The town of Milton votes no on zoning proposal about multi-family homes near MBTA stations

MILTON, Mass. — A Valentine’s Day vote rejected a new zoning law in Milton. It was a close vote with little love lost between opposing sides on a crucial zoning law on housing in this Boston suburb.

“The housing crisis is really important it’s a big issue in Massachusetts and we each should be doing our part,” said Luisa Lyons who voted Yes in the Special Town election.

The vote was originally scheduled for Tuesday February 13th but inclement weather postponed it one day.

Jim Davis, a No voter, says this zoning law passed by he town is not the best way forward.

“I think the town wants zoning of some kind… just not this zoning,” said Jim Davis.

Milton Town Meeting approved the new zoning law in December which would have allowed construction of multi-family housing. However, opponents forced a referendum that has effectively reverted zoning to the previous model where you need a special permit to build anything but a single family.

The No vote now means the town risks losing state grant money and faces possible legal action.

The new zoning law fell in line with the MBTA Communities Act which requires a T community have at least one district in which multi-family housing is permitted.

Residents who want the zoning say it would help people to buy in a tight housing market.

“I also was able to buy in Milton because there was a single family converted to a multi but I wouldn’t have been able to afford to live here if it wasn’t for that,” said Lyons.

But Milton residents who oppose the new zoning law say they want to be clear that they’re not opposed to change.

“I think that if we have a little more time to look at it we can disperse the units equally around the town and we can do a little more for affordability,” said Davis.

Attorney General Andrea Campbell also warned in a letter last month that her office is prepared to sue Milton to compel compliance with the MBTA Communities Act.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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