Yes! In Brookline

Together we can create more affordable, transit-oriented housing in Brookline

Brookline and the Greater Boston Area face an acute housing shortage. There are not enough homes for everyone who wants to live and work here, and the homes that are available have become increasingly unaffordable. Businesses find they cannot hire or keep workers, threatening the area’s economy. 

Passed in 2021, the MBTA Communities Act requires 177 cities and towns served by MBTA rapid transit or commuter rail to update their zoning to create multifamily districts within ½ mile of a mass transit station. Besides addressing the housing crisis, the MBTA-CA takes full advantage of one of America's most extensive transit systems to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

The MBTA-CA Consensus Warrant Article Passes Town Meeting 

On November 14, 2023, the MBTA-CA Consensus Warrant Article passed Town Meeting by a vote of 209-33. This Warrant Article allows Brookline to comply with the MBTA-CA and enhance our walkable, diverse and economically vital neighborhoods by creating the opportunity for at least 900 new units of housing at all income levels. 

The MBTA-CA Consensus Warrant Article will:

1. Comply with the MBTA Communities Act (MBTA-CA) 

The MBTA-CA Consensus Warrant Article would change Brookline’s zoning by-laws so Brookline will be in compliance with the MBTA-CA by the December 31, 2023 deadline.

2. Create Affordable Homes

This Warrant Article requires that 15% of all new units on Harvard Street be deed-restricted housing affordable to a range of income levels.

3. Protect Brookline’s Main Commercial Corridor 

The new by-laws require and incentivize the ground floor of most new buildings on Harvard Street to be used for commercial activity. Combined with the permission to add three floors of residences and businesses above the ground floor, Brookline’s Main Street will become economically dynamic, significantly expand our commercial tax base, and allow Brookline’s zoning to work for Brookline.

4.  Help Brookline reduce our dependence on fossil fuels

By permitting dense new development near businesses and transit, Brookline’s Main Street has the potential to become a template for how our Town can add green buildings to our transit rich corridors and reduce Brookline’s overall carbon footprint.

5. Increase Brookline's diversity and vibrancy 

By encouraging the development of housing at a variety of income levels near transit and businesses, Brookline will promote diversity and foster opportunities for neighbors to know their neighbors.

6. Promote innovative approaches to zoning reform that will guide Brookline's Comprehensive Planning Process

The Planning Department’s study of Harvard Street and the resulting Form Based Codes provide Brookline with an innovative roadmap to guide changes to our 50-year-old zoning so we can respond to 21st century challenges with our 21st century values.  Following this roadmap, we have the opportunity to develop an inclusive, values-driven Comprehensive Vision our Town will be proud to follow into the coming decades.

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