Natick Hailed as Example of How to Do Smart Growth Well

NSNA is not opposed to all compact growth strategies. What concerns us most is when “smart growth” is cited as an excuse to consume precious downtown greenspace. However, we support efforts to revitalize commercial sites and underused parking lots, such as can be found on King Street. In this vein, MetroWest reports on successful initiatives in Natick (6/8/04):

”As we roll out our smart growth strategies, we point to Natick as a significant example of how to do it and how to do it well,” said Office for Commonwealth Development Secretary Doug Foy at a press event in Natick, announcing $3 million in grants for municipalities that plan smart growth, and applauding town officials for spurring a downtown ‘renaissance.’

…The town’s recently approved ‘housing overlay option plan,’ the writer observes, allows redevelopment of industrial sites into housing construction, first targeting a South Street strip and the vacant East Central Street armory, and later the area of the downtown commuter rail station.

See also:

Boston Globe: Infill, Mixed-Use Projects Part of Massachusetts’ New Development Policies
…Rhode Island School of Design professor Anne Tate says a centerpiece of new development policies in the ”blueprint for sustainability” will be reclamation of infill land near Boston for high-density urban villages, since ”Sites where we have to create new roads or water or sewers don’t make sense when we don’t have as much money to throw around.” One of her examples of urban land targeted for mixed use and a new transit stop, reports Boston Globe writer Anthony Flint, is the 145-acre Assembly Square along the Mystic River in Somerville, a former Ford plant site turned into a shopping mall, with only a few stores left and its big parking lots taken over by junk and weeds. (4/8/03)

Boston Globe: Massachusetts’ ”Supersecretary” Faces Criticism from Both Sides of Growth Issue
…Conservation Law Foundation president Douglas Foy accepted Republican Governor Mitt Romney’s offer to become his supersecretary for housing, transportation, energy and the environment… former Department of Environmental Protection attorney Kyla Bennett notes his recent praise for a proposed 250-unit housing project on 337 wooded acres near Borderland State Park in Sharon and asks, ”That’s his idea of smart growth? In the middle of a flipping park? It’s not even on a paved road.” (3/7/03)

Massachusetts Smart Growth News Articles at Smart Growth Online

The New Draft Sustainable Northampton Plan: Balancing Compact Growth Against Taxes, Urban Greenspace, Homeowner Preferences

Metro Portland: “Nature in Neighborhoods”

Berkeley, California: Cautions on Infill