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Stoughton Downtown Redevelopment Plan Background Information 

The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority (SRA) began the process of creating a redevelopment plan for Downtown Stoughton in 2014. The intent at that time was to develop an Urban Renewal Plan (URP) for Downtown Stoughton under M.G.L. Chapter 121B. Although the SRA assembled a Citizen Advisory Group (CAG) comprised of Stoughton residents in 2014 to provide their input during the planning process, no specific project gained the consensus of the community and elected officials. As a result, an URP was not implemented at that time.

Chronology

April 2014: The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority (SRA) issued an RFP for an Urban Renewal Plan and received two (2) responses.

June 2014: The SRA selected the Harriman Group to develop the Urban Renewal Plan.

 

July 2014 - April 2015: The Existing Conditions report was completed and the SRA worked with Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) to define the boundary of the Plan.

 

April 2015 - Fall 2015: The SRA was unable to convene meetings with the Planning Board and Select Board to explore the selection of a specific project or set of proposals that would be the basis for an Urban Renewal Plan (URP). The MA Department of Housing and Community (DHCD) reviewed the Draft URP and found the boundary area acceptable but without a specific set of actions determined it to be a good start but was not a complete Plan.  DHCD offered some suggestions for moving forward and provided examples.

Fall 2015 - Summer 2016: The SRA conducted Public Forums and prepared conceptual redevelopment scenarios for four (4) sites, which were being discussed as part of the Town of Stoughton’s Master Plan.

  1. Freeman Street Fire Station

  2. Freeman Street Parking Lot

  3. Rose Street Police Station

  4. Post Office/Depot Block

January 2017: The Draft SDRP was presented to the Select Board. 

2020: BSC Group was selected by the SRA to produce an Urban Renewal Plan for the Stoughton Downtown area. The effort involves the collaboration of the town Select Board, Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, Stoughton Planning Board, Citizen Advisory Group, and other stakeholders. Guided by past renovations and projects, this effort will further Stoughton’s vision of a downtown that supports diversity, fosters inclusiveness, and stimulates economic growth. 

2020 - 2021: The URP project was placed on hold until the Planning Board and the Select Board finalized the rezoning process for Downtown Stoughton. 

 

Winter 2021/2022: The SRA was informed that the rezoning process would be finalized during the first quarter of 2022. As a result, the URP project was reinvigorated. 

Why does Stoughton need an Urban Renewal Plan?

With an approved URP, the SRA will have the ability to:

  • Conduct urban renewal actions in Stoughton Center.

  • Establish rehabilitation and design standards.

  • Acquire real estate, including acquisition by utilizing a friendly eminent domain process.

  • Demolish and/or rehabilitate structures.

  • Undertake site preparation and environmental remediation.

  • Assemble and dispose of land for private development.

  • Relocate displaced businesses and residents if necessary.

  • Issue bonds and borrow money.

  • Receive grants and loans.

 

Benefits to Community

  • Creates new local jobs – temporary and permanent – and keeps earnings local.

  • Establishes an environment that fosters growth in new businesses.

  • Promotes the introduction of new housing products and offers resources for reinvestment in established neighborhoods.

  • Eliminates hazards and conditions that undermine the integrity and safety of the community.

  • Stems the decline of property values and correspondingly the revenues of the municipality and other taxing entities.

  • Provides upgraded and needed infrastructure for future growth.

  • Supports local historic preservation efforts.

 

Municipal Government Benefits

  • Increases tax revenues from new businesses, consumer purchases and property taxes.

  • Keeps sales tax dollars local for use within the urban renewal area or community at-large.

  • Only method of financing capital improvements that does not require an increase in taxes.

  • Contains costs associated with the provision of government services by using existing infrastructure in a more fiscally responsible way.

  • Encourages in-fill rather than fringe development, resulting in a more efficient use of land and lower municipal capital costs.

  • More effectively leverages transit improvements, correspondingly lowers regional infrastructure cost.

  • Identifies capital improvements needed to stabilize existing areas and encourage reinvestment.

  • Makes development within municipalities more cost-effective than sprawl development outside.

 

What additional economic tools does the town gain?

  • When redevelopment can’t be accomplished with existing towns regulatory powers or by the private sector alone. Urban renewal agencies have broad powers to plan and implement activities needed to address the conditions contributing to the disinvestment that leads to substandard, decadent, and blighted open areas.  

  • The preparation of an Urban Renewal Plan is necessary for an urban renewal agency to undertake certain actions, including the negotiated sale of private property, and the disposition of property to another private entity for redevelopment.  Urban renewal agencies are also exempt from M.G.L. Chapter 30B, the Uniform Procurement Act, when the acquisition and disposition of real property is undertaken in accordance with an approved Urban Renewal Plan.

  • Complementary to the Zoning process, creating for more amenable development scenarios for private development.

 

What’s the process?

To approve a proposed Urban Renewal Plan, the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) must determine that:

  • Without public action, the project/site would not be developed.

  • Project will promote desired private investment.

  • Plan for financing the project is sound.

  • Project area is a substandard, decadent, and/or blighted open area.

  • Urban Renewal Plan submission is complete.

  • Urban Renewal Plan includes a Relocation Plan, as appropriate. 

  • Urban Renewal Plan Must be reviewed by the Stoughton Planning Board.

  • Urban Renewal Plan must be approved by local government (BOS).

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