For Immediate Release - March 19, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Releases 495-Metrowest Development Plan to Advance Regional Growth, While Protecting Natural Resources

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION RELEASES 495-METROWEST DEVELOPMENT PLAN TO ADVANCE REGIONAL GROWTH, WHILE PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES

BOSTON – Monday, March 19, 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (HED) today released the 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan, a blueprint for job creation, economic development and preservation efforts along the I-495 corridor. 

“As we continue our economic recovery, the mix of business development and quality of life along the 495 corridor must be nurtured and preserved,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This plan will help maintain that balance and continue to move this important region forward.”

Created with input from residents, local officials and regional organizations and business leaders, the plan will help guide regional and state development and provide direction for public investments to preserve the intrinsic qualities of the region.

“The MetroWest is a vibrant growth area that supports many companies in high-technology, life sciences and innovation, which are the backbone of our growing economy,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. “This plan offers an outline to the region’s future, supporting long-term economic growth while also maintaining the region’s position as a great place to live.”

“Protecting our natural resources – like water – as part of economic development is smart planning and supports the Patrick-Murray Administration’s integrated approach to planning,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “Now that we have a plan outlining preservation and development priorities, we can all work to protect land and natural resources in the region, while at the same time investing in job creation.”

VIEW THE PLAN: http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/eohed/pro/planning/metrowest/

The plan establishes a set of six fundamental principles for the region, which include:

  • Continued new growth will likely require major transportation and other infrastructure upgrades, beyond what is needed to keep existing systems in good repair.
  • New commercial and residential growth must occur in a manner that is respectful of open space resources, transportation networks, and water resources in the region.
  • Land use and transportation decisions must take into account the principles established by the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Clean Energy and Climate Plan, the transportation re-organization statute and GreenDOT Initiative. 
  • Workforce housing must continue to be produced and preserved within the region at a scale that allows the number of workers living in the region to keep pace with the number of new jobs created in the region.
  • Sustainable new growth will involve the creation and maintenance of an effective public transit system that will coordinate with existing transit.
  • Coordinated planning and implementation efforts are necessary, particularly where jurisdictions and boundaries intersect. 

The 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan included 37 communities which are located in five of the 13 Regional Planning Agencies in the state. The communities included in the region are: Acton, Ashland, Berlin, Bellingham, Bolton, Boxborough, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Harvard, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Norfolk, Northborough, Plainville, Sherborn, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Upton, Wayland, Westborough, Westford, Worcester, and Wrentham.

“We all know MetroWest is an vital economic engine for the state,” said Senator Karen Spilka. “It’s been great to work closely with the Administration and so many local officials to identify important areas for investment, economic development, and preservation which will help us better target resources to these critical areas in our communities.”

"I want to express my appreciation to the Administration and particularly Secretary Bialecki and his staff for their vision and leadership in developing and coordinating a long range plan for continued strategic economic development in the greater MetroWest region that links economic development efforts with transportation and infrastructure investment,” said Rep. John Fernandes. “The plan released today is the product of a local, state and private sector analysis of the opportunities for growth and expansion that will provide a roadmap for continued economic development providing jobs and business expansion while preserving the best of our natural resources to a desirable environment in which to live and raise a family.  I look forward to working with the administration on implementation of the plan."

“Planning for both conservation and development together preserves clean water, natural areas, and community character while providing needed jobs and housing,” said Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at Mass Audubon.  “This plan provides a blueprint for curtailing sprawl and charting a course that is twice green – environmentally and economically.”

“We greatly appreciate the Patrick-Murray Administration recognizing the 495/MetroWest region’s economic importance to the entire Commonwealth by prioritizing this regional plan for development, preservation, and infrastructure,” said Paul Matthews, the Executive Director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership. “Achieving this consensus with the state, municipal governments, environmentalists, and the private sector wouldn’t have happened without  Secretary Bialecki’s vision on incorporating grassroots input to build a plan that will impact the region for years to come. “

By providing a regional perspective on the 495/MetroWest Region, the plan will help local, regional and state partners make decisions and investments that promote new growth which maximizes current resources in the region and to assure that continued growth will be sustainable over the long term.

“At the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), we always say it’s better to plan for the future, rather than letting the future just happen," said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of MAPC. "The compact is a great example of planning for the future. It establishes state and regional priorities for growth, along with natural places we must preserve for our children. Going forward, we will work with the Commonwealth to ensure that state infrastructure investments help to encourage growth in these priority development areas, and that state open space funds help to preserve forever areas of critical environmental concern.” 

The process included the identification of Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and Priority Preservation Areas (PPAs). The process began at the municipal level, working with staff, officials and community members to identify local priorities. The Regional Planning Agencies then engaged in a review to highlight priorities that aligned with regional and state goals for development, preservation and infrastructure investment. The result was a smaller set of Regionally Significant Priority Areas, which set the foundation for the identification of state PDAs and PPAs. 

HED partnered with the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the 495/MetroWest Partnership, Mass Audubon, the MetroWest Regional Collaborative, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Massachusetts Department of Transportation to advance the regional planning effort in the 37 cities and towns within the 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan area. 

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