New Bedford recognized for expedited permitting

By Dan McDonald
New Bedford is the only community in the state to have two Chapter 43D projects break ground since the permitting expediting process was introduced on Jan. 2, 2007.
Such an embrace of the program was recognized at a Statehouse event celebrating the state’s attempts to streamline permitting on Tuesday.
New Bedford opted into the program, which guarantees local permitting decisions on select “priority development sites within 180 days,” according to the state’s website, on April 9, 2008.
“New Bedford was pretty revolutionary,” said April Anderson Lamoureux, the state’s permit ombudsman. “They came in with six sites right off the bat. And they’ve already developed two of them.”
One of the developed sites, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, located on MacArthur Drive, was permitted in 35 days, ending in February 2009. The ribbon cutting was held earlier this summer.
The other site, the Riverside Landing, which calls for a Market Basket on Coggeshall Street, was permitted within 60 days, ending in May 2009. That project is under construction with a fall ribbon cutting scheduled for retail anchor Market Basket. That first phase of the project will bring 150 permanent jobs into the city, said Matthew A. Morrissey, the executive director for the New Bedford Economic Development Council. The second phase calls for a boathouse, restaurant and medical office space, he said.
The other 43D-designated sites that have yet to culminate with groundbreakings include the former Goodyear site, an 11-acre swath located in the South End, and three biomedical sites in the New Bedford Business Park.
“Expedited permitting is something the market is telling us is important,” Anderson Lamoureux said. “One of the first questions we hear is: How quickly can I get a shovel in the ground?”
Under 43D, the designated sites must be zoned for commercial or industrial development and must be eligible for the development or redevelopment of a building of at least 50,000-square-feet of gross floor area. The site must be approved by the state’s Interagency Permitting Board.
July 28, 2010
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