Brookline, Massachusetts – By an overwhelming margin of 207 yes votes, 33 no votes, and 7 abstentions, Town Meeting members in Brookline voted to pass their MBTA Communities zoning bylaw at Special Town Meeting on November 14th. The vote comes a little over a month in advance of the state imposed deadline for rapid transit MBTA Communities.
“This vote is representative of the overwhelming public support for adding more homes here in Brookline. The MBTA-CA is an important start to creating more multi-family housing near transit.” stated Amanda Zimmerman, Brookline for Everyone co-founder and Town Meeting member, Precinct 7. ”But while it is a very important step, it is just a first step. Brookline for Everyone will continue to advocate for more homes in Brookline, at all price points and all configurations, in order to promote economic diversity, environmental sustainability, and racial inclusion in our Town.”
Brookline’s new bylaw changes parts of Brookline’s base zoning, rather than an overlay district. This is especially remarkable because Brookline has not changed their base zoning since 1973. Also notable — the Consensus Warrant Article that passed was a joint effort between the Yes in Brookline coalition and a broader coalition that included Brookline By Design, a group that has traditionally opposed zoning reform efforts.
“We at Abundant Housing Massachusetts are thrilled that Brookline Town Meeting has taken this important step towards building a more affordable and diverse Brookline. Their decisive action is a result of years of organizing and community outreach by Brookline pro-housing advocates.” said Jesse Kanson-Benanav, Executive Director of Abundant Housing Massachusetts. “Brookline’s bylaw is particularly inspiring because it is a consensus plan agreed upon by not only pro-housing advocates but a broad coalition. We hope this action, along with recent success in Arlington and Lexington, will galvanize other town meeting communities to comply and create more welcoming communities for people of all incomes and backgrounds.”
Though most other communities with a Town Meeting form of government will pass their MBTACA zoning bylaws next year, the Town of Milton will start their deliberations on December 4th. Cheryl Daniel, AHMA’s Senior Manager of Communications and Media Advocacy, is available for phone calls and email correspondence. Please contact her at 617-249-4288 OR Cheryl.Daniel@abundanthousingma.org.
Abundant Housing Massachusetts is a non-profit organization founded in 2020 to advocate for the creation of abundant housing for all and to develop and support a network of grassroots, pro-housing groups and activists across Massachusetts. AHMA is committed to fostering a movement that includes diverse voices, geography, and people with different lived experiences to help shape an inclusive statewide pro-housing network.