Zoning was introduced in the early twentieth century to protect public health and safety by segregating incompatible land uses. Today, large-lot zoning and prohibitions on multi-family housing, duplexes, and townhouses continue to be major impediments to affordable housing development. Flexibility in land use regulation can create housing choices, reduce cost, and provide more efficient resource management. This section of the toolkit highlights the most common approaches.
Click on the links below to learn more about zoning and land use strategies:
Review community zoning laws to determine what can be build “as of right”, “by right” or requires permits or changes.
Regulating Land Use While Supporting Affordable Housing in a New Development
Find successful zoning strategies that are applicable to new affordable housing developments.
Regulating Conversion and Adaptive Reuse of Existing Properties
Often, adapting existing properties makes more sense aesthetically and economically.
Chapter 40R: the Smart Growth Zoning and Housing Production Act
Encourage location efficiency with financial incentives and design controls.
The Commonwealth’s Sustainable Development Principles
Discover the ten tenets of sustainable development described by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Chapter 40B: The Affordable Housing Law
Learn how and why this law has increased the supply of affordable housing by removing barriers to development.
Go back to learn about other policies in the Massachusetts Toolkit