Ensure equitable and inclusive housing in Holliston — take these actions TODAY:

In 2021, the Massachusetts State Legislature passed the “MBTA Communities” law, formally known as General Law – Part I, Title VII, Chapter 40A, Section 3A, which requires communities served by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) to offer at least one reasonably-sized zoning district that permits multi-family housing, has a minimum gross density of 15 units per acre, imposes no age restrictions, and is suitable for families with children. 

The key point here is that the requirement is to create the zone, not build the housing. In Holliston’s case, that zone must include 750 homes, which is lower than most municipalities with commuter rail or subway access, and the Town gets to decide where and how to create its districts.

As an adjacent community with less than 100 acres of developable station area, Holliston must submit an application for district compliance by December 31, 2025, and is partnering with JM Goldson (the same firm that helped the Town develop the Envisioning Future Holliston FY25 Strategic Plan) to create a Housing Production Plan (HPP). 

An HPP is a community’s proactive strategy for planning and developing affordable housing and it starts with a comprehensive housing needs assessment. The needs assessment will be the focus of an open community meeting on March 26 from 6-8pm at the Holliston High School Library, during which the JM Goldson team will also share data points about demographic shifts, and housing affordability and constraints in Holliston.

It is critical that as many allies join this meeting as possible. The community needs to work together to position this initiative as an opportunity to build greater access and equity in Holliston and a cornerstone of ensuring Holliston’s future viability and to ensure alignment with the town’s goals as clearly stated in its strategic plan.

On February 29, 2023 the Town issued a press release which included this statement:

When communities encourage homes of many shapes and sizes, it helps to give people of all different preferences, needs, socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds affordable options and keep prices from shooting out of reach.

Let’s make sure Holliston lives up to this ideal! 


More information

Here are some other resources to help you better understand the zoning requirements and compliance, as well as the opportunities:

The Larger Context:

Here are some articles to help you understand the larger context and the importance of equitable zoning regulations: