News & Events

Brookline Town Meeting Passes Meaningful Compliance with MBTA-CA: Innovative Zoning Reforms Will Begin to Address Housing Affordability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11.14.23 @ 11:23pm
Contact: Katha Seidman
Yes! In Brookline steering committee member
(617) 510-7814

BROOKLINE–Tonight, Brookline Town Meeting voted by a wide margin to pass meaningful compliance with the MBTA Communities Act (MBTA-CA), marking an important step towards creating more affordable, transit-oriented housing in Brookline.

The consensus warrant article, which passed with 207 yes votes, 33 no votes, and 7 abstentions, will ensure that Brookline complies with the MBTA-CA and removes decades-old barriers to enable creation of a meaningful number of new housing units. Approximately 900 to 1100 units–or a 3% to 4% increase over current supply–are projected to be enabled by this zoning change. As with most zoning changes in Massachusetts, a two-thirds majority vote was necessary for passage; the consensus warrant article garnered support of over 80% of Town Meeting members.

Yes! In Brookline is the combined effort of civic leaders and community groups, including Brookline for Everyone, a pro-housing organization; Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), which brings together faith communities to work for common good; and Brookline Community Development Corporation (BCDC), a 501c3 non-profit community based organization that works to improve access to decent housing and economic opportunity for Brookline’s residents. This coalition formed in response to the dire need for more housing in Brookline and unique opportunity to create these homes as part of complying with the MBTA-CA.

“The process of finding a common language around common ideals developed to pass its first significant upzoning in 50 years launches Brookline on the path to becoming the climate resilient, economically thriving, and welcoming community we all envision,” stated Katha Seidman, Yes! In Brookline steering committee member, member of the MBTA-CA Multifamily Permitting Committee, and Brookline for Everyone board member.

The consensus warrant article was endorsed by Brookline for Everyone, Brookline By Design, Brookline Community Development Corporation, Brookline Equity Coalition, Brookline PAX, Climate Action Brookline, Coolidge Corner Merchants Association, and Mothers Out Front. Additionally, Brookline’s Select Board, Advisory Committee, Advisory Council on Public Health, Economic Development Advisory Board, Housing Advisory Board, Planning Board, and Preservation Commission recommended it. No Brookline boards or civic organizations came out in opposition to the consensus warrant article.

“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. But while it is a very important step, it is just a 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,” stated Amanda Zimmerman, Brookline for Everyone co-founder and Town Meeting member, Precinct 7.

The Yes! In Brookline coalition has been organizing for months by educating the community, negotiating compromise, and building consensus towards this outcome. As part of their organizing efforts, coalition members led community trainings, engaged in public outreach in the community, spoke at board and commission meetings, sent informational mailers, communicated directly with voters, and collected hundreds of petition signatures from Brookline residents who support the consensus warrant article.

Yes! In Brookline also congratulates Brookline by Design for their work to arrive at a consensus warrant article that reflects thoughtful, careful planning for our town and a recognition that more housing is key to make sure our community reflects our values of diversity and inclusivity.