The Town of Amherst has received a Commonwealth Capital score of 110 for Fiscal Year 2010!
Of the 91 communities who submitted Commonwealth Capital applications in 2009, Amherst is currently third in the Commonwealth with a score of 110 points.
The Commonwealth Capital program was established five years ago to promote more sustainable land use choices in Massachusetts cities and towns. The Amherst Planning Department has submitted the Commonwealth Capital applications on behalf of the community since the program’s inception in 2005. The Town of Amherst’s previous scores were: 105 (FY2009), 94 (FY2008), 113 (FY2007/06), and 100 (FY2005).
The Commonwealth Capital program endorses planning and zoning measures and municipal policies and actions that are consistent with the Commonwealth’s Sustainable Development Principles, which can be viewed at this link:
The program examines thirty-two (32) aspects of a municipality’s implementation of zoning, planning, housing, environmental, energy, and transportation measures in place at the time of the application or measures that the community commits to implementing during the next fiscal year. The resulting scores are used, in part, to determine the distribution of financial assistance and grants from the Commonwealth.
For Fiscal Year 2010, the Commonwealth Capital application was developed and submitted by the Planning Department with assistance from other town departments. This year’s score will play an important role in the evaluation and distribution million of dollars in state grants and low interest loans.
Amherst is able to obtain a consistently high score are because of its decades of open space protection, progressive mixed-use zoning in and around its centers, numerous affordable housing initiatives, responsible use of the Community Preservation Act, public water supply protection, energy efficiency measures, and innovative approaches to public transportation.
With the State’s recent acceptance of Amherst’s Open Space and Recreation Plan and the pending adoption of the Town’s Master Plan, Amherst continues to pursue a progressive approach to local governance. Amherst citizens, Town Meeting members, over 50 volunteer boards and committees and Amherst’s professional staff all play a critical role in keeping Amherst an innovative and forward-thinking community. Through its annual application to the Commonwealth Capital program, Amherst remains competitive and eligible for financial assistance from the Commonwealth for a wide range of local projects.
For more information, please contact Jeff Bagg, Senior Planner, at the Amherst Planning Department.