Section 2. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any city or town by vote of its town meeting, town council or city council with the approval of the mayor where required by law may designate development districts within the boundaries of the city or town provided, however, a development district may consist of 1 or more parcels or lots of land, whether or not contiguous, or 1 or more buildings or structures, whether or not adjacent, on 1 or more parcels of land, provided that the total area of all development districts shall not exceed 25 per cent of the total area of a city or town; and provided that the boundaries of a development district may be altered only after meeting the requirements for adoption under this subsection. The city or town shall find that the designation of the development district is consistent with the requirements of this section and will further the public purpose of encouraging increased residential, industrial and commercial activity in the commonwealth.
(b) The city or town shall adopt a development program for each development district. The program shall be adopted at the same time as the district, as part of the district adoption proceedings or, if at a different time, in the same manner as adoption of the district, with the same certification requirements of subsection (a). Once approved, the program shall be altered or amended only after meeting the requirements for adoption.
(c) Within development districts and consistent with the development program, the city or town may acquire, construct, reconstruct, improve, preserve, alter, extend, operate, maintain or promote development intended to meet the objectives of the development program. In addition to the powers granted by any other law, for the purpose of carrying on a project as authorized by this chapter, a city or town may:
(1) incur indebtedness as hereinafter provided and pledge tax increments and other project revenues for repayment thereof;
(2) create a department, designate an existing department, board officer, agency, municipal housing or redevelopment authority of the city or town or enter into a contractual agreement with a private entity to administer the activities authorized by this chapter;
(3) make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary in order to carry out the development program;
(4) receive from the federal government or the commonwealth loans or grants for, or in aid of, a project and receive contributions from any other source to defray project costs;
(5) purchase or acquire by eminent domain pursuant to chapter 79 or chapter 80A, insofar as those laws may be applicable, and pursuant to all preliminary requirements prescribed by law, such property or interests therein within a district as the city or town may deem necessary in order to carry out the development program; provided, however, that any taking of property by eminent domain for any purpose for which the taking by the city or town could not be made in the absence of this chapter shall be authorized by a two-thirds vote as defined in section 1 of chapter 44;
(6) make relocation payments to persons, businesses or organizations that may be displaced as a result of carrying out the development program;
(7) clear and improve property acquired by it pursuant to the development program and construct public facilities thereon, or contract for the construction, development, redevelopment, rehabilitation, remodeling, alteration or repair of such property;
(8) cause parks, playgrounds or schools, water or sewer drainage facilities or any other public improvements that it is otherwise authorized to undertake, to be laid out, constructed or furnished in connection with the development program;
(9) lay out, construct, alter, relocate, change the grade of, make specific repairs upon or discontinue public ways and sidewalks in or adjacent to the development district;
(10) cause private ways, sidewalks, ways for vehicular travel and similar improvements to be constructed within the development district for the particular use of the development district or those dwelling or working therein;
(11) adopt ordinances or by-laws under section 5 of chapter 40A, or repeal or modify the ordinances or by-laws or establish exceptions to existing ordinances and by-laws, regulating the design, construction and use of buildings;
(12) sell, mortgage, lease as lessor, transfer or dispose of any property or interest therein acquired by it pursuant to the project plan for development, redevelopment or rehabilitation in accordance with the development program;
(13) invest project revenue as hereinafter provided; and
(14) do all things reasonably necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted in this chapter.