Technical assistance center; permitting model; evaluations and reporting; regional planning districts to assist municipalities
Section 30. (a) There shall be within each regional planning district created under this chapter or by special act, a technical assistance center for the delivery of coordinated, comprehensive, and continuing technical services to and among local governments for the purpose of expediting permitting.
The board of executive directors of the Massachusetts association of regional planning agencies shall develop a state-wide permitting model that municipalities may adopt. The model processes shall expedite local permitting and zoning consistent with chapter 43D.
The board shall direct each regional planning agency to conduct an evaluation of its member cities’ and towns’ permitting processes and to report its findings to the board. It shall be the responsibility of each regional planning agency to work under the guidance of the board to assist in the development of a state-wide model. The board shall report to the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than November 1, 2007, on recommendations necessary to implement the state-wide model proposed to effectuate such expedited permitting.
The regional planning districts shall, at the request of a member city or town, provide the city or town services and assistance to:—
(1) reduce unnecessary delays and create certainty and predictability as well as promote an efficient and timely appeals process;
(2) create a positive regulatory culture with a bias toward making decisions;
(3) conduct on-going staff training to address applicant questions;
(4) select sites for expedited permitting, while identifying potential issues, concerns, or problem areas;
(5) prepare applications for approval of the sites;
(6) establish clear criteria for determining the completeness of permit applications;
(7) update or eliminate conflicting, cumbersome, and redundant permit processes and procedures;
(8) examine and redraft zoning by-laws to aid in the balanced development of the community; and
(9) develop plans and incentives for residential and commercial development, while taking steps to mitigate the environmental and transportation impacts of new growth.
(b) A city or town shall not be required to receive technical assistance from a regional planning agency in order to participate in the expedited permitting process, pursuant to chapter 43D.