March Newsletter

What is your favorite historic building in your community?

Residents of New England know that no matter what town you live in, there is usually a great wealth of historic resources. During our recent historic inventory work in Arlington, North Adams, and Hanson, we’re reflecting more and more on the deep history of communities in this region and thinking about resources in our own neighborhoods. For this feature, we’ve chosen our favorite historic buildings or places to highlight that are in our neighborhoods.

 Interior of the auditorium on the third floor of the Masonic Building in Roslindale

Interior of the auditorium on the third floor of the Masonic Building in Roslindale

One of Jennifer's favorite historic resources in her hometown - the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston - is the Masonic Building on Belgrade Ave. It is a traditional mixed-use commercial and residential brick and masonry building that was originally built in 1899 and expanded in 1921 with a third floor addition. The Roslindale Masonic Building Association added the third floor to the building to create an elegant auditorium, which is where the late Fenwick Smith (Boston Symphony flutist) created a premier recording studio that is nicknamed "The Sonic Temple." 

 Facade of the Durant-Kenrick House in Newton

Facade of the Durant-Kenrick House in Newton

Lara’s pick for a hometown favorite historic building is the Durant-Kenrick house in Newton. It’s an amazing ca.1700s time capsule located in the center of a neighborhood. The family used it as a summer home into the early twentieth century, but never updated it so it’s all still there – all the original finishes and details, amazing murals, and early furniture. The building is a real treasure for a history buff, and a rare find. The family still owned it in the early 2000s, and Community Preservation Act funds helped the town to purchase and preserve it – including restoring its original paint colors.

Jamie moved to the Central Square neighborhood of Cambridge last year, and one of the places she found refuge in around the busy area was the Cambridge Public Library. The original building was constructed in 1887 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In 2009, an addition and renovation took place, nearly quadrupling the size of the library and creating what we now know as the CPL – a landmark public building that maintains its historic roots while creating a large, open space welcome to the whole community.

 Cambridge Public Library

Cambridge Public Library

These buildings are just a few of the many historic buildings in these neighborhoods and we’re glad to call these places - so rich in history - our homes!

What else is JM Goldson up to?

Sharon Master Plan

JM Goldson is working with Civic Moxie in Sharon to write the Master Plan for the town, focusing specifically on the housing and historic and cultural resources sections. The kick off meeting was in the end of March, and we’re excited to get started!

Acton Housing and Economic Development

In Acton, we’re happy to be working again with Barrett Planning Group LLC to help the town develop a Housing and Economic Development Implementation Program. This project will kick off in April, and CHAPA will be involved in the public engagement component.

North Andover Public Engagement

On March 15th, the town held a second community forum to solicit community feedback on the draft vision, goals, and strategies for the North Andover Master Plan . We had a great turnout and received great, in-depth feedback from community members on the draft community vision as well as goals and strategies to include in the plan.

The Color of Law Talk

The team at JM Goldson all attended a talk by Richard Rothstein, the author of The Color of Law, on March 27th, hosted by the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council (CMBC) and held at MassHousing. Rothstein spoke about his research regarding a history of residential segregation in the US. The program, put on by CMBC, was insightful and a great way to further discussion among housing practitioners.

Lara's One-Year Anniversary

We celebrated Lara’s one-year employment anniversary this month! Lara has contributed so much to our team and we’re grateful for all of the historic preservation, community preservation, and housing work she has accomplished.

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February Newsletter

Historic Preservation in Arlington

JM Goldson is updating the Town of Arlinton's historic resources inventory to add over 130 properties to the inventory. Lara Kritzer, who is primarily working on this project, explains, "Historic resource inventories are a record of both the architecture and the history of communities. I’ve had a chance in the past to work in Arlington, mostly on the Battle Road Scenic Byway, and it has made me aware of what an amazingly diverse community it is that has a wealth of historic and architectural resources hidden away on side streets and in neighborhoods."

The project is a collaborative process, working with the local historical commission and committee members to better understand their concerns and priorities and letting that shape  decisions where to focus the research.

Lara has a Masters in Historic Preservation from Boston University and has a background working with the Community Preservation Act and as a preservation planner. She is leading similar projects in Hanson and North Adams, MA. 

Lara says, "I have always loved history and architecture, and found historic preservation as a way to meld my two favorite subjects into a career. Perhaps its because I grew up in the Midwest, but every day I am amazed and delighted by the reminders of the past which are all around us here in New England. It is these tangible reminders – the houses, fields, monuments, and artifacts that bring history alive and I feel strongly that our community and culture would be poorer without them.  Historic Preservation is a scary term to many but to me it's not about stopping time, but finding a way to honor and maintain the history of a place while also making sure that these spaces continue to be lived in and used both now and in the future."

We're excited to continue this project over the next few months. Read more about the project here:

What else are we working on?

Sharon & Concord Master Plans

Beginning this spring, we will bring our expertise in housing to the Civic Moxie team working on a new master plan for the Town of Sharon and continue to bring the Concord Master Plan project, also led by Civic Moxie, to completion.

Community Workshops

In March we will be conducting community workshops in Wellesley, where we’re working on a Housing Production Plan with the Barrett Planning Group LLC as lead consultant, and North Andover, where we’re part of the RKG Associates Inc team writing a Master Plan. We’ve been designing and getting geared up for these workshops and anticipate a high turnout and lots of energy in both communities!

Eastham Community Preservation Plan

We’re excited to begin work in the Town of Eastham to prepare an update to the Community Preservation Plan. JM Goldson prepared Eastham's first CPA Plan five years ago and is happy to be back to help them think about the next five years.

January Newsletter

Pancakes & Planning with the Wenham Affordable Housing Trust

On January 20, the team at JM Goldson traveled to Wenham, MA for a special Saturday morning workshop and pancake breakfast. Residents of Wenham came to have their voice heard as a part of the lively discussions these workshops promote, and the Trust was eager to hear what they had to say.

Jennifer began the workshop with a presentation on what affordable housing means and what the purpose of an Affordable Housing Trust is. The presentation was followed by a discussion exercise, where each table discussed a different topic, facilitated by a Trust member.


About 40 residents were involved in this process, and the diversity of age and background in the attendees contributed to the passion and liveliness of conversation. It was this liveliness that brought about new ideas and allowed participants to both have their thoughts heard and leave with new perspectives. A community meeting that allows and encourages everyone to listen and to be heard will often be both the most useful for planners and Trust members and also the most satisfying for community members who want to be a sincere part of the process.

Much of the success in Wenham can be attributed to a well-organized and passionate town. Volunteers including members of the First Church cooked the breakfast and high school student volunteers offered their Saturday morning to provide babysitting, help in the kitchen, and scribe at each discussion table. The Trust members played a major part in the planning process of the meeting and fostered thoughtful discussions in their groups. Lastly, the residents who attended came with open minds, great questions, and a desire to engage with fellow community members.

Here’s what else JM Goldson has been up to this month:

Bedford: Starting in February, JM Goldson will be assisting the Regional Housing Services Office and the Town of Bedford with preparation of a Strategic Housing Study.

Middleborough: In Middleborough, JM Goldson continues to support the work of the Community Preservation Committee including grant writing for historic preservation and recreation.

Wareham: In the beginning of January, we began survey properties in Wareham Village and Onset Village to enable access to federal Community Development Block Grant funds. Despite a few cold days, JM Goldson's team has been out multiple times to continue surveying properties throughout the month.

Hudson: JM Goldson is beginning work in Hudson, MA to complete a Historic Resource Survey.

Wellesley: We had a kick-off meeting in Wellesley on January 22 with the town's working group, and will be assisting Barrett Planning, LLC. to create a Housing Production Plan over the next few months.

Volunteering: This month, Jennifer began serving on CHAPA’s Chapter 40B Municipal Training Planning Committee. Look out for an announcement of the training date for 2018!

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December Newsletter

We hope everyone has had a joyous holiday season! As the year winds down and we settle into a new office, this month's newsletter focuses on a research brief written by MAPC regarding the relationship between the production of housing and school enrollment.

Debunking the Myth that Housing Production Drives Up School Enrollment

Have you read the recent research brief from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), yet? In our opinion, it is a must read for all public officials involved in municipal land use and development.

We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve heard community members concerned that new housing production will bring too many school children to their community and overburden the public schools. It is the most common objection to housing production that we hear from communities.

MAPC published a research brief in October that analyzes and debunks the conventional wisdom that housing production is linked to school enrollment growth in Massachusetts: “The Waning Influence of Housing Production on Public School Enrollment in Massachusetts.”  

As stated in the Brief:

“These apprehensions are rooted in the demographic and development patterns of the late 20th century, when Baby Boomers were in their prime child-rearing years. Their residential choices caused housing stock, enrollment, and school expenditures to grow quickly in many suburbs . . . We find that the conventional wisdom that links housing production with inevitable enrollment growth no longer holds true.”

If increased school enrollment isn’t due to housing production, then why are some school districts growing while others are not? The brief finds that districts with the most growth are in one of two types of communities: 1) highly desirable, expensive communities with strong school systems (e.g., Arlington, Belmont, Brookline) or 2) racially/ethnically diverse, lower-income communities with more affordably-priced market-rate housing (e.g., Chelsea, Everett, Revere).

We encourage you to read this seven-page brief for yourself and share it widely with your fellow-community members.

Updates from JM Goldson

We're excited to kick off the new year with some great projects, including a property condition survey in Onset Village and Wareham Village in Wareham. This project, ongoing until June, will be assessing the condition of properties and public infrastructure in both villages. To complete the project, we've partnered with Silva Engineering in Bridgewater, MA.

In Westwood, we conducted a community survey to gather input for an update to the Open Space and Recreation Plan, and the many responses gave a great idea of what open space and recreation resources the community wants to see improved or implemented in Westwood. Read about the process here, where Jennifer is quoted about the survey. Lastly, we have also gotten started on the Wellesley Housing Production Plan this month, with Barrett Planning LLC as the lead consultant. 

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates! Wishing everyone a prosperous new year!

November Newsletter

Welcome to the first monthly newsletter from JM Goldson community preservation + planning! We’ve had a busy month, with new projects just beginning, other projects wrapping up, and a few big changes.

New office space!

Starting soon, JM Goldson will be moving from our current location on Harrison Ave to a new office, located at 236 Huntington Ave, where our team will have more space. We’re so excited to set up the office and move in!

New projects

In the last month, we’ve begun work on a few new projects. In Arlington, Hanson, and North Adams, we’re conducting historic resource surveys. We’re also beginning work in Quincy, on an Open Space Analysis. In Wellesley, we're collaborating with Barrett Planning Group, LLC on a Housing Production Plan. Lastly, we’ve been awarded a Slums and Blight project in Wareham that we’re very excited to dive in on!


Jennifer presented the draft Housing Production Plan to the Weymouth Town Council and Planning Board last week. Read here about it: 

Staff Announcements

Our part-time community planning assistant, Jamie Shalvey, will be coming on as full-time starting December 4! Jamie has been with JM Goldson since January 2017 and is excited to join Jennifer and Lara as a full-time member of the firm.

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North Andover Master Plan Public Forum

JM Goldson partnered with RKG Associates last night for the first public forum regarding the North Andover Master Plan. The turnout was incredible, with over 160 residents of the town coming to participate and give their feedback!


Along with a presentation by Jennifer and Eric Halvorsen from RKG Associates, the forum included several open house activities where participants could talk to consultants and committee members, ask questions, and give their feedback on different aspects of the town that will be addressed in the plan.

Overall, the forum left participants feeling like their voice, and the voice of the town, was heard, and the consultant team more equipped to understand what people love about North Andover, and what needs to be improved in the town.



Kudos to the town of North Andover and the Master Plan Oversight Committee for getting such a great turnout last night! We had a blast, and got a lot of great input.

Fair Housing Trainings: Facilitating dialogue in MA towns

In June, JM Goldson launched a new training for municipal staff, boards, and committees on fair housing as related to land use, zoning, and planning decisions. JM Goldson developed this training on behalf of the WestMetro HOME Consortium and working closely with the Regional Housing Services Office and City of Newton Fair Housing Committee.

In the training, municipal officials will review the background of fair housing and its current relevance; delve into fair housing considerations specific to local land use policies and practices; and examine select case law.

Local land use decisions and policies can have a profound effect on advancing fair housing objectives. To further fair housing goals and avoid liability, it is critical for municipal officials involved with local land use decisions and policies to develop an understanding of fair housing laws and best practices. If you would like more information on how to bring this training to your community, please contact us at

Welcome to our new web site!

Welcome to the new, where we've featured the projects we've been working on, more about our staff, what our clients have to say about us, and more!

Under the Contact page, there's an option to subscribe to our mailing list. So if you want to learn more about what we're working on, share your name and email and we will keep you updated.

We're excited about this brand new interface, and invite you to take a look around!

Community Visioning in Tewksbury

This winter and spring, JM Goldson with sub-consultants from RKG Associates and Favermann Design have been working with the Town of Tewksbury to create a 20-year community vision. The project includes soliciting community input through both face-to-face community engagement and digital engagement through a CoUrbanize site dedicated to the project.

 coUrbanize Platform

coUrbanize Platform

What is Community Visioning?

Visioning is the act of imagining the future. Before there can be a meaningful plan, community members must agree on a mental picture of what they want their community to look like, feel like, and be like. What would the community be like at its very best?

In 20 years from now, visioning imagines...

  • Who lives here?
  • What are they doing?
  • What are their homes like?
  • How are they getting around?

Community Engagement in Tewksbury

In Tewksbury in the past few months, the Town held a community open house and a focus group for town officials, both of which provided information about the key findings of the 2016 Master Plan and engaged participants in envisioning the future through multiple techniques. Upcoming on May 18th,  the Town will sponsor a Seniors focus group and another community open house on June 1st where the community will be invited to discuss draft vision statements.

The community member reached in this project is greatly expanded through online engagement. The project has used an online platform called coUrbanize to distribute information to members of the town and to get feedback on what people want to see happing in Tewksbury. CoUrbanize, using a map of the town, offers users to leave comments about parts of the town they love, areas that could be better, and what's missing from the town. It also provides us a means to give updates on the visioning process. This project has close to 400 comments shared through the platform!

Community Branding

A part of community visioning is branding the community – when people think of Tewksbury, what do they think of? Mark Favermann, of Favermann Design, created five designs that were showcased at the first open house with the option for participants to vote on their favorites. These designs would brand Tewksbury, and included images of the town hall and gazebo. Participants voted based on what they felt best represented their town.

Here is an article by Mark Favermann on community branding: Urban Branding - An Expression of Civic Character


The timeline for the project is linked below:

Tewksbury Vision Project Schedule 042417

Fair Housing Conference 2017 - Building Local Capacity

Last week, Jennifer spoke at the 11th Annual Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference in Springfield, MA. She spoke as part of a panel on Affordable Housing, Disparate Impact, and Building Local Capacity with Shelly Goehring (Massachusetts Housing Partnership), Rita Farrell (Massachusetts Housing Partnership), and attorney Felicity Hardee. Read Felicity Hardee’s post about the workshop here.

The Fair Housing & Civil Rights conference was a multi-day event featuring workshops and panel discussions from civil rights leaders, nonprofit organizations, and government officials, all working to promote nationwide equality.

Jennifer’s presentation slides are attached below. In the presentation, she focused on building capacity in three categories: political, human, and financial. Check it out!