Mayor Pushes for Establishment of Redevelopment Authority - Carlo DeMaria

Mayor Pushes for Establishment of Redevelopment Authority

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Mayor Carlo DeMaria has recently expressed interest in establishing a Redevelopment Authority for the City. A Redevelopment Authority is a public administrative unit given responsibility for the renovation of blighted urban areas. The fundamental tools of a redevelopment authority include the ability to acquire real property, the power of eminent domain, the right develop and sell property without bidding, and the authority and obligation to relocate persons who have interests in the property acquired by the authority.

A Redevelopment Authority would consist of a five-member board, four of which are local appointments made by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council, and one state appointment.

As part of the process of establishing a Redevelopment Authority, the City must adopt an Economic Development Plan (EDP), an annual plan comprising the local authorities economic development expenditure intentions for the coming year. The EDP must be approved by a majority vote from the City Council.  There is no state approval needed for this portion.  Once adopted the EDP would be active for seven (7) years.

In addition, the City must also adopt an Urban Renewal Plan (URP), which is a statutory program that allows municipalities through their urban renewal agencies to revitalize substandard, decadent or blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other purposes. Urban renewal projects help municipalities redevelop deteriorated areas by providing the economic environment needed to attract and support private investment.

The URP must be approved by majority vote from the City Council and receive state approval through the Department of Housing and Community Development.  Once adopted the URP would be active for twenty (20) years.  Once the City finalizes its Economic Development Plan and Urban Renewal Plan, all actions completed consistent with the plan can be handled by the Redevelopment Authority without further approvals from the City Council.  

Both the EDP and URP are exempt from Massachusetts state law 30B procurement rules and regulations for actions taken consistent with plan. This rule applies to every contract for the procurement of supplies, services or real property and for disposing of supplies or real property  by a governmental body. Therefore, the approval of the EDP and URP, will allow for the disposition of property to be handled outside of the state’s disposition process.

Mayor DeMaria and his administration believe that a Redevelopment Authority will benefit the long- term vision for the City, and specifically with the redevelopment of the Lower Broadway area, as outlined in the Lower Broadway Master Plan.  With a Redevelopment Authority in place, Sasaki Associates Inc., the planning and design firm that worked on the Lower Broadway Master Plan for the City, could then focus on developing a comprehensive analysis of existing conditions and outlining land acquisitions, dispositions and a range of possible future redevelopment goals for the area. 

Redevelopment Authorities have been extremely valuable to other surrounding communities.  Neighboring Chelsea was able to acquire two large scale hotel developments in previously blighted areas as a result of their redevelopment authority, the Chelsea Economic Development Board. These new developments will help Chelsea create jobs, add tax revenues, fuel the local economy through the growth of other developments and industries, and also entice visitors to visit different businesses throughout the City.

“In the long run, the Redevelopment Authority approach is preferred in my opinion,” states Mayor DeMaria, “It provides the most upfront clarity to the redevelopment process, and, once approved, does not require additional approvals to enact urban renewal actions.”

-Original story published Friday, May 10, 2013, Everett Advocate Newspaper

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