By Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham and other "MBTA communities" have until Dec. 2024 to finalize the adoption of required zoning amendments to bring them into compliance with new legislation enacted as part of the Jan. 2021 economic development bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker as a way to address the state's growing housing crisis.
Under the guidelines for this multi-family zoning requirement for communities that have commuter rail, ferry, bus, or subway services, the Town of Hingham is expected to potentially accommodate up to 1,490 units of this type of housing within at least one zoning district of "reasonable size" in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right.
This housing cannot be age-restricted and must be suitable for families with children. While Hingham and other affected communities won't be required to actually build that many units, they must have the potential to do so or risk losing certain significant state grants. There's an ability to include some affordable units, but that is not mandated.
Community Planning Director Emily Wentworth outlined various potential multi-family zoning district locations to the Select Board and Planning Board recently.
Public meetings will be held leading up to the deadline, and Town Meeting will take action on a related proposed warrant article.