Economic Impact Review – Greenfield, MA

Greenfield, Massachusetts, requires proposed retail stores to undergo a special review if they are to exceed 20,000 square feet or generate more than 500 vehicle trips per day. Impact studies are paid for by the developer and consider the project’s impact on traffic, municipal services, public revenue, the environment, the local economy, and the community. The community component includes potential impact on historic and scenic sites, the character of the town, and the downtown business district.  Findings of adverse impact may result in rejection of the development.

Greenfield Panning Board
Adopted June 17, 1991



Thepurpose of an impact statement is to provide the Special Permit Granting Authority with sufficient information to conduct a detailed review of uses which have the potential for significant impact on the Town. The impact review process is intended to promote and protect the natural resources an aesthetic qualities of the Town and to mitigate any adverse impact to the Town services, traffic patterns, abutting properties, the economy of the Town, the character of the Town, or the public health, safety, and welfare of Town residents.


Applicability and Procedure

2.1These Rules and Regulations are applicable to impact statements required and submitted in accordance with the Greenfield Zoning Bylaw and the Greenfield Subdivision Regulations.

2.2 The most recent edition of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Trip Generation Manual shall be used to determine if the proposed project meets the 500 vehicle trips per day threshold requiring Major Development Review under Section of the Greenfield Zoning Bylaw. If the ITE Trip Generation rates are not applicable or the use is not included in the manual, the estimated vehicle trips per day shall be verified by the Greenfield Department of Public Works.

2.3Ten (10) copies of the impact statement shall be submitted along with all other forms, plans and information required for special permit applications under Major Development Review, Section 7,12. of the Greenfield Zoning Bylaw and for subdivision applications under section 3.5 of the Greenfield Subdivision Regulations.

2.4The Special Permit Granting Authority may waive strict compliance with the submittal requirements of these Rules and Regulations by a majority vote of the Board if, in its opinion, the information required is deemed unnecessary or inapplicable to the review of the project. Request for waivers shall be made in writing to the Board and shall state the reasons and supporting justifications for granting the waiver. Applicants are encourage to discuss the requirements of the impact statement with the Board or Planning Department staff prior to preparation of the statement.

2.5 The impact statement shall be prepared by an interdisciplinary team of professionals qualified to evaluate all facets of the proposed project which may include but is not limited to engineers, architects, landscape architects, environmental scientists, and planners.


Contents of the Impact Statements

3.1 The impact statement shall include the following elements:

1. A detailed description of the proposed project and its design features, including existing conditions on the site and in the vicinity of the project.

2. Identification and assessment of the impacts of proposed project, including positive, negative, and indirect impacts.

3. An evaluation of how the project will meet the design standards required in these Rules and Regulations.

4. Proposed measures to mitigate adverse impacts and/or maximize positive impact including design modifications and provision of infrastructure or public service improvements sufficient to support the project. Any adverse impacts which cannot be mitigated shall be identified. Mitigation measures to be implemented by the applicant shall be identified.

3.2 Impact Assessment

The Impact Statement shall assess the following areas of potential impact.

3.2.1 Traffic Impact

1. Existing Traffic Conditions:
Average daily and peak hour volumes, sight distances, street capacity, level of service, physical characteristics of the streets, number and location of driveways and intersections, average and peak speeds, accident data, pedestrian movement, and public transportation and traffic controls for streets and intersections adjacent to the project and for streets and intersections which will experience a 10% increase in peak hour traffic as a result of the project or which will experience a reduction in the level of service as a result of the project, and for failing streets and intersections which will experience an increase in traffic as required by the Board.

2. Projected Traffic Conditions:
Average daily and peak hour traffic projections and directional distribution of site generated traffic, sight distances at proposed driveway intersections with streets, on-site traffic circulation and parking layout, pedestrian movement and background traffic conditions for the design year including any planned roadway/ traffic improvements and other proposed projects in the vicinity of the site.

3. Projected Traffic Impact
Evaluate how the proposed project will affect traffic conditions an streets and intersections adjacent to and those likely to be affected by the proposed project including level of service, traffic flow, turning movements, sight distances, traffic controls, pedestrian movement, and public transportation.

3.2.2 Impact to Municipal Utilities/Services

1. Water Supply: Describe the proposed water supply system including average daily and peak water demand; location, sizing, and accessibility to municipal water mains; and water pressure and flows available at the site. Evaluate the capacity of the Town’s water supply and distribution system to adequately service the projected water and fire flow needs of the project; the need for pumping stations, standpipes, or improvements to the water system required to service the project. Estimate the cost and discuss the responsibility for construction of improvements and on-going maintenance. Consultation with the Department of Public Works is required.

2. Sewage Disposal: Describe the proposed sewage disposal system including average daily and peak wastewater discharges to the municipal sewer system; composition and concentration of wastewater; location, sizing, and pumping stations, forced mains or other system improvements required to adequately service the project. Evaluate the capacity of the swage treatment plant and the sewerage system to accommodate the wastewater flows. Evaluate the need for pre-treatment of wastewater to achieve compliance with the Greenfield Sewer Use Regulations. Estimate the cost and discuss the responsibility for construction of system improvements and on-going maintenance. Consultation with the Department of Public Works and the Department of Environmental Protection is required.

3. Storm Drains: Describe the proposed surface drainage system including pre and post runoff calculations; the location, sizing, accessibility, and proposed discharges to the municipal storm drains. Evaluate the capacity of the existing storm drains to accommodate projected storm water runoff. Estimate the cost and discuss the responsibility for construction of storm drain improvements and on-going maintenance. Consultation with the Department of Public Works is required.

4. Solid Waste Disposal: Describe the quantity and composition of projected solid wastes to be generated by the project including average weekly volume in cubic yards of refuse generated; recycling potential; method of on-site storage and collection. Evaluate the impact to the municipal landfill, recycling facility, and transfer station including available landfill capacity and costs of collection and disposal. Consultation with the Department of Public Works is required.

5. Emergency Services: Describe the anticipated fire and police protection needs including time and demand on municipal personnel; provision for alarms or warning devices; on-site fire fighting and security capabilities; need for increased municipal personnel or equipment. Estimate the cost and discuss the responsibility for providing emergency protection to the project. Consultation with the Police and Fire Department is required.

6. Schools: Describe the projected impact to the public school system including kindergarten, primary, and secondary levels. Identify the schools to be affected; projected number of students by housing type (i.e. single-family, apartments, townhouses) and number of bedrooms (i.e. one-bedroom two-bedroom etc.); the ability of the schools to absorb the additional enrollment including impact on classroom size, school bus routing changes, and the annual cost per student to the school system. Projected number of students shall be based on relevant data for the region, Massachusetts, or the northeast. Consultation with the School Department is required.

3.2.3 Environmental Impact

1.Describe the existing physical and ecological characteristics of the site and in relation to surrounding land including topography, slope, soils, wetlands, surface water, vernal pools, flood plains, depth to groundwater, drainage patterns, type and coverage of vegetation, wildlife and wildlife habitat, identification of any rare or endangered plant or animal species, relationships to public or private water supply wells and recharge areas or public water supply reservoirs, Consultation with the Conservation Commission, Department of Public Works, and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program is required.

2.Identify and evaluate the potential impacts of the project on air quality, surface water, wetlands, groundwater, plant and wildlife species, temperature, wind, and noise levels on-site and. off-site which will be affected by the project.

3.Specifically evaluate the impact of storm water, runoff, flooding, erosion, sedimentation, grading changes, increased impervious surface, discharges to groundwater, pumping of groundwater, wetlands disruption, and changes to vegetative cover. Provide the location and results of any test pits, sail borings, and percolation tests performed on the site.

4. Describe the types, quantities, use and storage methods for hazardous materials and wastes to be used or generated by the project. What measures will be taken to prevent a release into the environment?

5. Describe proposed mitigation measures for impacts identified above.

3.2.4 Community Impacts

1.Describe the surrounding neighborhood and any scenic, unique geological, historical, or archeological features and recreational areas on the site or in the vicinity of the site which could be affected by the project.

2. Describe the layout of the proposed project in detail (site plans may be used) including scale, placement, and design of buildings and structures; lighting; parking areas; open space; relationship to scenic views from the site; views of the project from distant vantage points and from adjacent properties and public ways.

3, Evaluate the proposed architectural design in relationship to surrounding land uses and prevailing architectural style including major design elements such as scale, materials, color, setbacks, roof lines.

4,Identify the impacts to historic properties, districts, or areas, and any archaeological sites on the property or in the vicinity of the project. Consultation with the Historic Commission is required.

5.Describe any recreational facilities proposed for the site and provision of public recreational or open spaces. Estimate the off-site recreational demands of the proposed project and its impact to municipal recreational facilities and programs. Consultation with the Recreation Commission is required.

6, Residential projects should be evaluated in relationship to the type and scale of surrounding residential uses. Evaluate the prefect in meeting the housing needs of Greenfield and discuss any provision far affordable housing. Consultation with the Greenfield Housing Partnership and the Office of Planning & Community Development is required.

7.Non-residential projects should estimate the number and types of jobs to be created by the project, estimate the amount of local labor to be used, and evaluate the impact of the project on existing employers in the community.

8. Estimate the amount, type, and location of spin-off development resulting from construction of the project and its likely impact on the community including changing land use patterns, development pressure on surrounding neighborhoods, impact to the downtown business district, impact to important natural resources, traffic, and Town services.

9, Identify and evaluate the potential impacts to neighboring communities resulting from the project.

3.2.5 Fiscal Impact

1. Evaluate the projected costs and benefits to the community resulting from the project including:

a) Projected costs arising from increased demand for and required improvements to public services and infrastructure.

b) Value of improvements to public services and infrastructure to be provided by the project.

c) Projected tax revenues to be generated by the project.

d) Projected impact of the project on surrounding land values and any potential loss or increase in tax revenues to the Town.

e) Short-term and long-term projection of increased Town revenues and costs resulting from the proposed project.

2.Evaluate the market and financial feasibility of the project. Include any market studies prepared for the project and any plans for phased construction.


Development Impact Statements

TheSpecial Permit Granting Authority shall consider the following standards when reviewing development impacts in addition to the special Permit and Site Plan criteria required in Sections 8.3 and 8.4 of the Greenfield Zoning Bylaw.

4.1 Traffic Standards

1.The Level of Service (LOS) of all streets and intersections evaluated under Section 3.2.1 shall not be reduced. Level of Service shall be determined in accordance with the most recant edition of the Highway Capacity Manual, Highway Research Board, National Academy of Science -National Research Council. See attached appendix for summary description of LOS.

2. The design goal for all streets, signalized intersections, and turning movements at unsignalized intersections shall be LOS C or better. For streets and intersections currently functioning at LOS C or better, mitigation measures shall be provided to maintain or improve the existing LOS. Where the existing LOS is D, mitigation measures shall at a minimum, maintain the existing conditions or upgrade the LOS to C or better.

3.For all streets and intersections which are currently failing (LOS E or worse), the goal of mitigation measures is to provide a LOS D or better. At a minimum, existing conditions at failing streets and Intersecting shall not be further degraded as a result of the project.

4.Driveways shall be located to limit conflict points with existing driveways and intersections and shall meet intersection design standards for secondary roads required in the Greenfield Subdivision Regulations.

5. Shared driveways and service roads shall be used to control access onto existing streets.

6. The impact of increased turning movements shall be mitigated.

7.The project shall be sited and driveways located to prevent routing of non-residential traffic to and through residential streets.

8. Pedestrian and bicycle circulation shall be separated from motor vehicle circulation as far as practicable.

4.2 Municipal Utilities/Services Standards

1.The public water, sewer, and drainage systems in the vicinity of the site shall be adequate to serve the proposed project. If public utilities are not adequate to serve the project, the reviewing authority may require, as a condition of approval, off-site improvements to increase the capacity of such utilities sufficient to serve the project.

2. All utilities shall be placed under ground where physically feasible.

3.All commercial and industrial discharges to the sewage treatment plant shall be pretreated if required by the Water Department of Public Works to prevent overloading of the treatment plant. All discharges shall be in compliance with the Greenfield Sewer Use Regulations.

4.On-site storm water management measures shall be required to ensure that the rate of runoff from the site to the municipal storm sewer is not increased. Provision shall be made for on-going maintenance of on-site storm water management facilities connected to the public storm drain.

5. The Town may require recycling and/or commercial refuse disposal to prevent overloading of the municipal landfill and transfer station.

6. Municipal police and fire services shall not be strained by the proposed project. Adequate fire flows shall be available at the site. Improvements to the water system may be required to provide adequate service or on-site alternatives owned and maintained by the landowner may be required.

7.Provision of school bus service shall not require additional routes or buses at the expense of the Town. Phasing of residential bevel developments may be required to ensure that the public school system can meet the increased enrollment resulting from the project.

4.3 Environmental Standards

1.The project shall not create any significant emission of noise, dust, fumes, noxious gases, radiation, water pollutants, or any similar significant adverse environmental impact.

2. The project shall not cause erosion, flooding, sedimentation, or increase the rate of runoff from the site. Provision shall be made far attenuation of runoff pollutants. Groundwater recharge shall be provided where the Town deems it important.

3. The project shall be designed to minimize the destruction of wetlands, unique natural features, wildlife habitat, and rare or endangered species. Special effort shall be made to maintain wetlands, wetland buffer zones and corridors between wetlands and wooded uplands; wildlife travel corridors; existing diversity at plant communities; and to avoid alteration of areas most difficult to replicate.

4.The project shall not result in a reduction of groundwater recharge, deteriorate surface or groundwater, or negatively impact any public water supply recharge area or watershed. Commercial and industrial discharges of process waste water to the ground shall not be permitted.

5. Best available measures shall be used to prevent a discharge or spill of hazardous materials or wastes into the environment.

6. Buffers, setbacks, landscaping, and traffic circulation patterns shall be used to mitigate noise and air pollution impacts.

4.4 Community Standards

1.Provision shall be made for preserving historical features of the site. The project shall be compatible with the character and scale of neighboring properties especially historic structures or areas.

2.Building materials, architecture, and building placement shall minimize the visibility of buildings from distant vantage points, minimize obstruction of scenic views visible from public ways, and ensure compatibility with neighboring properties.

3.On-site recreation areas shall be provided for residential developments in areas where public recreational facilities are not available or if the capacity of nearby recreational facilities would be overburdened by the project.

4. Project siting and design shall be consistent with existing local plans and policies adopted by the Planning Board, Recreation Commission, Conservation Commission, Board of Selectmen or Town Council.

5. Adverse impact to the downtown business district shall be minimized through the use of joint marketing, hours of operation, products offered, and other measures to collaborate with downtown businesses.

4.5 Fiscal Impact Standards

1.The proposed project shall not have a significant adverse impact on the Town in terms of balancing as near as possible the cost of public services and public revenue provided through taxes and other income. The reviewing authority may require phasing of the project to minimize negative fiscal impacts to the Town over the short term.

2. The project shall be designed to minimize any negative impacts to adjoining property values.

3. The applicant shall demonstrate the financial ability to complete the prefect and to achieve long-term financial stability.

Zoning Bylaw Amendment
Adopted March 20, 1991


7.12.1 Purpose

Thepurpose of reviewing major developments is to provide for detailed review and approval of certain uses which have the potential for significant impact to the environment, abutting properties, Town services, traffic patterns, the economy of the Town, the character of the Town, or the public health, safety, and welfare of Town residents.

7.12.2 Application

The provisions of this section shall apply to the following uses:

1. All uses that generate 500 vehicle trips per day or more.

2. All uses that create 40 or more dwelling units.

3. All subdivisions of land into 40 or more lots.

4.All non-residential uses of 100,000 square feet of gross floor area or more in the Planned Industry District and 20,000 square feet or more of gross floor area in all other districts.

5. Any expansion of an existing use in which either the expansion or the expansion combined with the existing use meets or exceeds the above thresholds, and the expansion also exceeds twenty percent (20%) of the existing vehicle trips per day, or dwelling units, or lots, or gross floor area or 5,000 square feet whichever is more.

7.12.3 Review Procedures

Usessubject to this section shall require a permit and site plan approval in accordance with Sections 8.3 and. 8.4 of this Bylaw. The Special Permit Granting Authority shall be as follows:

1.For all uses which require a special permit in accordance with other sections of this Bylaw, the Special Permit Granting Authority (SPGA)for major developments shall be the same as the SPGA already designated.

2.For all uses which do not require e a special permit in other sections of this Bylaw, the Special Permit Granting Authority shall he the Planning Board.

7.12.4 Submittal Requirements

Inaddition to the submittal requirements for special permits and site plans in Sections 8.3 and 8.4 of this Bylaw, the following information shall also be submitted:

1. Facade elevations of any new construction and/or alteration to any existing building or structure.

2. Photographs showing the proposed building site and surrounding property.

3. An impact statement prepared in accordance with the Major Development Review Rules and Regulations for Impact Statements.

TheSpecial Permit Granting Authority may waive strict compliance with the submittal requirements if, in its opinion, the information required is deemed unnecessary or inapplicable to the review of the projects.

7.12.5 Criteria for Approval of a Major Development

TheSpecial Permit Granting Authority may issue a special permit for a major development only after finding that the proposed project will not adversely impact adjacent properties, the neighborhood, the Town or the environment. The following criteria shall be considered:

1. The special permit criteria in Section 8.3.6 of this Bylaw.

2. The site plan approval guidelines in Section 8.4.5 of this Bylaw.

3.The standards for evaluating the impacts of a project set forth in the Major Development Review Rules and Regulations for Impact Statements.

7.12.6 Conditions, Safeguards, Limitations for a Major Development

Ingranting a special permit for a major development, the Special Permit Granting Authority may impose conditions, safeguards, and limitations. Such conditions, safeguards, and limitations shall be in writing and may include but are not limited to the following:

1.Roadway construction improvements, bridge improvements, access and traffic controls, integration of public transportation, or other measure to mitigate adverse impacts.

2. Additional or alternative means of pedestrian movement within the site and leading to the site.

3.Provision for privately owned utilities, emergency services, or improvements to Town services required to adequately serve the needs of the proposed project, such as drainage, water, and sewer improvements.

4.Requirements for pre-treatment of wastes and management of storm water runoff on-site to mitigate impact to the Town’s sewers and storm drains.

5. Additional buffer zones, screening, and set-backs.

6. Provision for open space or preservation of views.

7.Alterations or restrictions in the appearance of structures or landscaping to preserve property values, preserve aesthetic or historic features, maintain compatibility with existing uses, and promote the attractiveness of the Town.

8. Provision for phasing construction of the development.

9. Provision for measures to mitigate impact to existing commercial areas particularly the downtown Central Commercial District.

10.Provisions for mitigating any other adverse impacts identified in the impact statement or by the Special Permit Granting Authority.

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.