Smart Growth Incentive Enables Zoning Changes

A Massachusetts smart growth incentive has enabled a Boston suburb to change its zoning laws to allow developers to build mixed-use developments without applying for special permits. Now other towns want in, but there might not be enough funding.

"Developers who might want to build a mix of apartments and stores in Brockton's struggling downtown now can do so without getting any special zoning permits."

"The city revamped its zoning this summer by approving a new district under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40R, the state's three-year-old initiative aimed at promoting smart growth and affordable housing. The state promises cash to communities that use the law, and Brockton is now eligible for a $600,000 incentive grant."

"'It looks like a win-win for the city,' said Brockton City Planner Nancy Stack Savoie. 'We are looking at this as a way of setting the table for new development in downtown Brockton. We have great hopes for 40R.'"

"But local and state officials are watching closely to see if the Legislature replenishes a fund that has provided the monetary incentives to help persuade local governments to adopt Chapter 40R."

Full Story: Housing deal gets popular

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