Momentum Builds on Zoning Reform for Healthy Communities

Momentum is growing on Beacon Hill and across the state to reform our antiquated zoning and planning laws which too often impede the development of healthy communities.  In the last month, we’ve rallied at the State House, testified before legislative committees, and gained visibility across the state.

MPHA's Toby Fisher stands with Rep. Kulik, Sen. Wolf, Sen. Chandler, and Sen. Eldridge

MPHA’s Toby Fisher stands with Rep. Kulik, Sen. Wolf, Sen. Chandler, and Sen. Eldridge

Fun n' Fitchburg's Ayn Yeagle joins Sen. Chandler and MPHA's Toby Fisher at the Zoning Reform press event.

Fun n’ Fitchburg’s Ayn Yeagle joins Sen. Chandler and MPHA’s Toby Fisher at the Zoning Reform press event.

MPHA's Toby Fisher and Fun n' Fitchburg's Ayn Yeagle testify in support of House Bill 1859.

MPHA’s Toby Fisher and Fun n’ Fitchburg’s Ayn Yeagle testify in support of House Bill 1859.

  • Building momentum at the State House. MPHA and several of our Act FRESH partners gathered on Beacon Hill  May 14th in support of  zoning reform legislation sponsored by Senator Daniel Wolf, Representative Stephen Kulik, and Senator Jamie Eldridge.  We had a great turnout at a press conference and bill hearing, with Act FRESH partners coming as far as Fitchburg and Plainville to testify in support.  Click here to learn more, see pictures, and read testimony from Toby Fisher (MPHA), Ayn Yeagle (Fun n’ Fitchburg/Montachusett Opportunity Council), Cheryl Sbarra (Massachusetts Association of Health Boards), and  Allyson Perron (American Heart/Stroke Association).
  • Growing visibility statewide. Andre Leroux of Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, together with Senator Dan Wolf and Representative Stephen Kulik, have published a series of Op-Ed’s on the value of zoning reform to improve our communities.  All of the pieces highlighted the important support from MPHA and the public health community. Check out the versions published in the Fall River Herald News, the MetroWest Daily News, and the Berkshire Eagle.
  • Building support locally. The Montachusett Regional Planning Committee (MRPC) has prepared an analysis of the impact that land use ordinances in the City of Fitchburg have on health equity, along with recommendations for changes to promote healthy living.  Click here for the report summary.  (Click here to check out similar analyses that have been done for Holyoke and Springfield.)