
    • Local Capital Fund Projects; and
    • MassWorks Infrastructure Program
  • DHCD may, in its discretion, take non-compliance into consideration when making other discretionary grant awards, and indicated that penalties may be more severe in the future.
  • A compliant district’s multi-family unit capacity must be equal to or greater than a specified percentage of the total number of housing units within the community.  The required percentage will depend on the type of transit service in the community, as follows: (this is Foxborough’s based on 2010 census.  We are required to use 2020 numbers once available).



Additional Resources