Residents rally behind YES! for Milton campaign in zoning dispute

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Residents rally behind YES! for Milton campaign in zoning dispute

A surge of community activism has propelled Milton residents into a heated zoning debate as the town braces for a pivotal vote on February 13th. In response to the town’s contested zoning plans, a grassroots movement named YES! for Milton has emerged, advocating for the adoption of zoning in line with the MBTA Communities Law.

Matt Morong, co-chair of YES! for Milton and a Precinct 2 resident, expressed the campaign’s stance, emphasizing the significance of moving Milton forward. “Our town planners and residents put in eighteen months of effort to draft a plan in compliance with the 2021 state law. This law aims to alleviate housing market pressures. It’s crucial for Milton to join the regional housing solution,” Morong stated.

Under the MBTA Communities Law, 177 municipalities in the greater Boston area must implement multi-family zoning districts. As of December 31, 2023, twelve communities, including those closest to Boston with rapid transit, successfully adopted compliant zoning. However, Milton stands as the sole contender, challenging this adoption.

Liz Dillon, co-chair of YES! for Milton and a resident of Precinct 6, highlighted the potential legal and financial repercussions of non-compliance. “Refusal to comply could leave Milton vulnerable to legal action and isolated politically. We risk lawsuits and the loss of crucial state aid,” Dillon cautioned. “Moreover, we stand alone among greater Boston communities in rejecting this mandatory state law.”

Milton’s proposed zoning, approved in December, delineates a balanced framework allowing for up to 2,586 housing units. The plan allocates 57% of these units along or near the trolley corridor and 43% in the East Milton Square/Granite Ave area. Importantly, all zoned capacity is situated in proximity to bus and trolley lines and within close reach of Milton’s major commercial zones.

Governor Maura Healey recently emphasized the state’s stance on non-compliance during an appearance on WBUR’s Radio Boston. “Failure to comply with the act will result in withholding state funding for various community programs, including schools, roads, and infrastructure,” Governor Healey cautioned.

The YES! for Milton campaign continues to gather momentum ahead of the crucial town-wide vote on February 13th, advocating for alignment with the state’s zoning mandate while emphasizing the benefits of a regional housing approach.

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