Section 1. Whereas the Western portion of Massachusetts, specifically the Pioneer Valley has different characteristics than the Eastern portion, in terms of population density, types of industry, access of population to undeveloped land, visibility to the Boston media, and so forth, and
Whereas over time thee different characteristics have led to differentials in the impacts of policies and programs adopted from time to in the area of housing, fair housing, school integration, regional transportation, taxation, and economic development, and
Whereas this differential impact may have played some part in the fact that this Western portion of Massachusetts, now defined as the Springfield Region, has been Nationally recognized as having a generally high level of racial segregation, including the highest level of White-Hispanic segregation in the United States, and
Whereas this same area has also underperformed in comparison with the Eastern portion of the Commonwealth in terms of its ability to implement modern sustainability strategies such as mass transportation, balanced housing, and economic development in general, then
Section 2. Therefore it is resolved that this Western Massachusetts Balanced Sustainable Development Act is hereby adopted by the Massachusetts General Court to implement the following measures:
1.To mandate that a regional Sustainable Development Commission be created consisting of representatives of regional planning agencies in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties together with representatives of organizations concerned with fair housing, organized labor, and chambers of commerce or similar organizations concerned with economic development recognized by the General Court in the impacted area to annually track and assess the impact of State policies on the Springfield Region and make recommendations to the General Court for appropriate modifications of these policies, and recommendations as to the appropriateness of pending legislation and other policies of the Commonwealth which may have a differential effect on the Region; and
2.To further mandate that the said Commission devise strategies of remediation or plans to counter any negative impacts of past policies of the Commonwealth so as to create a more racially and economically integrated, economically vital, and environmentally sustainable region in the future; and
3.To further mandate and authorize creation of a special, tax-exempt, urban and regional development corporation, to be controlled jointly by regional elected officials, representatives of business organizations, and representatives of organized labor, which shall have the power make contracts, acquire property through eminent domain, buy and sell bonds, as it sees appropriate to implement development programs and projects required to implement the remediation strategies and/or plans developed by the Sustainable Development Commission to create more balanced housing, more effective development in the fields of commercial or industrial development, or other development as it the Commission may determine based on its research and consultation with the populace and institutions of the Springfield Region and/or Pioneer Valley.
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