Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Methuen Receive Grants for Resiliency, Housing

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Jerrard Whitten. (Courtesy photograph.)

Both the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and Methuen were among those named Wednesday as receiving state grants designed to help local and regional planning agencies in “developing plans and implementing land use regulations consistent with their goals and the conservation and development objectives.”

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission was awarded $75,000 to update a regional Priority Growth Strategy, while Methuen will receive $39,500 to update development regulations to support green infrastructure and stormwater best management practices. These were among 26 projects statewide to “mitigate and prepare for climate change impacts, improve land use practices, conserve and sustainably develop land and diversify housing choices.”

“Zoning ordinances can have a significant impact on a municipality’s ability to combat the climate crisis,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Transit-oriented housing, protecting open spaces and building in resilient areas are critical considerations. As weather becomes more extreme, it’s important that we update regulations to help build resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Massachusetts.”

The grants pay for technical assistance to help communities comply with the Housing Choice Initiative, which requires multi-family housing permitted as a zoning right in MBTA and adjacent communities.

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