Chelsea was one of 26 communities in the state that recently received part of $1.4 million in grants to support local and regional planning agencies in developing plans and implementing land use regulations consistent with their goals and the conservation and development objectives of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA).
Chelsea received $50,000 from the state to help create a tool to facilitate Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals review and the enhancement of development proposals.
Chelsea and the other municipalities will use the grants to undertake public processes and hire technical expertise to mitigate and prepare for climate change impacts, improve land use practices, conserve and sustainably develop land, and diversify housing choices.
“Zoning ordinances can have a significant impact on a municipality’s ability to combat the climate crisis,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Transit-oriented housing, protecting open spaces, and building in resilient areas are critical considerations. As weather becomes more extreme, it’s important that we update regulations to help build resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Massachusetts.”
Chelsea Director of Housing and Community Development Alex Train thanked the Healey-Driscoll administration for the grant funding and said the city will soon put the money to work.
“Under the leadership of the City Council, the city has been seeking to streamline our local permitting process as well as ensure that community goals are reflected throughout the process,” said Train. “Over the last six months, our department has been interfacing with the Planning Board relative to creating a development review tool. Through this grant, we are looking to create a tool that would assist the ZBA and the Planning Board with reviewing development projects to ensure that they align with community goals.”
The tool will help provide guidance on issues such as open space, sustainability, and climate resiliency.
“In addition to being beneficial to the boards and the community, we see this as a positive step toward making our development process more predictable for the development community, and in turn, by making the process more predictable and reliable, we’re hoping to ease the business process with the city for new projects,” said Train. “Right now, we are aiming to kick the project off at the end of November and the goal is to work with the ZBA and Planning Board over the winter, culminating with a presentation to the City Council and both boards in the spring of 2024 with the tool that would be ready to use for them.”