Milton Faces Potential Legal Action as Town-wide Vote Looms for Zoning Bylaw Change

MILTON, Massachusetts – The town of Milton in Massachusetts is facing legal action from the state if it fails to comply with the MBTA Communities Act, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell. The town recently passed a zoning bylaw change to meet the requirements of the state law, but a petition will bring the decision to a town-wide vote next month. The MBTA Communities Act mandates that communities near transit lines modify their zoning to allow for more multifamily units.

The special town meeting held on December 11 marked the most significant change to Milton’s zoning bylaws in over 100 years. However, the Milton Neighbors for Responsible Zoning, a group that collected 3,000 signatures for a petition, plans to challenge Milton’s designation as a rapid transit community. They are urging residents to vote against Article 1, which proposes the zoning change.

If the referendum passes, Milton will be the last rapid transit community to comply with the MBTA Communities Act. Brookline, another town in Massachusetts, already met the compliance deadline in November. The state argues that the housing crisis in the Commonwealth necessitates compliance with the law to address the high cost of living and limited housing supply, which hinders economic growth.

Attorney General Campbell wrote to Milton on January 16, emphasizing the importance of compliance and warning that the state will enforce the law through legal action if necessary. Milton responded to the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities on January 10, stating that their compliance would depend on the outcome of the town-wide vote.

Failure to comply with the MBTA Communities Act would have consequences for Milton. The town would lose eligibility for various state grants, including MassWorks, HousingWorks, and Housing Choice grants. The state emphasizes that it will not hesitate to enforce the law and take action if Milton chooses to contravene it.

Overall, the fate of Milton’s compliance with the MBTA Communities Act hangs in the balance as residents prepare to vote on the zoning change next month. The state’s warning of legal action underscores the importance of adherence to the law in addressing the housing crisis and promoting economic growth in Massachusetts.