Growth Districts Initiative

The Growth Districts Initiative works to expedite commercial and residential development within the Commonwealth.

Under its "Growth Districts Initiative", EOHED will partner with municipalities that have identified one or more areas within their communities as being appropriate locations for significant new growth. Within those identified districts, EOHED will work with the community and property owners to make the district "development ready" with respect to local permitting, state permitting, site preparation (including brownfields remediation), infrastructure improvements, and marketing. 

The community must be committed to planning ahead not just for identified new construction that is ready to break ground, but also for future development over an extended period.

EOHED, in partnership with regional planning agencies and local communities, will identify promising growth districts on an ongoing basis and will work closely with the local communities to make and keep the districts development ready.

Locations targeted for EOHED assistance as "growth districts" will have the following fundamental characteristics:

Pre-Planned Zoning and Streamlined Permitting . The municipality will plan and zone the district for appropriate development in advance, as well as modify subdivision and other land use regulations and procedures, so as to consistently permit projects within six months. Permit applicants will be able to coordinate their local applications through a single point of contact at the municipality.

Market-Based Planning . The municipality will plan and zone the district for uses and densities for which there is reasonable market demand. The zoning will not be limited to a narrow set of uses for which market demand may fluctuate.

Fairness to Neighbors . Contemplated uses and densities will reasonably take into account and mitigate possible impacts on neighboring communities, on adjacent neighborhoods within the same community, and where applicable, on those who may be displaced by the new development.

Focused and Environmentally Sensitive Land Use . To the extent new development will be located on previously undisturbed land, it will be sited to avoid environmentally significant areas and designed to preserve open spaces.

Transportation Access . Contemplated uses and densities will be supported by existing transportation infrastructure or by reasonable identifiable upgrades to that infrastructure.

Adequate Utilities . Contemplated uses and densities will be supported by existing water, sewer and other utility infrastructure or by reasonable identifiable upgrades to that infrastructure.

Designated "growth districts" will also have one or more of these additional characteristics:

Job Opportunities. New development within the district will create employment in communities or regions in particular need of additional job opportunities.

Housing Opportunities . The district will include new "workforce housing" or "starter home" opportunities.

Community Enhancement . New development within the district will support or revitalize existing uses and structures within the community.

Land Re-Use . Much or all of the new development within the district will be located on previously disturbed land.

Transit Availability . Public transit will be available within convenient walking distance to employees and residents within the district.

Smart Energy . Zoning and other regulations within the district will promote or require efficient use of energy though improved design, high efficiency technologies and conservation and/or the use of clean renewable resources to create electricity and heat.

Green Building/Low-Impact Development . Zoning and other regulations within the district will promote efficient use of water and other resources, including best practices for water conservation, wastewater management and stormwater management.

Good Design . Zoning and other regulations within the district will incorporate best practices for building, site and neighborhood design.

New growth and development will continue to occur throughout the Commonwealth outside of these identified growth districts. Nonetheless, a successful growth districts initiative will:

  • Create an inventory of development-ready sites for new and expanding businesses, especially in our key industry clusters
    Promote the distribution of new economic growth throughout all regions of the Commonwealth
  • Create a range of new workforce housing opportunities throughout all regions of the Commonwealth
  • Promote new commercial and residential growth that is consistent with the Commonwealth's sustainable development principles
  • Act as a catalyst for the revitalization of our mid-size cities
  • Provide a focal point for coordinated action by the various state, regional and local entities involved in land use and development

Existing Growth District Communities

Worcester

 (designated February 26, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_worc_innovation.pdf

Growth District Summary pdf format of GDI_Worcester_expanded.pdf

Haverhill

 (designated April 9, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_havh_downtown.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Haverhill.doc

Chicopee

 (designated April 12, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_chic_business-pk.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Site_Info_Chicopee.doc

Devens

 (designated April 16, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_devens.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Devens.doc

Southfield - Weymouth, Rockland and Abington

 (designated April 24, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_southfield.pdf

Growth District Summary

Attleboro

 (designated May 8, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_attl_industrial-pk.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Attleboro.doc

New Bedford

 (designated May 8, 2008 and expanded January 8, 2010)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_nbed_hicks.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_New_Bedford_revised.doc file size1MB

Pittsfield

 (designated May 8, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_pitts_urban-ctr.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Pittsfield.doc

Revere

 (designated May 20, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_reve_waterfront-sq.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Revere.doc file size3MB

Springfield

 (designated July 7, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_springfield.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Springfield.doc file size6MB

Lowell

 (designated September 3, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_lowe_hamilton-canal.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Lowell.doc

Burlington

 (designated November 12, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_burl_northwest.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Burlington.doc file size7MB

Plymouth

 (designated November 17, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_plym_cordage.pdf

Growth District Summary pdf format of GDI_Plymouth.pdf

Foxboro

 (designated November 20, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_foxborough.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Foxborough.doc file size3MB

Somerville

 (designated December 1, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_smvl_assembly.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Somerville.doc file size2MB

Lynn

 (designated December 23, 2008)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_lynn_waterfront.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of GDI_Lynn.doc

Lawrence

 (designated March 19, 2009)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_lawr_canal.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of lawrence_site_info.doc

Fall River

 (designated April 3, 2009)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_fallr_exex-pk.pdf

Growth District Summary pdf format of fallriver_site_info_final.pdf

Rivers Edge - Malden, Medford, Everett

 (designated September 23, 2009)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_evrt_riveredge.pdf

Growth District Summary doc format of rivers_edge_gdi_template.doc file size14MB

Holyoke

 (designated March 29, 2010)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI_holy_innovation.pdf

Growth District Summary

Brockton

(designated March 19, 2013)

Growth District Map

Growth District Summary pdf format of Growth District Map and Summary file size4MB

Boston

(designated June 17, 2013)

Growth District Map pdf format of GDI Boston Map

Growth District Summary

Malden

 (designated December 19, 2014)

Growth District Map pdf format of gdi-malden-map.pdf

Growth District Summary pdf format of gdi-malden.pdf


For more information contact the Permit Regulatory Office at (617) 788-3662.