Smart Growth Zoning

Ted Carman laid out the underlying concepts for Massachusetts’ Smart Growth Zoning legislation, called Chapter 40R, in a paper in October 2002. Carman saw the potential of providing incentives for the passage of zoning that would allow the development of new housing units at high densities near MBTA subway and commuter rail stations.  Such new units would both strengthen local downtowns and allow the broader region to keep up with population growth and stabilize the housing market.

The paper was expanded into a full report for the Commonwealth Housing Task Force that was written by Carman and Eleanor White of Housing Partners, Inc., and Professor Barry Bluestone of the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. In June 2004, Governor Romney signed into law a new Chapter 40R. This legislation provides financial incentives to local communities that pass high-density zoning in Smart Growth locations.

In 2005 the Legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation providing for the Commonwealth to pay for a significant portion of the school costs for children living in Chapter 40 R Smart Growth Districts.  This legislation was also based on the work of Eleanor White, Barry Bluestone and Ted Carman.  The objective of this legislation was to remove the argument from zoning deliberations that the community could not afford the cost of educating the children that would live in the new developments.

To date, 51 Smart Growth Zoning Districts have been adopted by Massachusetts communities allowing as-of-right development of over 22,000 housing units in smart growth locations.

Following the passage of Massachusetts’ Smart Growth Zoning overlay district legislation, Chapter 40R, Concord Square contracted with numerous municipalities to help implement these districts, including Brockton, Fitchburg, Plymouth, Beverly and others.