Ashby MBTA Communities


The MBTA Communities Law (MGL c. 40A, s. 3A) requires municipalities adjacent to MBTA commuter lines (and municipalities adjacent them) to provide at least one zoning district that allows a minimum of 15 dwelling units per acre. The zoning district should located in proximity to adequate transportation. The minimum total number of dwelling units required is determined by the classification and size of the town. Ashby is classified as an Adjacent Small Town. For Ashby the minimum total number of dwelling units required is 62. The minimum area required for that number of dwelling units at the required 15 units per acre is 4.2 acres.


Final compliance is the approval by Town Meeting of a zoning district that meets the requirements. Final compliance for Ashby is required by December 31, 2025. In the meantime steps must be taken to receive interim compliance approval. The Planning Board with the assistance of Elizabeth Wood, Land Use Agent, is taking steps to meet the interim requirements. Ashby has received interim compliance approval for 2023.

Attorney General’s Advisory: “All MBTA Communities must comply with the Law. … Communities that fail to comply with the Law may be subject to civil enforcement action. … The Law requires that MBTA Communities “shall have” a compliant zoning district and does not provide any mechanism by which a town or city may opt out of this requirement.”


Compliance Model Test

The compliance test used 5 districts, 2 districts of 2 parcels and 3 districts of 1 parcel. All districts complied with the MBTA Communities requirements. All district provided for more dwelling units than Ashby’s minimum number of 62 dwelling units. See the Map of Proposed Locations above for a visual .

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