SRPEDD Presents Priority Areas

            On June 3, the Mattapoisett Planning Board heard from Maria Jones, Engagement and Communications planner for the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). The agency has been working on a study of priority natural resources as well as economic development potential of the Southeastern Massachusetts and South Coast Rail Corridor.

            Jones said the project that began in 2008 is now ready for review by communities along the corridor. She explained that a PDA (or Priority Development Area) is a place where new development growth might be feasible, a place that could meet regional needs and has good transportation potential.

            A PPA (or Priority Protection Area) was identified as an area important to protect, significant for natural or cultural resources and containing habitats, water resources, historic resources and farms.

            Much of the identified PDA and PPA areas had been previously identified when SRPEDD, over time, met with the former Town Administrator Mike Gagne and others to scope out such areas. On this night, Jones noted that little had changed. By 2013, boundaries based on data had been established. Continued refining of boundaries have since taken place with the aid of modern civic engagement and exploration of key sites.

            Jones said that PDA designations help communities to coordinate local plans and win competitive grants. The benefits of a PPA designation aid communities in coordinating local conservation efforts and, again, win competitive grants.

            The draft report being kicked off now will include working sessions to be scheduled in the winter of 2024. The draft report notes PDA-updated boundaries as minor along Industrial Drive, an expanded PDA due to the bike path, possible water resource at Tinkham Hill, identification of a sand pit behind Old Hammondtown School and a redesignation of the Holy Ghost Grounds. One PPA has been dropped, being that it is now part of a Mattapoisett Land Trust trailhead, Jones reported.

            Before moving on to other business, member William Wennerberg asked if SRPEDD could assist the town with crafting zoning bylaws, a measure the board is now contemplating as it looks at ways to increase housing units. Jones responded that she would inquire and let the town know. Wennerberg offered to step in as the board’s representative in this matter. All members were in agreement.

            Earlier, the board approved certificates of approval to David Duchaine, Ocean Drive, and to Phillip Frost, 112 Mattapoisett Neck Road; both property owners had presented subdivision plans at previous meetings.

            The board also reappointed Janice Robbins as its representative to SRPEDD Regional Commission.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, June 17, at 7:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell

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