Land Use and Economic Development
Canton Center Rapid Recovery Planning - April to August 2021
The Local Rapid Recovery Plan (LRRP) Program is a project of the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI). It provides municipalities in the Commonwealth with the opportunity to develop actionable, project-based recovery plans tailored to the unique economic challenges and COVID-19 related impacts to downtowns, town centers, and commercial areas. Included are analysis and exploration of challenges, barriers, strategies, and actions, with a focus on developing tactical and strategic project recommendations to help communities achieve their recovery goals. The effort will culminate in plans that summarize the diagnostic findings and offer clear, tactical project recommendations by the end of August 2021.
3 Phases of Local Rapid Recovery Planning
*Phase 1 – April - May - Data Gathering and Diagnostics: Canton Center businesses were surveyed (134 contacted by hand-delivery, mail, and/or email. Received 28 responses. Results can be viewed here.
*Phase 2 – June - July - Analysis and Project(s) Recommendations: Piloted a Regional Restaurant Week, featuring restaurants from Canton, Dedham, Norwood, and Westwood. Early strategic intervention ideas are being vetted with Canton Center businesses via a second (quick) survey, concluding at the end of June. The presentation to the Select Board can be viewed here.
*Phase 3 – July - August - Final Plan
Route 138 Corridor Economic Development Study
Route 138 is Canton’s most heavily traveled arterial, a main location for the town’s commercial base, and a location for future development. The area has large lots, with some vacant/underutilized land, and a hodge podge of zoning and uses. Development on Route 138 needs to be shaped carefully to minimize traffic problems and safety issues, and to create an environment that will be aesthetically pleasing. Generally, the community has expressed a desire for a stronger design identity to create a sense of place, and destination stores, restaurants, or other community resources as a draw.
The Route 138 Corridor Study was completed between June 2019 and January 2020. It was good timing to look at a strategic plan and vision for the Route 138 corridor. The Town has recently updated its comprehensive Master Plan, and the MassDOT will likely implement infrastructure improvements for safety, pedestrian, and cyclist access in the next 5 years.
Canton Junction Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Plan
The Town worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to facilitate a community-driven process to plan for the future of the area around Canton Junction Commuter Rail Station. The objective of the study was to determine what uses could be viable and desirable given current market conditions in Canton and the region, while being sensitive to the long-range vision for the Town and neighborhood. This process lead to the development of a vision for the area and the development of strategies to achieve that vision.
This effort is under the understanding that current land owners have no immediate plans to sell or significantly redevelop their property. However, the findings have been included in the updated town-wide Master Plan (adopted April 2020). The final report is now available. This study took place in 2019-2020.
View the Canton Junction Plan presentation.
Draper Knitting Company Site Redevelopment Market Feasibility Study
The Town of Canton was awarded a Planning Assistance Grant to study the feasibility of reusing the historic Draper Knitting Company site. Parts of the site are currently underutilized and offer potential for creating a unique multi-use district with a mix of programming and uses. The objective of this study is to determine whether such a district could be viable given current market conditions in Canton and the region, while evaluating the fiscal impacts of redevelopment on the Town. This study took place 2017-2018.
View the final report here.
Environmentally Sensitive Design & Approaches for Golf Course Conversions & Development
Canton’s recently updated Master Plan (2020) noted that all the golf course lands are located in areas that are considered environmentally sensitive, whether because they lie in the Groundwater Protection Overlay District or sit adjacent to the Reservoir Pond. It recommended zoning these areas with more environmentally sensitive design, that would allow for pavement reduction, buffers to surface waters, and the use of nature based solutions to treat stormwater runoff.
In coordination with the Planning Department, a group of Tufts University Planning graduate students developed options for the Town to ensure that any golf course development or conversion would be done in an environmentally sensitive way that is broadly appealing to the community and consistent with the Master Plan. This study took place February - May 2020.
Click to download and view the students' presentation.
Click to download and view the final report.