Lawyers for Civil Rights Demands Compliance with MBTA Zoning Law

Housing, Racial Justice

Lawyers for Civil Rights Demands Compliance with MBTA Zoning Law in Seven Massachusetts Towns 

Lawyers for Civil Rights (“LCR”) issued demand letters to seven Massachusetts towns that are currently violating the MBTA Zoning LawBerkley, Carver, Holden, Marshfield, Middleborough, Raynham, and Seekonk.  Non-compliance with the MBTA Zoning Law harms Commonwealth residents—particularly communities of color—and must be rectified.

The MBTA Zoning Law is designed to increase affordable housing options in Greater Boston by requiring towns near MBTA service to provide for a multi-family zoning district of “reasonable size” within the next few years.  The Commonwealth has issued a series of reasonable deadlines to ensure timely compliance.  One of the first—and easiest—of those deadlines required towns to complete a six-page “action plan” form by January 31, 2023, showing how they will adhere to the Law’s zoning specifications.  Of the 175 covered jurisdictions, only 7 failed to do so displaying willful resistance to the Law.

Failure to comply with this most basic requirement of the MBTA Zoning Law is extremely problematic.  It demonstrates defiance and disregard for pressing housing issues that ail the Commonwealth.  Greater Boston is still mired in an affordable housing crisis and remains egregiously segregated by race.  Refusing to take even minimal steps to generate affordable multi-family housing perpetuates both of these problems.  As communities of color are the hardest hit by housing issues across Massachusetts, compliance with the law is a pivotal step toward equity. 

LCR is demanding that the seven non-compliant towns submit the required action plans within 10 business days.  LCR stands ready to compel their compliance if they refuse. 

More about the non-compliant towns:

Worcester County

One suburban community right outside of Worcester, a highly diverse city that is on the cusp of becoming majority-minority, is non-compliant:

Holden (population 87.8% white; median household income $124,638)

Bristol County

In Southeastern Massachusetts, three relatively affluent towns in close proximity to each other are non-compliant: 

Berkley (population 96.3% white; median household income $110,518)

Raynham (populations 82.7% white; median household income $96,830)

Seekonk (population 93% white; median household income $100,041)

Plymouth County

In Plymouth County, near highly diverse Brockton and within commuting distance to Boston, three predominantly white communities are non-compliant:

Carver (population 91.9% white; median household income $61,811) 

Middleborough (population 90.1% white; median household income $81,809)

Marshfield (95.2% white; median household income $109,841)

Click here to download the letters: