An Act Promoting the Planing and Development of Sustainable Communities (H1859)


This legislation will update our state’s outmoded zoning, subdivision, and planning laws. The goal is to encourage balanced development and land preservation that will meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s communities now and for the next generation. These changes will:

  • Grant cities and towns the tools they need to make their vision for the future a reality;
  • Provide more certainty to property owners and developers; and
  • Realize better regional land use outcomes – jobs and homes in the right places, less spending on excess infrastructure, and important natural resources protected.

Lead Sponsors

Stephen Kulik

Dan Wolf


Local zoning codes have not been updated in generations.  Old zoning codes have too often promoted sprawl, pollution, social isolation and stunted economic development.  Current development trends are not protecting the quality of life in our communities nor are they providing the foundation for healthy, long term economic development. For example, we are building fewer than half of the homes we need annually in Metropolitan Boston to meet current needs and to prevent the loss of workers to other states.

In addition:

The difficulty of finding housing that is affordable and that meets the needs of our changing demographics, including seniors and young people starting a family or beginning their careers;

Twenty-two acres a day of forests and farmland are being converted to primarily low-density, residential sprawl; and

Combined housing and transportation costs are eating up a larger share of family budgets. For a household earning the median income, these costs now account for 50% of their income

This bill provides benefits to all municipalities through statewide reforms and offers enhanced incentives and tools to communities that choose to opt in by changing select local regulations in order to meet economic development, housing, and natural resource protection goals. These reforms will equip cities and towns with the tools they need to shape their futures while providing more certainty to landowners and developers.

More information about specific provisions of the bill is available here

Current Status

Assigned to Joint Committee on  Municipalities and Regional Government.  Hearing held on Tuesday, May 14 at 2:00 PM in Room A-2

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