October 1st Information &
Resource Update
Governor Signs Legislation Extending Emergency Paid Sick Leave

The Governor on Wednesday signed into law H. 4127, “An Act extending COVID-19 Massachusetts emergency paid sick leave." The bill, designed to extend the COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave that was set to expire on September 30th, had previously passed both the House and Senate on September 27th. H.4127 extends COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave until April 2022, or until applications for sick leave totaling $60 million have been submitted to the Executive Office for Administration and Finance to employers.

Importantly, H.4127 also expands the eligibility for COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave. Any person who is “obtaining an immunization related to COVID-19 or is recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to such immunization” is now eligible for COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave. The change in eligibility will go into effect on October 1st, 2021.

H.4127 also sets aside $500,000 to establish a public information campaign. The purpose of this campaign is “to educate and promote awareness to the public, including, but not limited to, employees and employers about availability of the COVID-19 Massachusetts emergency paid sick leave." Click here to access the legislative history and full text of the legislation.
Outdoor Dining & Retail Toolkit

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has published a toolkit for communities seeking to assist local business owners in creating outdoor dining and retail options. The toolkit was prepared by CivicMoxie, and was made possible through technical assistance provided by the state's Local Rapid Recovery Planning Program.

As COVID-19 prompted many communities to act quickly to create and enable outdoor commercial spaces, often through the assistance of the Shared Streets and Spaces program, many businesses and communities now seek to make permanent the temporary outdoor dining and retail options that have sprouted up in their commercial areas. The toolkit is designed to respond to that need, and covers three critical topic areas:
  • Guidance to Cities & Towns: The toolkit provides guidance to municipalities on writing and passing bylaws and ordinances to make outdoor dining and/or retail permanent; streamlining permitting/ licensing; creating design and material standards, etc.
  • Guidance for Businesses: The toolkit provides space guidelines for setting up socially distanced dining in a standard parking space; information on ADA requirements; suggestions or requirements on materials to be used, etc.
  • Template for Local Guide for Businesses: The toolkit contains a template/ suggested outline for cities and towns looking to prepare complete guidance for local businesses on utilizing outdoor dining and retail space.

The toolkit includes information on accessibility considerations; the template materials created for municipalities include information on the requirements of the rules and regulations of the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB), Massachusetts’ state building code 521 CMR, that addresses architectural accessibility in the built environment. It will also reference anti-discrimination obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its associated Architectural Design Standards (ADADS). Click here to download the complete 89-page PDF guide.
Boston Region MPO Seeking Comment on TIP Policy Changes

In the spring of 2021, the Boston Region MPO board voted to create an Ad Hoc Committee to explore the ongoing issue of cost increases for programmed Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) projects. The committee met six times, ultimately voting to recommend a set of policies to the full MPO board. This fact sheet outlines the resulting proposed policy changes to the TIP process. This proposal is available in a more detailed format in a memo, accessible here, submitted to the MPO board for consideration.

The MPO is currently accepting feedback on these proposed policies. Written feedback may be provided through the MPO’s online feedback form or via email to Matt Genova, TIP Manager, at mgenova@ctps.org. Input is also welcome at an open house on October 14th and at the MPO meeting on Thursday, October 7th, at 10:00 AM. The public comment period will close at 5:00 PM on Monday, October 18th. The MPO expects to vote to endorse the new policies at its meeting on November 4th. 

The TIP is the five-year rolling capital plan for the 97 cities and towns in the Boston Region MPO's planning area, including 27 in the 495/MetroWest Partnership's service area. The TIP documents all the transportation projects receiving federal funding in the region over the next five years. This includes projects funded with the specific pot of federal money the MPO has direct discretion over, called Regional Target funds, and projects pursued with federal transportation dollars by MassDOT, the MBTA, the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA), and the Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA).  

495/MetroWest Partnership communities that are served by the Boston Region MPO are Acton, Ashland, Bellingham, Bolton, Boxborough, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Norfolk, Sherborn, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, and Wrentham.
Upcoming 495/MetroWest Partnership Events

All Partnership events and committee meetings are being held virtually, via Zoom, at present. Committee meetings are open to all interested persons with advance registration.

Upcoming Events:

  • Transportation Committee Meeting October 14th: The Transportation Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will meet virtually on Thursday, October 14th at 8:30 AM. Click here to register for the meeting. The agenda will include a presentation from the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization regarding their Long Range Transportation Plan (LTRP) development process, an overview from the Regional Transit Authority Advocacy Coalition (RTAAC) on their proposed RTA Advancement bill, and a brief presentation from GATRA on two new demand-response services which between them will serve Foxborough, Franklin, Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham. This meeting will take place virtually via Zoom; click here to register.

  • Water Resources Committee Meeting with Congresswoman Trahan November 4th: The Water Resources Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will host Congresswoman Lori Trahan of Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District virtually on Thursday, November 4th at 10:00 AM; click here to register. The Congresswoman will discuss her work on the House Energy & Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, as well as comprehensive PFAS legislation recently passed by the House. Congresswoman Trahan has served since in the House since 2019, and represents the 495/MetroWest Partnership communities of Acton, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury, and Westford. This event will be hosted virtually via Zoom; advance registration is required. Click here to register.

To view all upcoming events or view recordings of past virtual events, visit the "Events & Committee Meetings" section of our website 495Partnership.org.
Investor Spotlight: Mirick O'Connell

Throughout 2021, the 495/MetroWest Partnership is acknowledging our Investors in our Information & Resource Updates. Click here to learn about becoming an Investor!
Founded in 1916, Mirick O’Connell is a full-service, regional law firm. Our firm has over 60 attorneys and offices in Westborough, Worcester, and Boston. Our practice areas include Business; Construction Law; Creditors’ Rights, Bankruptcy and Reorganization; Family Law and Divorce; Health Law; Intellectual Property; Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits; Litigation; Personal Injury; Public and Municipal Law; Real Estate and Environmental Law; and, Trusts and Estates. We strive for excellence in all that we do, while never losing sight of our first priority – our clients. Learn more about how Mirick O’Connell attorneys can assist you with all of your business and personal legal needs at www.mirickoconnell.com.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership thanks Mirick O'Connell for their SUPPORTER level Investment! Check out our full list of Investors online at 495Partnership.org.
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 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.