Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs - National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2002 Winners Presentation
Category: Community Outreach and Education
The Massachusetts Community Preservation Initiative is a statewide smart growth program that helps municipal officials and community leaders understand the potential effects of future growth. It provides tools, technical assistance and outreach to encourage informed and balanced growth decisions.
The Community Preservation Initiative (CPI) was developed by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to create a constituency of residents and elected officials who support and implement smart growth. CPI's philosophy is that planning is not just for professionals and that all residents should play a role in shaping their collective future. CPI encourages communities to grow where infrastructure already exists, redevelop urban areas, and utilize density to offset pressures on open space.
Under CPI, the state provides tools to help communities see the effects of growth and make more informed choices. CPI created 351 buildout maps, one for each community in the state, to illustrate how a community is currently zoned and the quantity and location of land available for development. CPI has presented buildout maps in three venues: to every community's Board of Selectmen or City Council; at 20 Summits of up to 150 people from up to 20 communities, and at six "SuperSummits" of up to 300 people each. The buildout maps have inspired many communities to change their bylaws and zoning to better support the type of growth they want in their communities and to enhance environmental protection.
An innovative aspect of CPI is the release of two software tools to help communities make informed choices. The Fiscal Impact Tool analyzes financial implications of development scenarios and the Alternative Futures Tool enables a user to analyze a variety of buildout scenarios by altering zoning. Other high-lights of CPI's outreach efforts include making over 120 presentations about the state-wide Community Preservation Act (CPA), under which communities can adopt a surcharge on local property levies and receive up to a 100 percent state match, and creating a high quality web site.
Partners in CPI include about 60 organizations representing affordable housing, historic preservation and open space interests, who help educate the public about the CPA through workshops, conferences, and the web. CPI also partners with state agencies, including the Department of Housing and Community Development, Executive Office of Transportation and Construction, and Department of Economic Development.
Academic Partnership Reaches New Leaders
In collaboration with the University of Massachusetts, CPI created the Community Preservation Institute to teach community leaders more about implementing community preservation efforts. The Institute has grown from one to five campuses in 18 months. More than 125 graduates have passed through the nine-week program, creating a growing network of empowered community leaders.
Education, Not Regulation
The Community Preservation Initiative emphasizes education, not regulation. For example, in concert with other state agency partners, CPI grants up to $30,000 in planning assistance to communities seeking to establish and develop Community Development Planning Programs, based on the content of the buildout project. So far, 200 communities have signed up to utilize these grants to develop plans for community growth, to update master plans, or begin plan implementation.
For More Information
John Hultgren (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deputy Director of Community Preservation
Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs