40R Smart Growth Overlay District

Smart Growth (40R Overlay) District


In 2019, The Town of Amherst received a Planning for Housing Production grant from MassHousing for and contracted consultant Karen Sunnarborg and Abacus Architects + Planners to analyze new zoning and affordable housing development opportunities to better promote a greater diversity of housing choices under smart growth principles through the creation of a 40R overlay district.

Representatives from MassHousing, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, and Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) attended the first community meeting to provide information and answer questions on such issues as what is Chapter 40R smart growth zoning, how has this zoning tool been used in other comparable communities, and how could it potentially benefit Amherst. 

At the second meeting, consultants Karan Sunnarborg and David Eisen identified three possible sites for 40R districts in the Town of Amherst. Community members evaluated each location with site selection criteria. Community members also identified other sites to explore.  

The objective of the third meeting was to gather feedback on a Downtown 40R district and begin to develop design guidelines that preserve the character of the community. Community members asked questions and evaluated the location of the proposed 40R district, the design guidelines.

These public forums that the Town is planning as part of a technical assistance grant it received from the state to further explore development challenges and opportunities. 


Below is information related to 40R.  It is categorized by the following Topics: Current version of the bylaw (this will be periodically updated), Planning Board review, Community Resource Community Review, Consultant presentations and forums, and Public Comments.

Current Version of the Bylaw (as of November 10, 2020)

Planning Board Review

Community Resource Committee Review 

Consultant Presentations and Forums

Public Comments