Urban Renewal (UR)

DHCD’s Division of Community Services administers the urban renewal program, including assisting municipalities which are establishing urban renewal agencies, and providing technical assistance to prepare and implement Urban Renewal Plans.

Urban renewal is a strategy for redeveloping and revitalizing substandard, decadent and blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other uses.  Under M.G.L. Chapter 121B, urban renewal agencies are authorized to take a range of actions to address disinvested and underutilized neighborhoods and substandard, decadent and blighted conditions in order to create the environment needed to promote sound growth and attract and support private investment in designated urban renewal areas.

M.G.L. Chapter 121B

Urban Renewal Implementation Regulations 760 CMR 12.00

Urban Renewal Plan Preparation Guide

How to Establish a Redevelopment Authority

Eligible Participants

Any city or town in the Commonwealth may establish either a Redevelopment Authority under M.G.L. Chapter 121B, or Consolidated Community Development Departments under M.G.L. Chapter 43C, and undertake urban renewal activities.

Eligible Activities

  • Prepare and implement Urban Renewal Plans
  • Carry out planning studies
  • Establish rehabilitation and design standards
  • Acquire real estate, including acquisition by eminent domain
  • Demolish and/or rehabilitate structures
  • Undertake site preparation and environmental remediation
  • Assemble and dispose of land for private development
  • Relocate displaced businesses and residents
  • Issue bonds and borrow money
  • Receive grants and loans

How It Works

When redevelopment can’t be accomplished with existing towns regulatory powers or by the private sector alone. Urban renewal agencies have broad powers to plan and implement activities needed to address the conditions contributing to the disinvestment that leads to substandard, decadent, and blighted open areas.  The preparation of an Urban Renewal Plan is necessary for an urban renewal agency to undertake certain actions, including the taking of private property by eminent domain, and the disposition of this property to another private entity for redevelopment.  Urban renewal agencies are also exempt from M.G.L. Chapter 30B, the Uniform Procurement Act, when the acquisition and disposition of real property is undertaken in accordance with an approved Urban Renewal Plan.

Urban Renewal Plan Approval

In order to approve a proposed Urban Renewal Plan, DHCD must determine that:

  • Without public action the project/site would not be developed
  • Project will promote desired private investment
  • Plan for financing the project is sound
  • Project area is a substandard, decadent, and/or blighted open area
  • Urban Renewal Plan submission is complete
  • Urban Renewal Plan includes a Relocation Plan, as appropriate. 
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