Last week, the Norwood Board of Selectmen and Planning Board unanimously adopted the Town's first Housing Production Plan. The Town, just south of Boston, is under extensive development pressure with 800-900 housing units in the pipeline. The Town positioned themselves to have greater control over development by creating the Housing Production Plan (and just in the nick of time!). JM Goldson was engaged as lead on the project last spring and assembled a team including Oxbow Partners, Larry Koff and Associates, and Bluestone Planning Group. On the heals of town approval of the Plan, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a 260+ unit comprehensive permit. The Town hopes this permit will lead to a two-year certification of the Housing Production Plan, which would enable denials of comprehensive permits to be upheld.
Through stakeholder interviews and an interactive community workshop, it was apparent that an important component of the plan would be to promote smart growth development near the Town's commercial centers to further downtown economic revitalization as well as economic development and open space conservation goals. Emphasizing the interconnections between affordable housing, community preservation, and economic development goals are threaded throughout the Plan.
Town officials embrace the Housing Production Plan, which was submitted last week for state approval, and are serious about implementing the various local housing initiatives the plan recommends. In fact, the Town is already working on adopting a new MGL c.40R Smart Growth Overlay District in Norwood Center which may be presented to Town Meeting as early as this fall and could produce close 250-300 housing units through redevelopment of an underutilized industrial complex.