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Learn About the MBTA Communities Law

"MBTA Communities: Zoning for Multifamily Housing in Arlington" logo

From Jennifer Susse, LWVA Member

Tuesday, September 26, 7 p.m.

Home of Kathy and Paul Fennelly, 97 Gray Street, Arlington

Come join us as we discuss the MBTA Communities Law. This law requires cities and towns served by the MBTA to increase the supply and type of housing in order to address high regional housing costs. The type of housing incentivized is sometimes referred to as “missing middle housing.” These are the triplexes and small apartment buildings that Arlington used to build, before the last major zoning recodification in the 1970s.

There is a good introduction to the MBTA Communities Act on the Equitable Arlington website (, but very briefly the law requires 175 communities that are located near transit to create a district of reasonable size where multifamily housing is allowed by right. The final proposal is still being hashed out, but it will likely affect between 2 and 4 percent of Arlington’s buildable land.

The MBTA Working Group will soon conclude its work and send its recommended proposal to Arlington’s Redevelopment Board (ARB) for consideration. Then the ARB will have a series of meetings, both to refine the proposal and hear from the public. Finally, Town Meeting members will vote on a proposal at the special Town Meeting that starts on October 17th.

Directions: 97 Gray St. is at the intersection of Gray St. and Churchill Ave., which is the 4th right after you turn onto Gray St. from Pleasant St. (Route 60). If you’re traveling on Gray St. from Arlington Heights, Churchill Ave. is the 4th left after the lights at Highland Ave. The house is a large gray home on the right side if you’re traveling up from Pleasant Street. There is plenty of onstreet parking.