The recently adopted Economic Development Act contains key provisions, summarized below, intended to spur real estate development in the Commonwealth. The Act:
- Establishes a new Local Infrastructure Development Program, giving municipalities another tool to leverage private funding to finance infrastructure improvements that support economic development projects. The program authorizes development zones in which preapproved infrastructure improvements would be funded by municipal bond issuance administered by MassDevelopment. The bonds would be paid back by way of assessments on real estate within the zone.
- Simplifies the process for District Improvement Financing (DIF) by eliminating the need for state certification of a Development District. DIFs allow a municipality to pledge future property tax increases generated by private commercial and residential development in a designated Development District to the repayment of bonds issued to finance capital improvements benefiting the Development District. (More background information is in this Goulston & Storrs client advisory.)
- Expands the I-Cubed Program, created to finance significant new public infrastructure improvements necessary to support major new private development, by increasing the limit on I-Cubed projects per municipality from 2 to 3 and increasing available funding for the program from $250MM to $325MM. Public parking garages are now eligible public infrastructure improvements. In addition, state tax revenue attributable to construction-related activity and purchases may, with the approval of the secretary of the executive office of administration and finance, be included in new state tax revenues generated by a project to cover debt service on the I-Cubed bonds used to finance the infrastructure improvements.
- Establishes the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, which provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and eligible public agencies seeking public infrastructure funding to support economic development. The Program, which is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, represents a consolidation of six former grant programs: Public Works Economic Development Program (PWED), Community Development Action Grant Program (CDAG), Growth Districts Initiative Grant Program (GDI), Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion Program (MORE), Small Town Rural Assistance Program (STRAP), and Transit Oriented Development Program (TOD).
- Makes the Local Expedited Permitting Law more accessible by removing the requirement that a Priority Development Site be commercially or industrially zoned. Local expedited permitting is an option for cities and towns wishing to achieve targeted economic development. Within Priority Development Sites designated by the State’s Interagency Permitting Board, local permitting decisions are, with a few exceptions, made within 180 days.
- Further extends the life of Permits by amending the Permit Extension Act of 2010, saving developers the time, money and effort needed for reissued permits. (More background information is in this Goulston & Storrs client advisory.)
If you would like more information about any of the points above, please contact your usual Goulston & Storrs attorney or either of the following attorneys:
Peter D. Corbett
Matthew J. Kiefer
This advisory should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer concerning your situation and any specific legal questions you may have.
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