| ||Devens Enterprise Commission|
Ten Year Review
This document is prepared in compliance with the requirements of Chapter 498 of the Acts of 1993 and the Devens By-Laws, last revised November, 1999. The By-Laws and Chapter 498 allocate certain responsibilities to the Devens Enterprise Commission (hereinafter the DEC) as part of the Five Year Review process. These include an analysis of District by District development over the past five years, comparing actual development with the goals set forth in the Reuse Plan and By-Laws. The By-Laws also establish the need for certain documents and regulations to be prepared by the DEC and these also are considered in this Report. In addition, with public participation, the DEC participated in the Devens Disposition Process pursuant to Section 21 of Chapter 498 of the Acts of 1993. The findings from our participation on the Land Use and Open Space Committee, undertaken as part of the disposition process, constitute our Ten Year Review. This report differs from our Five Year Review in that we have broken down our analysis using the twenty-one (21) assessors' maps which constitute Devens, rather than by each zoning district as was the case in our initial five year review. This was done for a number of reasons. First, it provides for a more detailed analysis of each parcel; secondly, it is consistent with the format utilized by Mass Development as the basis of its assessor's maps; and thirdly, it mimics the format and analysis undertaken by the Land Use and Open Space Committee during the disposition process and allows us to utilize their work in a timely and efficient process. Taken as a whole, we hope this report will give the reader a snapshot of Devens after ten years of redevelopment from the perspective of the DEC, the regulatory and permitting authority for this project.
December 2000 - December, 2006
The DEC's Sustainability Indicators Report offers objective standards to measure the progress of Devens redevelopment efforts. The Report was developed through an inclusive citizen participation process held in March of 2000 as part of a Legislative meeting to address Five Year Review issues. The Report became the basis for the launching of a Devens Transportation Demand Management Initiative (2001-2003) and the Fitchburg Line Working Group, to address the reliance on single occupancy vehicles and other transportation issues raised in the Sustainability Indicators report. The second issue that surfaced in the report was the need for greening the development process. This has been addressed through revisions to the DEC's Rules and Regulations, the creation of a DEC Green Building Grant Program, and revisions to the Reuse Plan and Devens By-Laws made as part of the Disposition process.
The North Post was the last area to be studied as part of the 1994 Reuse Plan and therefore did not receive the detailed analysis the Main Post did. The DEC supported additional research on environmental resources within the North Post area, including funding a vernal pool study and supporting ACEC designation for this area after the initial five year review. Additional environmental studies conducted by Hyla Associates as part of the revised Reuse Plan (2006), along with proposed rezoning as part of the disposition process, addressed many of the concerns that surfaced in the DEC's 2000 report.
"DEC and community members worry that the 282 housing units established in the reuse plan and Devens By-laws is an inflexible number. The housing glut which led to a restriction on the number of units to be developed at Devens in the early 1990s has passed. Perhaps the housing cap should be revisited." These words from the DEC's 2000 report remain relevant as of the date of this report (December 2006). The need for additional housing to address the state's continued viability in the arena of economic development was front and center as one of the main thrusts of the draft Reuse Plan (2006) and draft Devens By-Laws (2006). The draft Reuse Plan contemplated creating a new urbanist type development adding up to 1800 units of housing within the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone, as well as the creation of a new town. While the status of a new town under "Scenario 2B"was decided at the ballot box, the need for additional housing remains a constant.
Buffering and border issues/interrelationship between lots (i.e. site plan of lot versus contextual site planning).
The DEC identified this as an issue during our 2000 report. Our regulations tended to address projects on a lot by lot basis, rather than their entire context. The DEC clarified these issues through subsequent revisions to its Regulations.
Sustainability is the basis for Devens' redevelopment.
The DEC has launched a holistic effort to integrate sustainable development into all aspects of the Devens redevelopment effort. This included revisions to our regulations asking firms to explicitly state how they will be sustainable during their tenure at Devens, hosting an Eco-Industrial Development Roundtable to solicit ideas from practitioners from around the world as to how Devens could best integrate the principles of industrial symbiosis into its redevelopment efforts, and the launching of our award winning EcoStar voluntary environmental achievement and recognition program. These efforts continue to receive award-winning public recognition, including the 2005 State Agency Sustainability Award and the 2006 Worcester Business Journal/Mass Audubon Public Private Initiative Environmental Award. The EcoStar program also continues to be supported by funding from both public and private sources such as the Intel Foundation, State DEP Solid Waste Program and the Jesse B. Cox Charitable Trust. The Disposition process reiterated that sustainable development should remain the central tenet of the redevelopment effort. Both the existing 1994 Reuse Plan and the proposed draft 2006 Reuse Plan specifically call for support of the DEC's sustainable development efforts.
The DEC actively participated in the recent three year Disposition effort which was originally called for by the Joint Boards of Selectmen as a recommendation coming out of their initial five year review process. The DEC voted to support the 2B disposition scenario.
Looking back and learning from the failures and successes of the disposition process is something the DEC will continue to work on in the coming year. A timely solution to this issue is of interest to the Commission and the Region as a whole. Additional workforce housing that is affordable to a wide range of Massachusetts residents and supports the economic growth of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone, remains an unmet need at Devens. With the infrastructure in place to support and accommodate additional growth, Devens is capable of providing more than the 282 housing units it is limited to by the current (1994) Devens By-Laws and Reuse Plan. Building on one of the guiding principles of redevelopment at Devens, the remaining 176 units could be used to showcase sustainable and smart growth strategies for residential development at Devens, while helping to meet the housing needs of the region and state. The remaining housing units could also be used to demonstrate how comprehensive compact growth can work well for Devens and the region.. Maintaining the momentum of our sustainable development efforts such as EcoStar and the work to increase the efficiency and viability of the commuter rail through our chairing of the Fitchburg Line Working Group will remain a focus of DEC staff activity as the next five year period unrolls. Building on our successes with Bristol-Myer Squibb and maintaining our stellar track record of unified permitting will always remain job one for the Commission.
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