Ten Reasons Why Shrewsbury Town Meeting Should Vote NO on Article 44 (MBTA Zoning)

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Letter to the Editor iconI’ve lived in Shrewsbury most of my life and am very concerned about the Article 44 proposal for MBTA zoning.  Article 44 does not mention in its text the MBTA communities act.  Many people I have spoken with in town are opposed to Article 44.  We hope that our town meeting representatives will not pass it.  Below are a few facts about Article 44 and some reasons why Town Meeting should vote against it:

WHAT is Article 44:  Proposed zoning bylaw for multi-family housing as of right. 

WHY is Shrewsbury proposing Article 44:  MA state law section 3A (MBTA Communities Act) requires adjacent MBTA transit stop communities (like Shrewsbury) to zone for 3A multi-family housing as of right. 

Why should Shrewsbury Town Meeting Members vote NO on Article 44 on May 20, 2024:

  1. 3A requires a minimum 10% increase of total housing units – 1,500 new units.
  2. State will not offset the costs to Shrewsbury associated with the new units such as increased strain on our schools, infrastructure and town services. 
  3. “As of Right” means development proceeds without the need for discretionary process or zoning approval in an approved 3A district.
  4. 3A is currently being challenged in the courts as violative of the Massachusetts Constitution (Article 89 of Amendment – “Home Rule”).
  5. Home Rule grants/confirms to the citizens of every MA town the right of self-government in local matters (such as zoning).
  6. If Shrewsbury town meeting passes Article 44 and 3A is found unconstitutional, we are stuck with the MBTA zoning because we passed it! 
  7. MBTA zoning is NOT AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
  8. The State has not even approved our proposed 3A district yet (and likely will not). 
  9. Shrewsbury should join the growing list of towns (Holden, Milton, Marshfield) that are saying NO to state interference with local governance.
  10.  There is no harm in waiting.  We have time to see if 3A is unconstitutional and if the state will approve our proposed 3A district (old Christmas tree shops plaza).

Catherine Rajwani

Shrewsbury

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