The following is a guest post from Mark Racicot, Land Use Division Manager for Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)
Last year, a coalition led by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council of Boston was awarded a $4 million grant through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program (part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities). The MetroFuture Regional Plan, a groundbreaking initiative, is designed to strengthen the economy, create jobs, increase transportation options, and improve quality of life for area residents.
Residents of the Town of Littleton, Mass., have already seen the major impact this funding can have on a community. A few weeks ago, Littleton residents voted to amend the uses allowed on active farms in residential districts and protect the future of their farming economy. As one component of the larger MetroFuture plan, Littleton used Sustainable Communities funding to protect agricultural land and will use additional funds to look at wastewater treatment programs and development in the village.
Keith Bergman, Littleton Town Administrator, said, “Littleton is committed to economic development consistent with community character. We’re host to IBM’s largest software development lab in North America, but we’re also a rural community with a rich agricultural tradition, active farms, and even a town-owned orchard. We want to help our farmers keep their land in agricultural uses by expanding ancillary uses, so we’re big on green, as well as Big Blue.”