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Milton tells state what it can do with its housing rezoning requirement; state replies: Don't say we didn't warn you

CommonWealth Beacon reports Milton voters today rejected a plan to rezone the town to allow more housing units, making it the only community served by the MBTA to tell the state to shove its requirement that MBTA-served towns do their part to ease the area housing shortage.

"While we are hopeful that we can work with the town to put forward a new plan that would bring them into compliance with the MBTA Communities Law, at this time they are non-compliant, which means they will begin losing out on significant grant funding from the state," state Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus said in a statement.

Augustus said 175 other cities and towns served by the T have submitted plans that for districts in which developers would be allowed to build more units than they had earlier.

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Comments

Parks her car in front of my house and walks to shawmut station all the time, I assume she's from Milton because of the bumper and window stickers. I would like Boston to zone my street for city residents only :) :)

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Talk to your city councilor.

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Affordable housing is desperately needed all around eastern Massachusetts , and it should include affluent towns with sprawling houses, these houses should be torn down for mega multi unit buildings for the growing population, if the state doesn’t act now about housing shortage, people will be living at terminal E at Logan.

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We have resident parking that isn’t enforced. Multiple out of state plates parking for days on end without getting one ticket. Forgot about investigating the Staties, BTD needs investigating.

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contact your city councilor and ask for help. (Constituent services if supposed to be their job). the city is very responsive to a neighborhood petition to make a street permit parking, especially if it's near a train station.

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It’s unclear how much grant funding is at stake. Under state law, Milton will no longer qualify for MassWorks and HousingWorks grants, which provided $120,000 to the municipality since 2021. Half of that money, however, went for grants to help Milton comply with the MBTA Communities law.

I think Milton will survive without that.

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Voting closed 9

2021 is an arbitrary cutoff that marks the beginning of this program. Kinda makes sense planning around this would take some funding in the last few years. However that cap over the highway in the middle of the neighborhoods that rejected this was funded with programs like that. Milton has long been an “I got mine screw you” community. Of course it will survive at the expense of others, it’s a rich suburban enclave.

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Would be to revoke their Chapter 90 funding ($626k). Don't want housing? Don't expect the state to pay for your roads.

A good next step would be a builder's remedy: either come into compliance, or your entire zoning code is nullified.

Do we expect the state legislature to do … anything?

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Voting closed 9

Milton car owners don't have to pay excise tax then, right?

Milton does need more housing. Absolutely.

Vengeful self-crowned transportation nerds should stop acting like they are General Sherman on the way to Atlanta however.

You sound like some dipshit congressman who is going to shut off funds for something because a book had the word gay in it in some library in California.

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How much and how do you pay for the impact of your driving on public health?

Massachusetts asthma rates top the nation for both adults and children. 14% of children with asthma is a costly issue and automobile exhaust contributes to that cost.

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Zero emissions.

ICE is dying and by 2035 won’t be allowed to be sold new in the US.

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Currently the overwhelming majority of the power going into electrics is still generated with fossil fuels. Until that changes, electrics still have emissions, just with a much longer exhaust pipe.

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But the drivers still crash and sometimes harm pedestrians. Electrics are still a part of traffic congestion, they block the box, they hog road space and everything else a gas powered vehicle does.

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And they weigh considerably more than comparable ICE vehicles, causing greater wear and tear on the roads.

All those signs saying "No truck over N tons?" 2, 3, whatever?

You can buy a 9,500 pound (almost 5 ton) electric GMC Hummer. Should you drive that up the J-Way? Is it helping the environment?

Just the battery weighs 2900 pounds, more than, say, a Kia Soul.

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When a sign says "NO TRUCKS IN EXCESS OF 2 1/2 TONS", it's referring to the classification and not the actual weight. For example, a Ford F-150 is a 1/2 ton truck, a F-350 is a 1-ton truck. I don't know what a 2 1/2 ton truck is, but it would be quite large.

Yes, there are other signs that have an actual weight limit in pounds, like 20000 lbs or x lbs per axle. That's different.

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A considerable amount of the atmospheric pollution cars produce is from brakes and tires. Electric cars don't eliminate that.

They also don't do anything about runoff from roads and parking lots.

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Electric cars go through tires a lot faster than ICE cars, mostly because of weight.

https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/electric-vehicles/ev-tires-wear-dow...

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With the exception of the reliable 3.3 GW from our Nuclear Power Plants and some hydro imports -- the vast majority of the electric power on the ISO New England System comes from burning Natural Gas and that is not likely to change much in the next decade

As of 17:52 EDT on 02/15/24:
ISO NE reported that 16.254 GW was being consumed and that it was coming from:

  1. 40% NATURAL GAS 6.728 GW
  2. 22% NET IMPORTS 3.645GW
  3. 20% NUCLEAR 3.360 GW
  4. 12% HYDRO 1.978 GW
  5. 5% RENEWABLES 0.881 GW [881 MW] composed of:
    1. 33% REFUSE 289 MW
    2. 31% WOOD 279 MW
    3. 31% WIND 278 MW
    4. 4% LANDFILL GAS 34 MW
    5. <1% SOLAR
  6. <1% OTHER
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Milton car owners don't have to pay excise tax then, right?

Excise taxes and the gas tax barely anything. We (including those who do not own private vehicles) pay for roads to the tune of around 1.2 Billion a year according to MassDot all that is from the general budget or drawn from the MassDot Trust Fund. Tolls contribute 2 million and excise and gas about the same.

Vengeful self-crowned transportation nerds should stop acting like they are General Sherman on the way to Atlanta however.

Or statewide democratically elected representatives who after years of negotiation have created a bill to address our critical housing shortage that if ignored will begin to make our state less competitive and cause dire economic consequences.

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Try 50%.

I will say both should be higher to cover more of the cost, but that would require politicians to actually do something.

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Cars should pay 100% of road costs.

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Everybody, and I mean everybody, benefits from a good transportation system.

I don't have kids. About half of my local real estate taxes go to schools. That's a lot of money, but education is important for all of society.

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Because they are useful for vehicles other than cars, like buses, delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles, and even bicycles. Where's the demand for taxes to cover the road costs from those vehicles? Buses and trucks cause more wear-and-tear on the roads per mile traveled than cars.

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Sure - how much would it cost to collect the cost of those on the road compared to the $1 a year that would be more than the fair share of damage?

Yeah. Okay.

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Private company buses and trucks pay commercial taxes. They are not exempt from paying for roads.

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As long as we get to justifiably "dispatch" anyone on a bike found using the roads we pay for...

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So murder threats are okay now? I bet your insurance company would like to see this.

BTW, you do realize that it was cyclists who got those roads paved to begin with, right?

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Great, so cyclists shouldn't have a problem being forced to pay an excise tax for using the roads they apparently invented...

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Excise tax is based on vehicle value. Got any more dumb ideas?

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Flat rate. $50/yr to use the car's roads. Time for bike ppl to stop suckling at the teat and contribute

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I hate feeding trolls, but that's just stupid.

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Bikes pay nothing. Doesn’t seem very fair to me.

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Just waiting for my refund now...

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Yet we build them sidewalks and crosswalks and walk/don’t walk lights!!!!

They don’t even have put license plates on their shoes!!!!!

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Everyone benefits from sidewalks. Only the miserable bike brigade benefits from their exclusive bike lanes. God forbid someone walks in a bike lane and they’ll hear some choice words almost immediately from some entitled biker.

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Not a troll...Just find Bike ppl to be insufferable. At the end of the day, car owners pay the vast majority of the costs for road upkeep. Why shouldn't grown people using children's transportation incur some cost as well?

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Cyclists also pay taxes and fees.

They also cause far less wear and tear to the roads, so they're more than paying for what they use.

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That a non-cyclist doesn’t?

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You imply that there is a lot of money being spent on cyclists. In fact, it is mostly just painting different lanes on the same pavement. And that pavement lasts a lot longer with lighter weight and less oil and fuel leaking over it. Actually narrowing streets and creating separate infrastructure may cost more, but again it lasts longer. When you design that structure around safety and public transportation everyone benefits. Slowing down cars saves lives, including drivers. And again drivers have a lot of debt to make up in the infrastructure that they didn't pay for. Most of the complaining is really about slowing traffic to the speed limit.

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They’re not free. They need to be plowed, painted, repaired, protected with equipment, etc. That’s not an insignificant amount of money. Ok, they last longer of something cyclists have paid nothing for. Instead big bad cars have paid for them.

Drivers pay 80% of road costs. Cyclists pay nothing aside from the general taxes that everyone pays. I still can’t understand how cyclists can be so greedy - give me, give me, but I’m not going to pay for it. It must be entitlement.

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everyone benefits from safer roads and its the only reliable way to get drivers to drive the speed limit. I really think you must be a parody account

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Non drivers pay more than 50 dollars per year for roads

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So they won't mind $50 more in excise tax. Glad we are on the same page

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They should mind, since greedy drivers won't pay their share.

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We pay our normal taxes, plus gas tax, plus excise tax...Gonna open my driver side door without checking the mirror in your honor

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stop whining.

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Try 50%.

50% of what? Citation needed.

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This gets brought up once a month on this site and as such a frequent poster you’re either not reading anything before posting, or have a very short term memory.

Anyways, back to the question - according to this site it’s 79% for MA, but that seems high compared to what I’ve seen in the past.

https://taxfoundation.org/data/all/state/state-infrastructure-spending/

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About

$762 million in gas tax
$448 million in licences and fees
$1.03 billion in tolls

And $580 from the general fund

(FWIW the T gets $127 million from the general fund each year.)

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$1.3 billion from sales tax, a year. Don’t pretend like the T isn’t getting tons of money from the state each year.

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The whole thing is fiction. Many communities met the zoning change requirement but utilized properties that would be impossible to ever develop in anyone's lifetime (like the Market Basket in North Andover). Milton is simply being more transparent than the rest.

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Is the most hilarious line in the whole thing, as if the MBTA serves anyone properly which is the reason why most drive and why Granite Ave is a parking lot in the morning. Loved the first 90% of my life in South Boston and the last 10% in another Boston neighborhood, I have seen first hand what over development can do. So good on you Milton, protect your town.

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The plan is to build a thousand housing units on Granite Ave, a location where the nearest MBTA station is Cedar Grove which is a mile away and has no parking. Traffic will be a nightmare because the plan will also include thousands of parking spaces for the residents who will never ride the T. The T has lost over fifty percent of its ridership because it is neither safe or reliable and is about to go off a fiscal cliff.

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Healey came out and said comply or else (very undemocratic). The state funding loss is at max $1.7 million. There are 8800 houses in Milton so an extra on average $200 per house property tax increase to cover the loss. Not much of a loss with such a big threat.

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Healey came out and said comply or else (very undemocratic).

I mean, unless you're going for some kind of anarchist "the government shouldn't exist", this is just describing how laws are supposed to work everywhere - either you comply with the law, or you're made to do so via whatever enforcement methods are in place. Whether or not it's democratic is how those laws were enacted, or who the people have decided is in charge of enforcing them.

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And Milton called her on it

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On Average?

That's a midget hockey team game pizza order after practice.

Miltonians will absolutely pay an extra $200 a year to keep the character of the town.

They will also do something like tell the State to let the park and ride on Granite Ave have a few hundred units thrown up on it as a salve.

Don't expect someplace called Blue Hill Landing up on Canton Ave or Milton Academy to sell a few acres for multi-family anytime soon.

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robo needs to show his math. He is not good at reading.

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$1700000/8800 = $193.18

What other math do you need?

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link to your source for the numbers

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There’s a 52-unit building currently being constructed in Milton on Blue Hills Parkway. It’s at the site of the former ice harvesting barn near Pope’s Pond. They even gave a cute name: Icehouse.

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What was she supposed to do, say "oh you sweet special children of Milton, you can just pick and choose whatever law you feel like obeying?" And once she did say something inanely stupid as that, the entire law for upzoning in the commuter area falls apart because Weston, Winchester, Concord and all the other privileged towns in the deadline for next year also decide not to change their zoning.

This is no bluff. The state is going to sue Milton, but its going to drag out in courts while other towns sit on their hands. In the end, they'll probably be forced to comply, but its the NIMBY stalling tactic all over again, and it has consequences for all.

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State is 0 for 1. I bet they’re going to be 0 for 2 by the end of this.

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A lawsuit by a non-profit got dismissed on procedural grounds because the judge thought that specific plaintiff couldn't demonstrate specific harm https://www.telegram.com/story/news/local/2023/12/04/lawsuit-against-hol...

A state lawsuit will likely be able to demonstrate harm, even if they pull a judge as mis-informed as that one.

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Where is there an mbta station in Holden? It doesn't really compare to Milton. Milton has the trolly and buses to Ashmont and Quincy all through it.

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https://www.mass.gov/info-details/multi-family-zoning-requirement-for-mb...

Scroll down. Holden is an MBTA adjacent community. They don't need to comply until the end of 2024

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Should someone steal or vandalize one of your purported vehicles, will you tell the cops not to bother because enforcement is (very undemocratic)?

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Because the DA won't prosecute.

I just want the police report for the insurance company.

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that you think the cops would do anything other than take a report, regardless of what the DA would or wouldn't do.

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Healey came out and said comply or else (very undemocratic).

Democracy happened. It happened at the state level. Milton had its chance to object then and they didn't (their reps voted yes...it was 143-4 in the House and 40-0 in the Senate where Timilty voted Yes).

If the opponents didn't like that, they can complain to their representatives. Democracy.

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A direct question put before the voters is the exact definition of a democracy.

This is what the residents of the town want for their community. No one can say it was only a group of loudmouths and/or a politician who doesn't represent the majority.

You don't need to agree with the decision, but it was 100% democratic in ways few other things are. It would be interesting to see if MA voters would approve the law if it was a ballot question. (I give it 50/50 odds at best.)

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Then they can do what they want without the state's money.

Sounds good to me.

You are engaging in spoiled teenager "logic" here - as in "get out of my life, stop bossing me around! You haven't even given me my allowance and how come you didn't buy the snack that I asked for - you are soooo horrible!". Can't have it both ways

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They lose the money, no question. That is what the state had always said would happen and the voter's made their decision knowingly.

This is what democracy looks like. A majority of Milton voters valued the current zoning over the state funding they would lose.

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You better do this, or else! Milton said nah, keep your $1.7 million a year in support that ain’t nothing to us.

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You better do this, or else!

Yes, that's how laws work, dude! Is your local town acting like a spoiled brat when it tells you you're not allowed to dump trash in the street without being fined, or that you're not allowed to park in a no parking zone without getting your car towed?

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It’s not like Boston has ever protested existing laws in the past.

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...and slyly reference events around the revolution, you should remember that the core issue was that Bostonians had no say in the creating of these laws.

Now wipe that egg off your face.

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Enforcing laws is not "acting like a spoiled brat" or "undemocratic" - it's how the government works. If you think that's a problem, feel free to start your own anarchist collective.

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Who cares what the voters want in this case? Great, we polled the town's electorate and they want X. But X is illegal, so who cares?

What does that group of voters' desires as obtained by a democratic vote matter? If we poll ANY group of voters, do they get to do whatever they want based on what they decide? Do I get to take a vote in my car to follow traffic laws from now on? If the voters of Boston took a vote to ignore liquor licenses and let every restaurant serve alcohol if it wants to as long as it pays an annual due to the city...do we suddenly get to ignore the state alcohol licensing board?

No, of course not. That vote would be pointless. You don't get to "democratically" ignore laws set by entities bigger/higher than you on the totem pole otherwise it's not a functioning system of government.

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The state law was that communities needed to change their zoning in order to continue getting certain lines of state funds. The voters chose not to change their zoning and now they won't get those funds.

This is different from the 40B law that give developers the right to overturn town zoning if they meet certain requirements. That can't be voted away at a city level.

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The Attorney General’s Advisory states “All MBTA Communities must comply with the Law.” The Advisory further states that “MBTA Communities cannot avoid their obligations under the Law by foregoing this funding.”

In addition, the Advisory cautions that “Communities that fail to comply with the Law may be subject to civil enforcement action” and, “Communities that fail to comply with the Law’s requirements also risk liability under federal and state fair housing laws. The Law requires that MBTA Communities “shall have” a compliant zoning district and does not provide any mechanism by which a town or city may opt out of this requirement.”

https://www.mass.gov/doc/advisory-concerning-enforcement-of-the-mbta-com...

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Article LX of the ye olde Constitution (ye olde, since it's older than the US Constitution, which was based on it, and basically the oldest in the world since San Marino is basically an asterisk)

The general court shall have power to limit buildings according to their use or construction to specified districts of cities and towns.

The AG could (should) interpret that as "Milton doesn't want to comply with the General Court, there Milton has abrogated its right given to them, and therefore, until Milton complies with the General Court, there is no zoning regulation in Milton." This actually happened in California.

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What I've read is that the law as written isn't as clear cut as Campbell writes. So it will likely be decided by the courts.

If the judge rules in favor of the state, the Milton vote will be moot.

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"Would you like the city to violate the law? Yes / No"

Like how was that even a legal vote of any kind?

...opponents succeeded in forcing a special town vote on the issue

That can't be relevant can it? Like, "hi, officer, the occupants of my car took a special vehicle vote on the issue. Surprisingly it came out 1-0 in favor of the motion and we're not obeying speeding laws any more. 'k, thanks, bye".

Who cares if they took a vote. The law is the law and the town government has to abide by the state law. How did the Town Meeting or Town Clerk or whoever sanctioned this vote not explain that to these "opponents" that their 'forcing' a vote is just wasting everyone's time and the Town Meeting is going to go ahead with the plan it has enacted and/or the State is going to do whatever it wants to enforce the law...like stop giving a shit what Milton Town Meeting wants to do about its own zoning?

This is like the same foot-playing games the Feds are doing with Red States right now. Enforce the fucking laws. There's way too much negotiating with smaller bodies like they have some sovereign right to ignore the laws of the bodies that even allow them to exist in the first place.

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I bet Milton wins at the end of this TBH. Holden had a similar challenge in court and won. (As Pete X pointed out it wasn’t the state that sued them, but still shows you it’s not cut and dry).

Just because a law exists doesn’t mean it’s legal.

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Holden didn't win the challenge, the suit was thrown out because the judge ruled the plaintiff didn't have standing. It's not the same thing, as I'm sure you know.

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Thrown out and win are synonymous to me in this situation. Holden doesn’t need to do anything.

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But I know if a law has been subjected to legal scrutiny in a trial or not. This law has not yet undergone that scrutiny.

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Ignoring the law isn't "challenging it being legal" it's just acting illegally. Challenging its legality would be to take the state to court. Instead, the Town Meeting agreed to abide by the law and put in place zoning that would do so. It's only this special election bullshit that is now undoing that and putting them back into non-compliance by inactivity...they've agreed to act illegally by vote which the Town Clerk/Town Meeting/whoever runs their town voting should have disallowed in the same way you can't just put whatever ballot question on the state ballot without the DA and the Sec of State signing off on it.

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They are wrong but they are acknowledging very hard.

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The Zoning Maps are here
https://www.townofmilton.org/DocumentCenter/View/5806/20231024_ZoningMap...

https://www.townofmilton.org/DocumentCenter/View/5809/20231026_Subdistri...
~~~~~~~
Blue Hills Parkway Corridor Subdistrict - Close to Mattapan Station. Already has a number of two families and a large senior living community apartment building.

East Milton Square Subdistrict - Already very built out, not close to transit stations, traffic is already very heavy. Nearest station is 2 miles away Wollaston Redline station

Granite Avenue South Subdistrict - Has some large lots near wetlands and higway. One of the lots is the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Very low walkabilty and bike score. Road is bumper to bumper. Dorchester neighbors concerned with additional traffic. Nearest station is Cedar Grove trolley which about a mile or more away.

Granite Avenue North Subdistrict - A single parcel of a commercial office building surrounded by wetlands.

Milton/Central Avenue Station Subdistrict - Already being building out without mandate due to demand. These include afforable housing. Milton Station has a staircase that has been closed for years for repair and this is the main entrance to station.
Example: https://www.maloneyaffordable.com/condominiums/hendries-at-central-station/
Luxury: https://www.warrenre.com/buildings/50-eliot/
https://www.patriotledger.com/story/news/2012/06/01/apartments-planned-f...

Eliot Street Corridor Subdistrict
This is on the trolley line and already zoned for two families.

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We are NOT all in this together.

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