SWAP Legislative Breakfast: Town Officials & State Reps Discuss Local, Regional Priorities

The Southwest Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP), one of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s eight subregions, gathered at the Thayer Homestead in Medway on Friday, March 29 for its annual legislative breakfast. The breakfast gives local officials and municipal staff the chance to connect with their state representatives over breakfast and coffee.

Attendees heard from Representative Jeffrey Roy and Representative Michael J. Soter. Both legislators talked about their policy and budget priorities, while the audience had a chance to voice their priorities and ask questions.

The SWAP subregion consists of members representing 10 communities – Bellingham, Dover, Franklin, Hopkinton, Medway, Milford, Millis, Norfolk, Sherborn, and Wrentham.

MAPC Executive Director Marc Draisen kicked off the breakfast with a summary of some of MAPC’s legislative priorities, including new transportation funding mechanisms, the Governor’s Housing Choice bill, and increasing the Community Preservation Act match.

Check out the rest of MAPC’s transportation, housing, clean energy, public health, and budget priorities here.

The two legislators followed Marc Draisen’s remarks with details of their own bills and priorities. Rep. Roy, who chairs the Joint Committee on Higher Education, spoke about the importance of higher education funding, the problem of small private liberal arts college closing, continuing to attract and retain manufacturing jobs, health care, commuter rail improvements, and improving trail connectivity between Franklin and Bellingham. Rep. Soter, a former Bellingham Selectman who was elected last fall, touched on many topics including trails funding, economic development and opportunity in Bellingham, and education funding.

SWAP members were interested in hearing more about the commuter rail, housing choice, affordable housing, Community Preservation Act, and MassSave energy efficiency program.

MAPC Projects in SWAP

In 2018, MAPC awarded DLTA funding to five SWAP projects:

  • Wrentham Town Center Zoning District: Funds went toward completing draft zoning and preparing for the Town Meeting. The zoning, which focused on smart growth elements like mixed use, diverse housing, and connectively, was approved by a vote of 270 to 12.
  • Norfolk B-1 District Zoning Study: DLTA funding matched the Town’s contribution and supplemented a grant from MassHousing’s Planning for Housing Production program. MAPC will work with the town to add residential as an allowed use and review existing zoning to see what changes should be made to encourage the type of development desired by the Town.
  • Millis Open Space and Recreation Plan: Funds were used to support the first public forum for the Open Space and Recreation Plan.
  • Millis Housing Production Plan: MAPC completed the site identification portion of Millis’ Housing Production Plan, with other components of the HPP funded through a state grant.
  • SWAP/TRIC Living Little project: Funds went to complete a study of municipal considerations for developing tiny houses and other alternative housing typologies.

Read the Full Meeting Materials Below: