Economic Planning ad Development

Planning Technical Assistance

Keeping up with the State of Massachusetts takes a lot of effort. Local communities may not necessarily have the resources to undertake implementing state programs on their own. Following state initiatives and implementing them at the local community level is all part of MVPCs comprehensive planning strategy. Merrimack Valley Planning Commission has a staff of planners with varied talents designed to help your local needs. Read on to find out more about the types of projects we can assist you with.

District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA)

Planning Ahead for Housing

We can assist you with planning and implementation activities that encourage and support affordable and market-rate housing production opportunities.   Examples include (1) the development of market, mixed-income and affordable multi-family housing in transit-oriented-development locations, employment centers, downtown locations and state-endorsed Priority Development Areas (PDAs) within our jurisdiction; (2) Creation of as-of-right zoning districts [i.e. 40R/Smart Growth Districts and DHCD’s Compact Neighborhood Policy; (3) Creation of prompt and predictable permitting for 43D Expedited Permitting Priority Development sites for residential housing; (4) Identifying challenges & solutions in respect to infrastructure requirements that affect the ability to construct multi-family residential projects in as-of-right zoning districts and parcels; (5) Identifying multi-family residential projects subject to the Permit Extension Act and (6) Regional analysis of affordable and market housing needs [i.e. creation of Housing Production Plans]

Planning Ahead for Growth

We can assist you with planning and implementation activities that encourage and support economic development opportunities that may include:  (1) Identification, assessment and mapping of Priority Development Areas and Priority Preservation Areas at the local and regional levels, including discussion of specific areas for multi-family housing growth; (2) Supporting prompt and predictable permitting through the Chapter 43D Expedited Permitting Program for Economic Development projects; (3) Encouraging communities to use the Economic Development Self-Assessment Tool (EDSTAT) to assess economic development opportunities within communities and/or regions and to development implementation strategies based on EDSTAT recommendations; (4) Identifying challenges and solutions in respect to infrastructure requirements that affect the ability to advance economic development activities; and (5) Identifying economic development projects subject to the Permit Extension Act, assessing impediments and recommending steps that state and/or the applicable municipality could realistically take to enable those projects to go forward.

Supporting the Community Compact, including regionalization

In the pursuit of regional services, we can assist you with (1) Shared Services [e.g. regional lockup, regional 911 centers, other public safety and emergency response responsibilities, information technology/data management, school district/regional school district analysis, shared professional and administrative services, agreements to operate shared waste disposable/recycling facilities/programs; (2) Collective Purchasing (if such purchasing cannot be otherwise accomplished using state-wide contracts or can be achieved regionally for less than the state contract price, or items proposed for purchase are specific to municipal and/or school district agreements); and (3) Cost saving measures that benefit more than one municipality.

Supporting the Housing Choice Initiative

The regional planning agency shall work with Administration to support Housing Choice Initiative and those communities that are seeking assistance to achieve Designation under the HHCI. The HCI will designate communities who have produced certain levels of housing and have best practices that allow for compact housing development. First priority shall be to support Designated Housing Choice Communities, regional planning agencies are encouraging to prioritize requests from communities seeking too achieve HC Designation. The activities under “Planning Ahead for Housing” qualify as best practices under the HCI.

Local Technical Assistance

The Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program was initiated to improve the direct services of this agency to its member communities. Under the LTA program each community annually receives a set number of hours of technical assistance to be used in any reasonable planning project authorized by the community’s commissioner.

Please contact our Community and Economic Development Department with any questions.

Contact us to learn more about our Technical Assistance Programs and how we work with our municipal partners toward the orderly development of the region.

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