The romney framework for building great communities
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The Romney Framework for Building Great Communities. Douglas I. Foy Secretary of Commonwealth Development Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sprawl Means. High land consumption per person and disinvestment in cities

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The Romney Framework for Building Great Communities

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The Romney Framework for Building Great Communities

Douglas I. Foy

Secretary of Commonwealth Development

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Sprawl Means. . .

  • High land consumption per person and disinvestment in cities

  • Growth in daily miles of travel, nearly constant gridlock, no alternative to driving for many

  • Air and water pollution

  • Loss of forests, farms, other open space

  • Low housing production, limited to McMansions

  • Obesity and chronic health problems

  • Isolation of seniors – our fastest-growing cohort

Office for Commonwealth Development

Fix It First/Infrastructure

Commonwealth Capital

Transit-Oriented Development

Development-Oriented Transportation

Smart Growth Zoning Act

City and Town Center Redevelopment

Highway Program: Communities First

Environmental Policy

Local Capacity Building

Investing in Great Cities & Towns: 10 First Steps

(1) Office for Commonwealth Development

  • “Super-secretariat” linking transportation, housing, environment and energy agencies

  • Ensures consistent state support for growth in cities, town centers, and other walkable, infrastructure-rich areas

    • Infrastructure programs, other spending, regulation

    • Incentives for cities and towns to reform zoning

(2) Fix It First: Infrastructure

  • MassHighway: Roads and Bridges

    • Priority for repair and rehabilitation of streets, roads, structurally deficient bridges

    • Bridge program to be doubled

  • Dep’t of Conservation and Recreation: Parks

    • Merger and reform of state parks agencies

    • Capital budget doubled in 2004

  • MBTA: “State of Good Repair” program

  • Public Housing: Introduce private investment?

Bridges: Aging Baby Boomers

(3) Commonwealth Capital

  • Common administration of discretionary capital spending to ensure

    • Consistency of projects with smart growth

    • Alignment of municipal policies and zoning with state interest in smart growth

    • Coordination of agency decision-making

  • Includes economic and community development, land protection, off-street parking, wastewater infrastructure and other programs

Commonwealth Capital

  • Reviviendo Gateway Project, Lawrence –Governor’s Smart Growth Leadership Award Winner

(4) Transit-Oriented Development

  • Commonwealth Development/MBTA Program

    • Community-based master planning -- stations with surplus MBTA property

    • Re-zoning by first group of communities underway

  • Funding

    • New $30 M program for parking, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, housing

    • $40 M for infrastructure to support early projects

  • MassHousing Priority Development Fund

    • $100 M, including planning grants and financing

Urban Transit-Oriented Development

  • Maverick Gardens Hope VI Mixed-Income Redevelopment, East Boston –Governor’s Smart Growth Leadership Award Winner

Suburban Town Center Transit-Oriented Development

  • 10-12 Summer Street, Manchester –Governor’s Smart Growth Leadership Award Winner

(5) Development-Oriented Transportation

  • “Fix it First” doesn’t mean “fix it only” – near-term transit and highway improvements support city- and town-center growth

    • Boston: Silver Line Phase III

    • Worcester: Route 146

    • Pittsfield: East Street

  • Future transit and highway corridor projects will be conditioned on smart growth land-use plans and zoning

(6) Smart Growth Zoning Act(Chapter 40R)

  • Incentives to create “smart growth zoning districts” in

    • City, town, village centers/commercial districts

    • Around transit stations

    • Other “smart growth” locations

  • Criteria = infrastructure + walkability

  • Must have 8-20 units/acre, affordable units, housing or mixed use

  • Incentives: State $ for re-zoning and issuing building permits, priority in grant programs

(7) City and Town Center Redevelopment

  • State Historic Preservation Tax Credit signed into law

    • Focus on smart growth, affordable housing

    • Current cap: $15 million/year

  • Upper-story downtown redevelopment -- Housing Development Support Program (CDBG) funding doubled

  • “Rebirth of Older Industrial Cities” project with NAIOP, Northeastern University, 12 cities

    • Addressing barriers to urban economic development

Revitalizing Historic Downtowns

  • Amesbury –Governor’s Smart Growth Leadership Award Winner

(8) Highway Program:Communities First

  • New Highway Project Development and Design Manual to incorporate principles of

    • Context-sensitive design

    • Accommodation of all modes (inc. peds, bikes, transit)

    • Traffic calming

  • Being produced through open, collaborative process

  • Goal: most progressive manual in nation

(9) Environmental Policy

  • Environmental review and permitting

    • Fast track for smart growth projects

  • State Revolving Fund (water infrastructure)

    • Reforms to facilitate sewering for town center growth and get tougher on sewer extensions to outlying areas

  • Brownfields redevelopment

    • State support targeted to cities and town centers

Smart Brownfields Redevelopment

  • Heywood Memorial Library, Gardner –Governor’s Smart Growth Leadership Award Winner

(10) Local Capacity Building

  • Technical assistance grants to cities and towns

    • Priority Development Fund (Dep’t of Housing and Community Development/MassHousing)

    • Smart Growth Grants (Environmental Affairs)

  • Commonwealth Development agency staff support


  • Governor’s Awards for Smart Growth

Places to Watch: Lowell



“Redevelop First” – The first of Massachusetts’s ten Sustainable Development Principles

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