Braintree Rezones 204 Acres Near Greenbush, Red Lines

One of the MBTA’s new Red Line trains pulls into Charles MGH station in early 2023. Photo by James Sanna | Banker & Tradesman Staff

Braintree Town Councilors approved a new zoning overlay for properties near its Red Line and commuter rail stations to comply with the state’s new transit-oriented multifamily housing law.

The council voted 6-2 Tuesday to approve the four overlay districts spanning 204 acres. The plan could generate construction of nearly 3,800 housing units through by-right approvals of multifamily housing.

As a community with rapid transit service, Braintree faced a Dec. 31 deadline to comply with the MBTA Communities act requiring cities and towns to allow at least 15 housing units per acre near transit stations.

The rezoning includes a 127-acre district just south of the MBTA’s Braintree Red Line station, an 18-acre district next to the Weymouth Landing/East Braintree station on the MBTA’s Greenbush commuter rail line, a 49-acre commercial district including the Marketplace at Braintree retail plaza on Grossman Drive, and a 9-acre section off Hancock and Pearl streets in South Braintree.

During a public hearing, opponents objected to the “government overreach,” the Patriot Ledger reported.

Under the MBTA Communities law, cities and towns that fail to comply will lose access to dozens of state funding programs including the MassWorks, Housing Choice Initiative and Local Capital Projects Fund. Gov. Maura Healey this month confirmed that the administration will hold communities accountable by enforcing the funding penalties.

The rezoning allows buildings up to five stories in the Greenbush district and four stories in the remaining three.

Minimum lot sizes are 25,000 square feet in the two districts closest to the Red Line station and 5,000 square feet in the Greenbush and Pearl Street districts.

Milton, another South Shore town facing the Dec. 31 deadline, approved zoning changes for a series of properties last week. The changes apply to an office building, a state-owned parking lot and an American Legion hall near the intersection of Granite Avenue and the Southeast Expressway close to the Quincy city line, several parcels near the MBTA Mattapan Line trolley’s terminus, East Milton’s retail district and homes along Elliott street and Blue Hills Parkway.

A map of the area around Braintree’s MBTA Red Line station showing the parcels being rezoned for multifamily development. Image courtesy of RKG Assoc. & Innes Assoc.

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One of the MBTA’s new Red Line trains pulls into Charles MGH station in early 2023. Pho…