MBTA Zoning

Information on this page will be updated as information becomes available. 

MBTA Zoning Legislation - Chapter 40A Section 3A

Enacted as part of the economic development bill in January 2021, new Section 3A of M.G.L. c. 40A (the Zoning Act) requires that an MBTA community shall have at least one zoning district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right and meets other criteria set forth in the statute. Final compliance guidelines were issued in August 2022, updated by the Attorney General in March 2023 and updated again in August 2023. (See documents below.)

Upcoming Task Force Meetings

Thursday, February 29
6:30 PM

Miss a meeting? Past recordings can be found here.
Attend a Meeting: Task Force Schedule

Community Engagement

Thank you for attending the following recent community engagement events: Community Forum on October 14, information table at the Harvest Fest Carnival, the Council on Aging October Lunch, Virtual Community Forum, Density Walk, Manchester Club. Questions and feedback are helpful to to the Task Force as we navigate this together. 

MBTA Zoning Density Walk

Density Walk Video - Click Image (15 min.) 

Next events: 
Zoning Districts 101
March 2, 2024 
MERSD High School Learning Commons
10 AM - 12 PM

Get "Zoned Out" with the Planning Board and MBTA Zoning Task Force to learn about zoning districts in MBTS. The event will begin with a short presentation then a Q&A period followed by zoning district stations. Residents can drop in at anytime from 10 AM -12 PM. 

Business Roundtable
Date: TBA

A causal discussion with local commercial land owners and business owners about MGL Chapter 40A, Section 3A and gather important feedback. 

MBTA Zoning Timeline

* Timeline is subject to change and will be updated as new facts are confirmed.

MBTA Zoning Task Force

Chris Olney, Chair, 
Planning Board
Sarah Mellish, 
Zoning Board of Appeals
Michael Pratt, 
Finance Committee
Garlan Morse, Vice-chair, Downtown Improvement Committee
Ann Harrison, 
Select Board
Susan Philbrick, 
Planning Board
Sandy Bodmer-Turner, 
At Large Member
Richard Smith, 
Historic District Committee

Dennison Hall,
 At Large Member
  1. Gail Hunter

    Please direct all correspondence to be shared with the Planning Board or MBTA Zoning Task Force to Gail Hunter.  

Mission of the MBTA Zoning Task Force

The MBTA Task Force was organized by the Select Board and the Planning Board to study the requirements of the housing mandate imposed by the State under MGL 40 A and to make recommendations to the Town on how to address the State Law.

The Task Force will undertake the following tasks:

  1. Conduct a careful study of the downtown to determine the existing land use conditions, the current supply of housing, any underutilized land, and potential opportunities and obstacles to meeting both the Town’s and the State’s goals.
  2. Consider the likely minimal modifications to the current Zoning By-law that would bring the Town into compliance with the mandate and the potential impacts of these modifications on the downtown.
  3. Determine the consequences of failing to comply with the mandate
  4. Consider changes to the Zoning By-law that would best address both rental and ownership of housing as described in the Master Plan while simultaneously bringing the Town into compliance with 40A.
  5. Provide ample opportunities for public input and wide dissemination to Manchester’s citizens of the information and analyses as they are developed.

Upon completion of this work, the Task Force will issue a report to the Select Board and Planning Board summarizing its findings and including alternative proposals for any modification to our zoning regulations that meet both the Town’s and the State’s objectives.

The goal is to complete these tasks and submit the report before Spring of 2024.

Design Guidelines Information


Proposed Zoning Districts Information


2024 Documents

2023 Documents

2022 Documents

Public Correspondence