Smart Growth Zoning

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40R

Smart Growth HousingIn 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. To date, 32 Smart Growth Zoning Districts have been adopted by Massachusetts communities allowing as-of-right development of over 10,000 housing units in smart growth locations.

The underlying concepts of Chapter 40R were first laid out in a paper written by Ted Carman in October, 2002. The paper was expanded into a full report for the Commonwealth Housing Task Force that was written by Mr. Carman with Eleanor White of Housing Partners, Inc., and Professor Barry Bluestone of the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.

Building on our Heritage: A Housing Strategy for Smart Growth and Economic Development

Chapter 40R School Cost Analysis and Proposed Smart Growth School Cost Insurance Supplement.

The Boston Globe has editorialized that the ideas incorporated in Chapter 40R constitute:

The most innovative plan to increase the housing stock in Greater Boston since the run-up in prices began two decades ago. (11/18/03)

Just eighteen months after the adoption of Chapter 40R, the Senate and the House approved — and the Governor signed — Chapter 40S, a companion piece of legislation to Chapter 40R that will hold communities harmless for additional school costs that may result from their adoption of Smart Growth Zoning.

Concord Square and Smart Growth Zoning

Ted Carman was the principal author of a supplemental report for the Commonwealth Housing Task Force detailing the school funding component of the smart growth zoning initiative that was signed into law in 2006 as Chapter 40S. Chapter 40R School Cost Analysis and Proposed Smart Growth School Cost Insurance Supplement.

This policy framework was central to the smart growth zoning concept from the outset, and will enable Chapter 40R to realize its promise. Since its adoption, municipal interest in 40R overlay zoning has increased dramatically.

Concord Square has subsequently and into 2011 an active role in the implementation of smart growth zoning in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Ted Carman and Angus Jennings served as members of the Chapter 40R Advisory Committee that assisted in the drafting of regulations implementing the statute. Concord Square served as the lead consultant to municipalities for eight of the approved 40R Districts in Massachusetts, including in Plymouth, Kingston, Lynnfield, Brockton, Belmont, Marblehead, Reading and Fitchburg. Concord Square provided supplemental consulting to the City of Pittsfield, including revisions to the 40R Ordinance and Design Standards leading up to City Council enactment in 2008, and provided limited consulting support to Ozzy Properties in their public/private partnership with the Town of North Andover, which led to the adoption of a 40R zoning district affecting the former Lucent parcel in spring 2007.

Both Ted and Angus regularly sat on conference panels regarding smart growth zoning, including the 2005 and 2007 Massachusetts Smart Growth Conferences, a seminar hosted by the School of Advanced Legal Studies at Suffolk University Law School, and several sessions at both the Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors Annual Conferences and the annual UMass Citizen Planner Training Collaborative Conference.

Detailed information about Smart Growth Zoning:

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