By Carol Britton Meyer
Under the draft guidelines for a new multi-family zoning requirement for "MBTA communities" with commuter rail, ferry, bus, or subway services, Hingham would be expected to potentially accommodate up to 1,986 units of this type of housing "as of right" within at least one zoning district designated for that specific purpose.
This legislation was 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.
While Hingham and other affected communities wouldn't be required to actually build that many units, they are required to have the potential to do so or risk losing certain state grants.
Criteria include a minimum gross density of 15 units per acre, with an overall minimum 50-acre size requirement; that the housing is situated not more than one-half mile from a commuter rail, subway, bus station, or ferry terminal; that there be no age restrictions on the housing; and that it be suitable for families with children.
Dec. 31, 2024, is the deadline for the adoption by MBTA communities of any required zoning amendments to bring them into compliance with the new law.