Massachusetts land use planning grants announced


Funds Will Help Municipalities Sustainably Develop and Conserve Land; Diversify Housing Choices

BOSTON ( – The Baker-Polito Administration Tuesday announced $1,152,500 in grants for 29 projects to improve municipal land use planning and development through the Planning Assistance Grant Program. Through this program, the Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) provides municipalities funding to undertake public processes and hire technical expertise to improve their land use practices, diversify housing choices, mitigate and prepare for climate change impacts, and conserve and sustainably develop land.

“Our Administration is committed to helping communities build more housing while protecting natural resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants help municipalities update their zoning and other land use regulations to make the Commonwealth a more resilient, sustainable and affordable place to live and raise a family.”

“This grant program is a great way to help municipalities implement solutions to address climate change locally and build a runway for sustainable future growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With this funding, communities and regional planning groups can work to update local regulations to better achieve their housing, economic development and natural resource protection goals.”

The Planning Assistance Grant Program is part of an effort to encourage municipalities to implement land use regulations that are consistent with the Baker Administration’s land conservation and development objectives including reduction of land, energy, and natural resource consumption, provision of sufficient and diverse housing, and mitigation of and preparation for climate change.  The program is also part of the technical assistance offered to communities in support of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Housing Choice Initiative.

“Local zoning, subdivision, and other land use regulations provide the framework for future development, and these grants help cities and towns achieve a better result,” said EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Under the administration’s leadership, we are helping communities update and enhance their regulations so that they can grow in ways that reduce land, natural resource, and energy consumption.”

The grants are awarded to the Commonwealth’s municipalities and Regional Planning Agencies acting on their behalf to support their efforts to plan, regulate, and act to conserve and develop land consistent with the Massachusetts’ Sustainable Development Principles.

The following communities received grants:

ApplicantMunicipalityProjectGrant Award
AdamsAdamsHousing Package: 40R, ADU, Housing Choice Zoning Measures, plus Home Occupations$45,000
AtholAtholDowntown Rezoning$40,000
BarreBarreNatural Resource Protection, Flexible Frontage, & ADU Zoning Amendments$6,375
BeverlyBeverlyADU Ordinance$45,000
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) BoylstonMaster Plan: Housing, Land Use, & Econ. Dev. Elements$40,000
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)HopedaleMaster Plan: Natural & Cultural Resources & Open Space & Recreation elements plus zoning review$32,500
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)MendonMaster Plan: Housing, Land Use, & Econ. Dev. Elements$33,000
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)RutlandMaster Plan: Housing, Land Use, & Econ. Dev. Elements$40,000
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)SpencerHousing Production Plan$15,875
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)UxbridgeReimagining Main Street$40,000
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)CMRPC RegionLand Use for Regional Resilience$55,000
EasthamptonEasthamptonParking Utilization Study; Sale/Reuse of 3 municipal buildings$21,000
Great BarringtonGreat BarringtonFood System Plan for Climate Resilience$10,000
HullHullHousing Production Plan$27,050
LincolnLincolnEquitable TOD Zoning$28,500
Manchester by the SeaManchester by the Sea40R Zoning$23,000
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)Ashland, Framingham, NatickComprehensive Community Climate Accounting$130,000
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)Gloucester & WinthropClimate Zoning for Coastal Communities$45,300
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)Belmont, Ipswich, Marblehead & PeabodyNet Zero Planning in Communities with Municipal Light Plants$150,000
MaynardMaynardHousing Production Plan Update$20,500
Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC)HubbardstonMaster Plan: Implementation Chapter$18,000
Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC)SterlingMaster Plan: Historical & Cultural Resources, Services & Facilities, & Land Use Elements$40,000
New BedfordNew BedfordForm Based Code, Solar Zoning, & Use Table Update$44,000
NorthamptonNorthamptonCommunity & Resilience Hub$45,000
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC)Easthampton, Hadley, Ludlow, and S. HadleyLand Development & Management in the Pioneer Valley after COVID 19$43,000
SalemSalemMixed Use Zoning for the Bridge Street Neck$21,400
WareWareWest St. Corridor Study$30,000
WenhamWenhamAudit & Update Subdivision Regulations$18,000
West BrookfieldWest BrookfieldComprehensive Zoning Re-write$45,000

“I am grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides for their continued investment in the well-being and sustainability of our communities,” said State Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). “These grants will allow our municipalities to plan for future growth, while consuming less energy and becoming a more affordable place to live and raise a family.”

“I congratulate all the awardees especially the 7 towns in my district who will be benefitting from the combined $195,250 to assist in the important work around housing development and proper land use,” said State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “During these trying times it is good to know that priority programs continue to move forward and I am glad to support them.”

“The Planning Assistance Grant Program provides towns an opportunity to implement sustainability initiatives that seek to improve resilience to climate change and I am thrilled that the town of Great Barrington will be receiving support,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for all of their efforts to not only improve climate emissions but also to support affordability, accessibility, and cost savings for residents across the Commonwealth.”

The administration’s Housing Choice Initiative, which was announced in December 2017, is a package of technical assistance for communities, the Housing Choice Communities (HCC) designation, new capital grant funding, and pending legislation, An Act to Promote Housing Choices. This initiative, and its goal to produce 135,000 new units of housing by 2025, complements the investments made by the Department of Housing and Community Development in affordable housing production across the state, and supports local government actions to meet the demands of a growing and aging population in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Only on | Digital First

More Digital First

Trending Stories