Southeast Framingham Neighborhood Plan
The City of Framingham seeks to create a Neighborhood Master Plan for the Southeast area of the City. Roughly bounded by Waverly Street, Beaver Street, and the Natick and Sherborn borders - and bisected by Beaver Dam Brook - the Southeast area has not benefited from significant coordinated City planning and investment. The Master Plan, completed with the support of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), will generate guidance that will:
● Provide a development vision, setting policy guidelines to attract investment from private, non-profit, State, and federal sources
● Provide a work plan, synchronizing current City initiatives and coordinating City projects that will foster job creation, housing, and enhance quality of life
The City’s Community & Economic Development (CED) Division will manage the project. The City projects to complete the project by June 2016.
Over the course of many years, the Southeast Framingham area has largely not been included systematic land use planning. The area developed in context of multiple and overlapping land uses. Today, the area is centered on privately-owned subsidized housing constructed in the 1970s. The perimeter of the area, defined by Waverly and Beaver Streets, includes manufacturing, auto-related, and junkyard uses, while offering limited services to residents. Private residential housing emerged amid many of these uses. Finally, many properties suffer from a legacy of contamination from past industrial uses.
A Master Plan will identify specific planning issues related to development in Southeast Framingham, particularly related to housing and commercial development. The Master Plan can also be a tool for the City to implement actions found in existing community-wide plans for housing, transportation, land use, and open space. The project will advance many MAPC MetroFuture: Making a Greater Boston Region Goals and Objectives for its 101-community region, including – but not limited to – the following:
Sustainable Growth Patterns
As brownfields and other polluted sites are cleaned up and re-used for development or parks, their reuse will have a positive ripple effect nearby.
- In suburban municipalities, most new growth will occur near town and village centers
- High-quality design that will help enhance the area’s character and livability
- Families looking for suburban single-family homes will have a greater choice of smaller homes in more traditional neighborhood settings
- Urban neighborhoods will boast more appealing housing options for young professionals and their families
- All neighborhoods will have access to safe and well-maintained parks, community gardens, and appropriate play spaces for children and youth
- Small business owners and entrepreneurs will play a major role in the region’s economy
- Strong supply of educated and skilled workers—of all ages—will encourage businesses to locate and expand here
- More workers will participate in the labor force, earning a living wage through secure employment
- The average person will drive fewer miles every day
The City has completed several related initiatives that address portions of the study objectives and help provide a foundation for the overall effort. MAPC will work with CED staff to incorporate these initiatives into the work plan and, to fill gaps, identify future initiatives.
Mission & Lines of Effort
Create a Southeast Framingham Neighborhood Plan by June 2016 which: provides an understanding of existing conditions and baseline neighborhood trends; outlines the neighborhood’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; provides visualizations and development scenarios; defines goals, aligns City efforts, and prioritizes resources to advance the recommended scenario, including:
- Land Use - Achieve higher and better uses along Waverly and Beaver Streets. Build on and coordinate recent Planning Board efforts.
- Open Space - Make Mary Dennison Park most responsive to area active recreation needs; create new space for active and/or passive recreation; connect the area’s recreation assets. Turn Beaver Dam Brook into an open space asset rather than a barrier. Build on and coordinate efforts by the Parks and Recreation Division, Community & Economic Development, and the Conservation Commission.
- Housing - Promote reconstruction of neighborhood's subsidized housing assets; develop appropriate opportunities to add density and identify opportunities to diversify housing inventory; improve separation of housing from incompatible uses. Build on and coordinate efforts by the Community and Economic Development Division.
- Economic Development - Remediate and redevelop properties south and west of Beaver Street; develop and implement a strategy to attract new investment. Build on and coordinate efforts by the Community and Economic Development Division and the Board of Health. Leverage Brownfields Area-Wide Plan funds if applicable.
- Transportation - Improve roadways, sidewalks, and lighting to promote walkability and safety according to the City’s Complete Streets policy. Mitigate natural and built barriers to connectivity. Improve connections to regional road networks, trails, and transit services. Build on and coordinate efforts by the Public Works Division and the Planning Board.
MAPC and project partners will work to support the policy outcomes below as a result of the project:
- Official adoption of Pathways to Action and Implementation Plan by the Framingham Planning Board and Board of Selectmen
- Completion and adoption of a Neighborhood Plan for Southeast Framingham that reflects the preferred growth and preservation scenario from this process
- Eventual adoption of land use controls and other policies that promote more diverse housing opportunities, economic development, preservation of open space, recreational opportunities, and transportation options
Funding and Execution
MAPC is supporting the project with funding through its District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) program. MAPC staff will execute the work, managed by the City’s CED Division.