495/MetroWest Development Compact 

Fall 2011 Visioning Session Materials

Maps & June Forum Materials 


For the last twenty years, the communities in the 495/MetroWest region of Massachusetts have undergone significant growth in employment and population. Looking forward, the region’s public and private sector leaders recognize the need for collaborative approaches to infrastructure and land use to ensure the vitality of the region’s economy and quality of life.

The 495/MetroWest Development Compact is creating a shared framework for state, regional, and local strategies for priority development and land preservation as well as transportation and other infrastructure investments in the 37municipalities in the region. 

The Patrick-Murray Administration through Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development  is partnering with Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the MetroWest Regional Collaborative, the 495/MetroWest Partnership, and Mass Audubon to engage the region in the preparation of a comprehensive land use and development plan for the 495/MetroWest region, modeled on the award-winning South Coast Rail Corridor Plan.  A key component of this plan will be identifying  priority development and preservation areas and significant transportation and infrastructure investments for the region (see below).  Like the South Coast Plan, the 495/MetroWest plan will be prepared in collaboration with regional and local participants and engage both public and private sectors to form the framework for public decision-making in land use regulation and infrastructure investment within the region over the next twenty years.

The Compact is guided by six fundamental principles:

Continued new growth will likely require major transportation and other infrastructure upgrades, beyond what is needed to keep existing systems in good repair;

New commercial and residential growth must occur in a manner that is respectful of open space resources, transportation networks, and water resources in the region;

Land use and transportation decisions must take into account the principles established by the Global Warming Solutions Act, the transportation re¬organization statute and the objectives of the Clean Energy and Climate Plan, and the GreenDOT initiative;

Workforce housing must continue to be produced and preserved within the region at a scale that allows the number of workers living in the region to keep pace with the number of new jobs created in the region;

Sustainable new growth will involve the creation and maintenance of an effective public transit system that will coordinate with existing transit; and


Coordinated planning and implementation efforts between jurisdictions are necessary.

The project is slated to be completed by December 31, 2011.


Priority Development Areas (PDA)

Locations potentially capable of supporting additional development or redevelopment, but that may first require additional investments in infrastructure.

May be a single use or mixed-use: a combination of retail, commercial, office, or housing.  

Can range in size from a single lot to many acres.

May include adaptive reuse of existing buildings to preserve sense of place.

Generally characterized by good access, available infrastructure (primarily water and sewer), and an absence of environmental constraints.

Areas have undergone extensive area-wide or neighborhood planning processes and may have detailed recommendations for future actions.

Areas designated under state programs such as Chapter 43D (expedited permitting), Chapter 40R (smart growth zones) or Economic Opportunity Areas can be examples of PDAs. 


Priority Preservation Areas (PPA)

Deserve special protection due to significant environmental factors and/or natural features, such as endangered species habitats, large blocks of high quality intact habitat (BioMap2), areas critical to water supply, scenic vistas, areas important to a cultural landscape, or areas of historical significance. 

Are not currently permanently protected (e.g., via conservation restriction, municipal or state conservation land, land trust ownership, etc.).

In general, existing parks or new park facilities would not fall within this category.

May be critical to linking open space and also trails within a community across municipal boundaries that are part of a larger, regional network.


Significant Transportation Investments (STIs)

Transportation projects that have the potential to increase efficiency and enhance interconnectivity for facilities which serve regional transportation needs.

May be a project in a town or within a town’s subregion.

In most cases, these potential projects address major roadways as well as transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities that either individually or collectively serves regional travel needs.

May  include improvements for commercial airports and intermodal freight facilities that are key to the regional economy.

Locally identified projects , along with projects from other statewide and regional planning documents, will be evaluated to develop an initial set of Regionally Significant Transportation Investments (RSTIs).


Significant Infrastructure Investments (SIIs)

Are infrastructure projects that have the potential to increase efficiency and capacity and enhance development potential for facilities/sites which serve regional needs.

May be a project in a town or within a town’s subregion.

In most cases, these potential projects address water, sewer/wastewater, stormwater, and may include new infrastructure upgrades/increase in capacity to existing infrastructure that either individually or collectively serve regional needs.

Locally identified projects, along with projects from other statewide and regional planning documents, will be evaluated to develop an initial set of Regionally Significant Infrastructure Investments (RSIIs).