August 22nd Information & Resource Update

In this issue....

  • 495/MetroWest Partnership Roadway Projects Working Group Meeting September 12th

  • Grant Funding to Help Small Businesses Increase Export Sales

  • State Announces Updates to Compliance Guidelines for Multi-Family Zoning Districts Under MBTA Communities Law

  • Mass. Life Sciences Center Launches 4th Round of Angel Investor Tax Credit Program

  • Small Business Financial Empowerment Webinar Series

  • Public Comment on State Economic Development Plan

495/MetroWest Partnership Roadway Projects Working Group

Meeting September 12th

In accordance with our organization’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, the 495/MetroWest Partnership's Transportation Committee is establishing working groups for the purpose of reviewing and updating regional priorities on the key transportation topics of regional significance. Working groups on Commuter Rail and Regional Transit Authority service have already completed their work. The Roadway Projects Working Group will hold its first session virtually on Tuesday, September 12th, at 8:30 AM. The Roadway Projects Working Group is charged with identifying significant roadway infrastructure needs facing our region, with a focus on where roadway issues are impeding economic activity and quality of life in the region. 

Participants will receive an update on past major roadway initiatives the Partnership has advocated for and be invited to offer their views on current traffic bottlenecks, high-crash/ high-accident intersections and interchanges, or deteriorating infrastructure that causes backups or safety issues in the region. Please note that the Working Group will seek to identify roadway projects of regional significance, and not of relevance only to a single municipality.

Participation in the Working Group is open to all interested 495/MetroWest Partnership stakeholders. The Working Group will meet virtually via Zoom; click here to register.

Grant Funding to Help Small Businesses Increase Export Sales

A webinar outlining eligibility and application requirements for the Massachusetts State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant program will be held on September 20th. The STEP program was created by the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOTI), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDC) and the Massachusetts Export Center. The program is intended to provide funding for eligible small businesses to increase export sales of their respective goods and services.

To be considered eligible for the program funding, a business must meet the definition of an "eligible small business concern" under Section 503 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015; click here to view the official definition. In addition, the business must meet U.S. content requirements (click here to review).

On Wednesday, September 20th, the program will be offering a free webinar to interested businesses; click here to register and for more information. The STEP Grant application deadline is Saturday, September 30th at 5:00 PM. The program encourages interested businesses to participate in the webinar; no advantages are awarded to early applicants. 

The Massachusetts Export Center maintains an online question form to which questions may be submitted, which can be found here.  

State Announces Updates to Compliance Guidelines for Multi-Family Zoning Districts Under MBTA Communities Law

On August 17th, The Executive Office of Housing & Livable Communities (EOHLC) released revisions to the Compliance Guidelines for Multi-Family Zoning Districts Under Section 3A of the Zoning Act, also known as the MBTA Communities Law. In response to feedback from municipal leaders in several MBTA communities, EOHLC revised the Guidelines to offer MBTA communities a path to receive some credit for mixed-use development zoning districts. The revision also specifies how Section 3A compliance may affect certain discretionary grant award decisions.

The impact of these revisions is as follows:

  • Allows an MBTA community to “offset” the minimum multi-family unit capacity requirement in certain multi-family zoning district(s) by up to 25%, based on the unit capacity of a mixed-use zoning district that meets key requirements of Section 3A and the Guidelines, but for requiring a ground floor non-residential component. Such “offset” – only available where existing village-style or downtown development is essential to preserve pedestrian access to amenities – still requires a municipality to demonstrate the same total amount of unit capacity. 

  • Protects the financial feasibility of achieving housing goals where mixed-use zoning requires ground-floor non-residential uses by (i) setting forth location criteria for mixed-use development districts and requiring that EOHLC has pre-approved the location before the MBTA community’s vote on its zoning changes; (ii) capping the percentage floor area of each development that may be required to be non-residential (ground floor only); (iii) requiring a broad mix of non-residential uses allowed as of right; and (iv) prohibiting minimum parking requirements for non-residential uses. 

  • Allows MBTA communities to locate more housing in walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods without jeopardizing existing non-residential resources and amenities. Many MBTA communities expressed a desire to locate districts in village-style or downtown neighborhoods but feared that allowing multi-family housing as of right in those areas could risk a loss of existing businesses and buildings. Many residents expressed a desire to live in village-style, downtown, and transit-oriented neighborhoods. 

  • Adds a list of thirteen discretionary grant programs to Section 9 to alert MBTA communities of additional grant programs that will consider compliance with Section 3A in making grant awards:

  1. Community Planning Grants (EOHLC)
  2. Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (EOED)
  3. Urban Agenda (EOED)
  4. Rural and Small Town Development Fund (EOED)
  5. Brownfields Redevelopment Fund (MassDevelopment)
  6. Site Readiness Program (MassDevelopment)
  7. Underutilized Properties Program (MassDevelopment)
  8. Collaborative Workspace Program (MassDevelopment)
  9. Real Estate Services Technical Assistance (MassDevelopment)
  10. Commonwealth Places Programs (MassDevelopment)
  11. Land Use Planning Grants (EOEEA)
  12. Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity Grants (EOEEA)
  13. Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning and Project Grants (EOEEA)

The revisions do not reduce the total unit capacity required by the Guidelines.

Mass. Life Sciences Center Launches 4th Round of

Angel Investor Tax Credit Program

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) Angel Investor Tax Credit program is offered to investors interested in funding early-stage companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing in Massachusetts. The program provides a taxpayer investor a credit of 20% of the qualifying investment, or 30% if the business is located in a gateway municipality, in a business that has no more than $500,000 in gross revenues in the year prior to eligibility.

Credits are available up to $50,000 in any one taxable year for qualifying investments of up to $125,000 per qualifying business per year and up to $250,000 in cumulative qualifying investments for each qualifying business.

The deadline for submission of applications for qualifying investments made during calendar year 2023 is January 16th, 2024. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If a business wishes to apply for early qualification as a Qualifying Business for the 2023 program, the deadline to submit their application is September 15th, 2023 at 5:00 PM. 

Requirements for the program include:

  • Taxpayer Investors must be “accredited” as defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and may not be a principal owner of the business or involved in a full-time professional capacity.
  • Qualifying business must be registered to do business in Massachusetts, have 20 or fewer full-time employees at the time of the investment, and have $500,000 or less in gross revenues in the year prior to eligibility.
  • A qualifying investment is a monetary investment that is at risk and is not secured or guaranteed.

Click here for more information regarding the program.


Click here for the 2023 Angel Investor Tax Credit Program Angel Investor Application.


Click here for the 2023 Angel Investor Tax Credit Program Company Application.

Small Business Financial Empowerment Webinar Series

Over the course of four weeks, Citizens Bank and the Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General will be hosting four public webinars in which small businesses can learn practical financial skills. Interested parties can attend all four sessions or choose the meeting(s) that best suit their needs and the needs of their business.

The webinar series will be held weekly on four consecutive Wednesdays from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM beginning September 13th:

  • Sept. 13: Creating a Business Strategy
  • Sept. 20: Business Operations
  • Sept. 27: Financial Management
  • October 4: Communicating Your Business

Click here to register for the webinar series. There is no cost to attend the webinars. Click here to access a downloadable flyer for the program.

Public Comment on State Economic Development Plan

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED) is continuing its work developing the Commonwealth’s economic development plan. The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced that more than 1,300 residents have engaged in this process so far. The administration is encouraging the public to continue providing them with feedback, ideas, and suggestions for the state's economic development plan through their online feedback form.  

More information on the Economic Development Planning Process can be found on the EOED Webpage.  

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.
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