Increase the State share of education costs in communities that are increasing density
Local governments often resist high-density developments because they fear they will result in increased school costs. In such cases, the state can encourage high-density development by providing "density bonuses" that help local governments offset their projected higher school costs. Such density bonuses can take the form of additional education funding for communities that change local zoning regulations to allow for higher density development in walkable, infrastructure-rich areas.
First, the State must determine what zoning actions local governments would have to take to be eligible for more funds. The State also would have to decide how much in additional funds to allocate for each new housing unit approved and built. Such an action would likely involve collaboration with the state planning and housing offices or their equivalent departments, and with local governments. Finally, the State would need to decide whether to provide funds when a unit is permitted, built, or — preferably — some combination of the two. The Governor may need to restructure the way some state discretionary funding is allocated to communities.
- Massachusetts' Chapter 40S
Under Massachusetts law 40R, localities that revise zoning regulations to support denser development receive density bonus payments and an additional $3,000 when each unit is built (See Policy #8, Integrate the state's growth criteria into discretionary funding decisions, in the Comprehensive Approaches section)
Under companion legislation, Chapter 40S, localities that adopt 40R zoning districts can qualify for additional state aid to cover school costs associated with the higher densities. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development reviews the zoning districts under 40R to determine whether they meet the State's objective.
— Massachusetts 40R
— Massachusetts 40S