Given its proximity to public transportation in the form of MBTA commuter rail stations at Natick Center and West Natick, the town needs to comply with the state’s new MBTA Communities law. The law requires relaxed multifamily zoning near train and other commuter stations, and for those like Natick that have been designated a “commuter rail community,” it means adopting compliant zoning districts by the end of 2024.
Natick will need to demonstrate it has zoning in place to allow for 2,352 multifamily units, mainly within half a mile of one of its commuter rail stations, to be built as of right without special permits, etc. The law only focuses on the zoning and doesn’t require units actually be built. It doesn’t address affordable housing specifically either.
Natick has already complied with the state’s requirement to submit an action plan by this past January (see plan embedded below).
You can learn more about what Natick’s in for with MBTA Communities at a talk on Thursday, Sept. 21 from 6:30-7:30pm at the Senior-Community Center at 117 E. Central St. Register to attend.
The program is offered by the Natick Affordable Trust Fund.
A consultant will go over the basics about the law and what Natick will need to do to comply.
While the law will be a boon for consultants, it is mainly designed to address the state’s housing crisis by putting housing in sensible places—near public transportation. Of course, making that transportation reliable will need to go hand in hand with this.
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