REPORT OF THE PLANNING BOARD
To the residents of the Town of Abington:
We the members of the Abington Planning Board, respectfully submit our Annual
Report for the year 2005.
The primary responsibility of the Abington Planning Board is to plan for the future
development of the Town and it does this through the comprehensive planning
process and in preparation of a Comprehensive Master Plan. The Master Plan is
composed of nine elements or parts that include: plans for land use; housing;
economic development:; natural and cultural resources; open space and recreation;
public facilities; and, transportation. The; Abington Master Plan was completed in
1999, but updated in 2004 by the Planning Board through the preparation of the
Abington Community Development Plan. These documents form the basis for guiding
the growth and development of the community through land use controls including the
Zoning By-Law and Subdivision Regulations. These land use controls are periodically
updated by actions of the Planning Board to reflect changing conditions and to
implement the goals and objectives of the Master Plan.
The Board is also pleased to report that its planning efforts over the past year have
resulted in several changes to the Abington Zoning By-Law that included the
provision for Accessory Apartments as a special permitted use in residential districts
of the Town to address a recognized housing need. In addition, through the Board's
efforts, the Town put in place a Phased Development By-Law provision to regulate
the phasing of large subdivision developments.
The Planning Board is proud that Abington has continued to grow as a "smart
growth community" in 2005 by encouraging growth and development in areas of the
community that are proximate to town services and through actions that are
consistent with sustainable development principles. Abington was recognized for its
planning efforts by the Commonwealth last year when it received the Governor's
Award for Smart Growth Leadership. Abington was one of only ten communities in
the Commonwealth who received the Smart Growth Leadership Award.
In 2005 The Abington Planning Board devoted much time and effort to the review of
plans for the development of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. LNR
Property Corporation, named by the Tri-Town South Shore Development Corporation
as the Master Developer for the former base has proposed the development of 2855
housing units and over two million square feet of commercial development to be built
in stages over a twelve year period. A primary concern of the Board was the scale of
the development and its potential impacts on the Town of Abington and its residents.
Through the efforts of the Planning Board and other boards and commissions of the
Town sufficient assurances were negotiated with the developer to mitigate the impacts
of the development.
The Planning Board provides direction and supervision of the work of the Town
Planner Daniel Crane, AICP who assists the Board along with Planning Board
Secretary Elizabeth Shea in carrying out its goals, objectives and responsibilities.
Through the efforts of the Planning Staff and the Planning Board, the Town of
Abington applied for scoring through a Commonwealth Capital application to the
Office for Commonwealth Development (OCD) for the Town to be eligible to compete
for State Grant Programs administered by OCD.
The Planning Board reviewed 20 development proposals during 2005 including the
Target Corporation's retail development adjacent to Stop and Shop on Center
Avenue. Target Corporation became the first business to utilize the Tax Increment
Financing program that offers tax incentives for firms to locate in a community such as
Abington that has been designated as an Economic Opportunity Area.
As the year 2005 came to a close, the Abington Planning Board began the
preparation of an update to the Town's Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) to
be filed with the State Division of Conservation Services. The updated OSRP is
required for any request for State and Federal Grant assistance. The Planning Board
is preparing this update in cooperation with the Park and Recreation Commission, the
Conservation Commission and the Open Space Committee. These agencies of Town
Government are working as a joint committee for this OSRP update which is expected
to be completed in the early months of 2006.
The Planning Board is available to respond to any questions or concerns regarding
development in the community and is appreciative of any input the townspeople may
offer. The townspeople are invited to contact the Board through the Town Planner at
781-982-0069, in writing to the Board at the Town Offices or by attending a meeting
of the Board. The Board meets at Town Hall in the Susan Meir Room on the first
Monday of the month and at other times when needed. The Board would like to give
thanks to the other Town Boards for their input and for the help from Town Planner
Dan Crane and Liz Shea. Please feel free to attend our meetings, which are open to
the public, and to observe what is discussed and accomplished.
Wayne P. Smith, Chairman
Timothy P. Barry, Vice Chairman
Bruce G. Hughes, Clerk
Jeffrey M. Rangel, Member
Robert Soper, Member
|Planning Board 2005 Annual Report