Section 3A Background
The State has created Section 3A of the Zoning Act, which states that Ipswich, along with 174 other communities in eastern Massachusetts with access to MBTA service, shall create a district or districts where multi-family housing is allowed as of right. Over the next year, the Town, supported by volunteers in the 3A Task Force, will be leading a planning process with extensive community engagement to determine the location and details of Ipswich's district(s). The result will be a zoning amendment presented to Town Meeting in Spring 2024.
The Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) posted its Final Guidelines for the Multi-Family Zoning Requirement for MBTA Communities on August 10, 2022 and revised the guidelines on October 21, 2022. The regulation, which is part of the Housing Choice Initiative enacted in an economic development bill passed in January 2021, requires MBTA communities, including Ipswich, to have at least one zoning district in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right and meets the other criteria in the statute, including:
- Minimum gross density of 15 units per acre and minimum land area of 50 acres
- 40% of the district must be located no more than ½ mile from the commuter rail station
- No age restrictions
- Suitable for families with children
Here are the full guidelines for this legislation.