March 19th Information & Resource Update

In this issue....

  • 495/MetroWest Partnership State House Day: April 24th

  • THIS WEEK: 495/MetroWest Partnership & NAIOP to Co-Host EPA Informational Session on RDA Permit Design Process

  • Bill Summary: Governor's Economic Development Bill

  • DOER to Host Listening Session on Stretch Energy Code

  • Support for Municipalities in Planning to Redevelop Underutilized Properties into Housing

  • 495/MetroWest Partnership to Host EV Charging Capacity Discussion

  • Town of Westborough Seeking Downtown Feedback

  • Job Posting: Foxborough Director of Land Use & Economic Development

495/MetroWest Partnership State House Day: April 24th

The 495/MetroWest Partnership cordially invites you to attend our annual State House Day event on April 24th, 2024, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

495/MetroWest State House Day

with Senate President Karen E. Spilka

and members of the 495/MetroWest Delegation

Wednesday, April 24th,11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

at the Massachusetts State House

Register for State House Day

This event is an annual opportunity created by the Partnership for our stakeholders to interact with members of our region’s legislative delegation, hear about their priorities, and ask questions or offer feedback relevant to your business, organization, or community.

Advance registration is required for this event; click here or the link above to register. Additional details including access and parking information will be provided to registrants during the week prior to the event. 

THIS WEEK: 495/MetroWest Partnership & NAIOP to Co-Host EPA Informational Session on RDA Permit Design Process

NAIOP and the 495/MetroWest Partnership will co-host an informational session with staff from the Region 1 office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this Friday. During the session, the EPA will provide updates on the draft Residual Designation Authority Permit (sometimes referred to as an “RDA permit”) that it will issue for comment later this year. This session will be hosted virtually this Friday, March 22nd from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM; click here to register.  

The RDA permit will require private commercial, industrial, and institutional properties with one or more acres of impervious surface in the Charles, Mystic, and Neponset River Watersheds to control their stormwater run-off in order to reduce pollutants, such as nutrients and bacteria, from entering the watersheds. While the EPA will not be in a position to discuss specific permit conditions during this session, feedback on implementation considerations, suggestions for stakeholder outreach and potential stormwater management strategies that participants would like to share are welcome and encouraged.

Note that for those unable to attend, the slides will be posted on the EPA and 495/MetroWest Partnership websites. All members of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments about this permitting matter when EPA starts the formal permitting process by releasing its draft permit. In making its final permit decisions, EPA considers all comments that it receives and will issue a response to significant comments prior to issuing a final permit. EPA will post information about that process on its website and in the Federal Register when the draft permit is issued, which is anticipated for later this year.

Bill Summary: Governor's Economic Development Bill

On March 1st, Governor Healey filed An Act Relative to Strengthening Massachusetts’ Economic Leadership Act, also called the "Mass Leads Act," an economic development bond bill. The legislation is intended to help in implementing objectives outlined in the administration’s economic development plan.

The bill includes $2.8 billion in bond authorizations and $750 million in tax-related programs for a total package of $3.5 billion. The proposal is focused on three priority areas: Fundamentals, Talent, and Sectors

What follows is a partial summary of the legislation; please note the summary that follows does not address all components of the legislation. 


Capital Authorizations

  • $400 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program
  • $250 million for Mass Impact for authorization to support large-scale projects
  • $100 million for Local Economic Development Grants to support economic development in cities and towns
  • $90 million for the Underutilized Property Program to support the redevelopment of underutilized, blighted, or abandoned buildings
  • $30 million for the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund
  • $3 million for Site Readiness projects

Policy Provisions

  • Updates and improvements to M.G.L. ch. 43D relative to expedited permitting
  • Elimination of the interagency permitting board and consolidation of its functions within the permit regulatory office at the Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED). 
  • Reforms to the existing permitting landscape with the Permit Extension Act and technical clarifications relative to municipal permitting safeguards for special permits and site plan review.

Development at Fort Devens

There are three outside sections pertaining to the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone: 

  1. Eliminates the cap on the number of square feet of commercial and industrial development that can occur at Devens
  2. Eliminates the cap on the number of residential units that can be developed at Devens
  3. Requires the EOED and Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) secretaries to convene a working group within 30 days after the effective date to determine a strategy for future development within Devens. 


Capital Authorizations

  • $85 million for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Agency (MEFA)

Policy Provisions

  • This bill establishes a new statewide internship tax credit program that would reward companies for taking on interns from Massachusetts-based colleges. This $10 million per year pilot program would provide an incentive of $5,000 or 50% of wages paid, whichever is less, per intern from an MA-based college with a maximum cap of $100,000 for employers. To be eligible, employers must demonstrate that that the number of interns employed for the tax credit year exceeds the average number of interns employed over the previous three years, to ensure the incentive is pushing companies to create expanded opportunities.
  • This legislation includes modifications to the Workforce Investment Trust Fund, which was established in 2022 as part of the sports betting law. These amendments will ensure that the newly available resource can be maximized for workforce initiatives, pursuant to the Legislature’s original intent.
  • Pathway for Foreign-Trained Physicians: This provision will create a pathway in Massachusetts for physicians previously authorized to practice medicine outside the United States. The proposed legislation would include one year of mentored limited licensure, followed by a period of geographically restricted licensure to practice in an underserved region of the Commonwealth



  • $200 million for the Clean Energy Investments Fund
  • Climatetech Tax Incentive Program: A new incentive tool to support climatetech companies in Massachusetts. These financial incentives would be awarded on a competitive basis for qualifying climatetech businesses, based on the anticipated benefit to the state. This program is subject to an annual statutory cap of $30 million. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) will administer the program, in consultation with the Department of Revenue.

Life Sciences

  • Life Sciences Tax Incentive Program: This bill will increase the statutory cap from $30 million to $50 million and extend the program through 2033.
  • $500 million for the Life Sciences Capital Fund to support the reauthorization of the Life Sciences Initiative with capital resources.
  • This bill will incorporate additional considerations for new priority areas for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Breakthrough Fund, such as health equity, biomanufacturing, and medical technologies.

Business Competitiveness

  • $99 million for Advanced Manufacturing for grants to support advanced manufacturing initiatives through Mass Tech Collaborative (MTC).
  • $95 million for the R&D Matching Grant Fund for capital investments in research and development projects that leverage collaboration between higher education, research institutions, and industry to bolster the state’s innovation economy through MTC.
  • $75 million for the Massachusetts TechHub to establish a new program in Massachusetts for investment in key technology areas, modeled on the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Technology and Innovation (Tech Hubs) Program.
  • $25 million for the Business Builds Capital Program for a grant program to support business improvements, such as energy efficiency. 
  • $25 million for Small Business Technology Grants

The legislation must be taken up by each branch before returning to the Governor for her signature or veto. Note that inclusion in a bond bill, when signed into law, does not mean an item or project is imminently due to be funded, only that the administration has the authorization necessary to borrow the funds and utilize those funds for the designated purpose.

DOER to Host Listening Session on Stretch Energy Code

On March 27th at 2:00 PM, the Massachusetts Department of Energy (DOER) will host a listening session on its Stretch Energy Code and Specialized Municipal Opt-in Code.

The most recent version of the Residential Stretch Energy code has been in place since January 1st, 2023, and the Commercial Stretch Energy code has been in place since July 1st, 2023. The Specialized Energy code has been available for local adoption since December 2022, and to date has been adopted by 33 cities and towns. DOER is seeking public feedback from users of these building energy codes. Participants will be allotted 3 minutes each for their comments. The listening session will remain open until all comments are heard or until 5:00 PM. DOER requests that interested parties register in advance for the webinar using this link.

DOER is also accepting written comments on these building energy codes. Written comments may be submitted to [email protected] with the words “CODE COMMENTS” in the subject line. Written comments can also be sent via mail to Ian Finlayson, Department of Energy Resources, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1020, Boston, MA 02114. Written comments must be submitted by April 3rd, 2024, at 5:00 PM.

Support for Municipalities in Planning to Redevelop

Underutilized Properties into Housing

On March 15th, the Healey administration announced the launch of the Commercial Conversion Initiative, with the intent to accelerate housing production by transforming vacant and underutilized properties by providing municipalities with planning services.

MassHousing is being tasked with leading the program, and they will help cities and towns outside of Boston in advancing the redevelopment of underutilized commercial properties by providing planning services. MassHousing will also position properties to take advantage of new capital funding proposed under the administration’s Affordable Homes Act. The program will work directly with participating municipalities to identify the best candidates for commercial-to-housing conversions. This includes conducting floor plan and feasibility analyses for buildings well-positioned for the program and lowering regulatory barriers for redevelopment. This program aims to identify sites that are development-ready and are poised to take advantage of the program’s funding.

Massachusetts municipalities with downtown areas containing potential commercial-to-residential conversion projects are eligible to apply. In order to apply, municipalities must have a downtown area that features three or more commercial buildings of at least three stories, located in close proximity to other active uses, and with pedestrian access to local amenities. Up to $1 million in planning funds has been allocated by MassHousing for technical assistance funding under the program. The technical assistance services are reserved for downtown buildings of at least three stories, in which uses above the ground floor are being used as commercial space. 

MassHousing will be hosting a virtual information session on Tuesday, March 26th at 11:00 AM; click here to register for the information session. To access the application itself, click here.

495/MetroWest Partnership to Host EV Charging Capacity Discussion

The Energy and Sustainable Development Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will host a conversation focused on expanding electric vehicle (EV) charging capacity in our region. The event will begin with an overview of the current availability of EV charging in our region, and will include a presentation from the Massachusetts EVIP program, which helps property owners and managers with publicly accessible parking acquire EV charging stations. This conversation will be hosted virtually on Thursday, April 4th at 9:00 AM; click here to register

Pulling data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, the 495/MetroWest Partnership has created an interactive map of all public and private electric vehicle charging stations in our service area as of January 2024.

Town of Westborough Seeking Downtown Feedback

Through April 9th, the Town of Westborough is hosting a Downtown "Scavenger Hunt." The purpose of this scavenger hunt is to elicit feedback as the town begins the process of creating a Downtown Plan to reimagine what its Downtown could be like in the future. The interactive 1.2-mile-long route allows participants to explore the town center and contribute to its revival. By completing the survey, participants will be entered into a raffle for the chance of winning a small gift basket.

Following the completion of the scavenger hunt, the Town of Westborough will be hosting its first public workshop for its Downtown Plan. This workshop will take place on April 9th, from 6-8 PM at 45 West Main Street in the Forbes Building’s Great Hall.

Job Posting: Foxborough Director of Land Use

and Economic Development

The 495/MetroWest Partnership includes job postings at the request of a municipality; please contact Executive Director Jason Palitsch at [email protected] to request inclusion of a municipal job posting in a future Information and Resource Update.

The Town of Foxborough is seeking candidates for the position of Director of Land Use and Economic Development. The Director of Land Use and Economic Development acts as the Chief Operating Officer for the Land Use Department (Planning, Inspections, Conservation, and Zoning Board of Appeals) of the Town of Foxborough.

This position performs highly responsible, professional, and administrative work while exercising considerable independent judgment relating to land use and the corresponding environmental and economic development issues. This position may also receive requests from Land Use and Economic Development-related Boards and Committees as needed. The Director provides professional, technical, administrative, and supervisory work in organizing and coordinating the Foxborough Land Use Departments. This includes long-range planning; grant writing; project review processes in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws and environmental regulations; interpreting local zoning and local regulatory bylaws of the town; and following all other applicable rules and regulations such as the Massachusetts Building Code. The Director is responsible for carrying out a wide range of research and representational activities requiring good judgment, analytical ability, diplomacy, and confidentiality.

The ideal candidate should have the following qualifications: Master’s degree in planning, public policy, or related field and ten years of progressively responsible experience in planning or land use with municipal experience being preferred. The salary range for this full-time position is $11,937-$123,588; starting salary commensurate with qualifications and experience. Click here to access the complete posting along with application information.

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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