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Five Lessons Learned Drafting an MBTA Communities Overlay for Lowell

September 29, 2022

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Stantec urban planners discuss helping MBTA Communities meet the multifamily zoning goal of Section 3A with the Massachusetts Planning Publication

MBTA Communities (also known as Section 3A) is an exciting and bold program that affordable housing proponents and lawmakers from across the country are closely watching to see what kind of impact can be made in Massachusetts. Stantec Urban Planners took on the challenge and proposed a zoning overlay solution. Stantec’s process offers a three complementary overlay zones viewpoint. This three-zone view meets (and exceeds) the overall MBTA Communities requirements which offers a large degree of flexibility in siting the zones. Stantec’s overlay provides an opportunity for the community to evaluate and choose between multiple scenarios (which could become contentious due to perceived economic benefits or negative externalities being distributed unequally) and find the most equitable and optimum strategy to meet the MBTA Communities goals.

  • Nels Nelson

    As a senior planner focusing on smart cities and mixed-use design, Nels helps cities and towns become happier, healthier, and more resilient.

    Contact Nels
  • Sarabrent McCoy

    An urban planner with a focus on data and visualization, Sarabrent creates community-based solutions in mixed use, downtown revitalizations, and affordable housing developments.

    Contact Sarabrent
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