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Easton Smart Growth Zoning: Queset Commons

Chapter 40R, Smart Growth Zoning


At Town Meeting in May, 2008 Easton residents voted to adopt the Queset Smart Growth Overlay District.


Many communities in Massachusetts have elected to adopt a 40R district in order to benefit from the advantages that Smart Growth Zoning (sometimes called Chapter 40R, or 40R zoning) has over conventional zoning and alternative methods of development. Smart Growth Zoning offers:


  • Increased local control of development. Local town bylaws protecting historic structures, public health, and natural resources continue to apply, and the Town can impose conditions on site design during the permitting process.


  • Increased tax revenue. The new zoning will allow increased business development within the district. Read more about the financial benefits to the Town below.


  • Incentive payments from the state. The Town stands to immediately receive $350,000 from the state if the 40R zoning is adopted at Town Meeting in May. At full buildout, the project will earn the Town over $1 million in one-time incentive payments from the state


  • Opportunity for mitigation. The Town has negotiated a development agreement worth over $2 million. Read the development agreement below.


  • Improved wastewater treatment. The proposed 40R project will use a package treatment plant to treat wastewater to a much higher standard than septic systems could.


  • Increased Affordable Housing. The new zoning will allow for 280 new units of housing, including 56 units of housing affordable to households earning up to 80% of the area median income. The development will also help Easton achieve its goal of 10% affordable housing.

Additional Information About 40R



Project Proposal: Queset Commons

Please contact the Department of Planning & Community Development for more information about this proposal or project.


Architect's Renderings

The development will include 280 units of new housing (including assisted living units) and 116,000 square feet of new retail and commercial development.


In November, 2008, the Planning Board acting as the Plan Approval Authority issued the decision to approve the plans for Queset Commons.


Development Agreement

The Town has negotiated an agreement with the developer, Douglas A. King Builders, Inc., worth over $2 million in improvements to the Town at no cost to taxpayers, including:


forrestedopenspace8 acres of forested open space


  • An agreement to renovate and expand the Depot Street Fire Station (worth $600,000)


  • 50,000 gallons per day reserved capacity in the wastewater treatment plant for use by the Town


  • Major traffic improvements to the intersections of 138 and 123 and 138 and Roosevelt Circle (worth $1.5 million)


  • An Easton welcome sign


  • $3000 a year for public information on maintaining a clean water supply


  • Construction of walking trails connecting to town-owned land



  • Financial Analysis

The Queset Commons development is projected to generate nearly $2 million in new, net revenue to the Town over the next 10 years.


Summary: Estimated Fiscal Impact of Queset Commons


10-Year Cumulative

One-Year Snapshot

Fiscal Impact Component

(Adjusted for Phasing)

(FY 2007 Dollars)

Total Expenditures









Cost-to-Revenue Ratio



Gross Revenue



Net Revenue



Affordable Housing Inventory

Easton’s current housing inventory is 7,596 units of housing.


  • 248 units of our housing stock, or 3.3%, qualify as affordable, which includes:


  • 194 units owned and operated by the Easton Housing Authority, including 184 apartments for the elderly and 10 family units.


  • 19 homeownership units


  • 19 units for persons with disabilities


  • 12 units in group home facilities


Easton  currently needs 528 units of affordable housing to reach 10% affordable. When less than 10% of a community’s housing units are affordable  to low and moderate income people, Chapter 40B all but directs local officials to grant a “comprehensive permit” to qualified affordable housing developers.


A 40B comprehensive permit overrides zoning and other local requirements that make it too costly to build low- and moderate-income housing.


This development would allow the Town to:


  • Add a total count of 158 units of affordable housing to our community, as every apartment would be included in count


  • Increase our percentage of affordable housing from 3.3% to 5.3%


  • Deny unwanted 40B applications for at least 2 years


The ultimate defense against unwanted comprehensive permit applications is to produce more affordable housing.