Tag Archives: Zoning

2016 Smart Growth conference #MSGA16

I’m in Worcester, MA, attending the 2016 Smart Growth Alliance conference (I was an invited speaker at a prior conference.)  The conference brings city planners, transportation and civic innovators, real estate and housing professionals, business leaders, non-profits, architects, Great Neighborhood and gateway cities, and –well, let’s just say a wide range of (primarily) policy folk.

It’s surprisingly enjoyable.

This year, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito is the key note speaker and we’ll hear from Worcester the host city. Other headliners include Michael Hogan President & CEO of AD Makepeace Company; Mayor Donna Holaday of Newburyport; Dan Burden the ‘walkability guru’; Parris Glendening former MD Governor and President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Inst; Veronica Eady, VP Conservation Law Foundation; and Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Executive Director 128 Business Council. There will be more than 70 speakers. Attendees often fan out in groups to cover more panels.  I’ll report back where I’ve landed.

One topic that will swirl in the background concerns housing and a landmark bill S.122 proposing changes to planning, zoning and permitting. The organizers support this in a big way. Director Andre Leroux writes, “We believe that the (legislators) have done a thoughtful job balancing the needs of municipalities, developers, and the environment. “

With two-thirds of Millennials desiring to live in walkable, transit-accessible places at the same time that seniors shift to apartment living, suburban communities have a real test before them.  Communities like Newtonville need to decide between planned growth and unplanned growth. For its peers like West Concord village, Winchester Center, Andover and Newburyport, the future is already happening.” Quite a dishy prompt.

The Boston Globe endorsed the bill, you may have noticed the title: “Make Room for Granny, and other zoning fixes.” Granny does live longer than Grandpa.




TOD Development Potential

I ran across this link to a MAPC study, browsing news for work. TOD or Transportation Oriented Developments are getting a lot of talk today and places like Melrose are already trying to capitalize on the idea. I thought to post the following link to the study  on GMG as the concept could be looked into for Gloucester and perhaps Beverly. The effort usually takes a zoning overlay district that allows mixed use developments and areas with strong connections to rail and bus systems. Not sure if anyone’s thinking along these lines already.

Follow this link to the MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Council) study of stations within the Metro area showing potential for development and capacity. Melrose has now proposed zoning changes in it’s Tremont/Essex Street Commuter Rail Corridor. Some of these include relaxed height restrictions allowing 4 stories, up from 2 stories, greater density, and broadened scope of allowed uses.  Great ideas for growth going forward with incorporation of public transportation as a foundation. http://bit.ly/1pWsmKY . IMHO!