Legislators Review “Great Neighborhoods Bill” Campaign for smarter growth draws support from across


For Immediate Release Contact: André Leroux, Executive Director, Mass Smart Growth Alliance c: 617-251-3861 andre@ma-smartgrowth.org

Residents, municipal officials, developers, planners, architects, public health and community organizations came to the State House on May 2nd to testify before the Municipalities Committee in support of the “Great Neighborhoods bill,” An Act Building for the future of the Commonwealth (House 2420).

André Leroux, Executive Director of the Mass Smart Growth Alliance said, “Our cities and towns are losing their young professionals while our seniors don’t have any housing choices if they want to downsize. We need the Great Neighborhoods Bill to pass this year.”

The Great Neighborhoods bill represents a major reform of Massachusetts planning, zoning, and permitting laws. In addition to helping families stay in their communities, it would also encourage communities to plan for the future, creating more walkable and vibrant places while protecting their environment.

Rep. Stephen Kulik, the lead sponsor of the bill, says that he wants to work with local governments and business groups to build support for the campaign. “We can do a better job of developing our communities. Improved planning and permitting will help small businesses and property owners make investments to keep our economy strong, while at the same time reducing sprawl.”

What people are saying

“Two years ago, we began a revitalization of our town center. Town Meeting only happens every six months, so if something gets delayed, people can’t invest. We lost at least one small business because it took us two tries to get it passed. House Bill 2420 makes it easier to plan, re-zone, and approve permits in a number of ways that can help the process work more smoothly.”

  • Dottie Fulginiti, Vice-Chair, Easton Board of Selectmen

“I strongly support the Great Neighborhoods bill because it would establish rules for creating artist live/work space and accessory apartments throughout Massachusetts.”

  • Catherine Ryan, independent art advisor, Gloucester

“Unfortunately, I hear a lot about towns that spend more energy fighting to keep people out than they do figuring out how to build more housing. There are not many communities outside of Boston that feel welcoming to people of color like me. If every city and town built some apartments like this bill requires, then we would have more choices.”

  • Hakim Cunningham, training and entrepreneurship consultant, Chelsea

“Open space residential development is a cost saving and environmentally friendly alternative for developers. If this bill passes, more historic MA landscapes and scenic views could be preserved, instead of the current zoning that encourages sterile ‘cookie cutter’ subdivisions.”

  • Anne Mazar, Chair of Mendon Land-Use Committee

"With my income and my husband's, we should be able to afford to live in the town where we grew up, and yet we are struggling to stay in the community where we've lived our whole lives. We are worried we'll have to follow the path of many friends who were forced to move to states like New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania to find housing they can afford.”

  • Meaghan Mort, Barnstable

“In 2015, we were granted permits to build 60 affordable homes for seniors in our Maple Woods project but have been delayed for more than 18 months by unnecessary appeals. Currently we have 623 full slots on our waiting list for senior housing. We need the reforms in this bill so that those people can live to see them built.”

  • Andrew DeFranza, Executive Director, Harborlight Community Partners

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Great Neighborhoods Coalition

Note: Participation does not necessarily indicate endorsement of all parts of the bill.

A Better Cambridge

Alliance for Business Leadership

American Institute of Architects, MA Chapter

American Planning Association, MA Chapter

Asian Community Development Corporation

Association to Preserve Cape Cod

Charles River Watershed Association

Citizens' Housing and Planning Association

Congress for the New Urbanism/New England

Conservation Law Foundation

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Harborlight Community Partners

Livable Streets Alliance

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC)

Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions

Massachusetts Association of Health Boards

Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors (MAPD)

Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA)

Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance

Mass Audubon

MassBike

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

Metro West Collaborative Development, Inc.

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Preservation of Affordable Housing

Progressive Massachusetts

Progressive Newton

The Trustees of Reservations

Transportation for Massachusetts

WalkBoston

Zoning Reform Working Group

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