Town Receives Climate Change Grant

The Town of Winthrop as part of the Metro Mayors Coalition Region has received a $99,740 grant through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program – which is to fund climate change resilience projects.

A total of $10.3 million was awarded to 34 communities across Massachusetts including Winthrop. The project is a Climate Resilient Land Use initiative.

“Climate change is an ongoing issue facing our coastal communities like Winthrop, and this grant will help the community move forward an important land use program,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “This summer I’m looking forward to taking up the House’s GreenWorks legislation – a 10-year, $1 billion climate and clean energy imitative – which will give communities access to additional grants aimed at addressing the effects of climate change.”

 Much of this work has been done in Winthrop with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

Town Manager Austin Faison said he is excited to partner with MAPC and be a lead community in resiliency zoning.

“This will help set the table on master planning projects for the town,” Faison said.

The project, totaling $135,900 builds upon the existing collaborative efforts in the Greater Boston area to address climate resilience through land use tools and policies. Land use tools and policies such as zoning ordinances (including overlay districts), site plan review, and resilient design guidelines can help prepare a municipality long-term for the impacts of climate change. Land use tools and policies can be used to:

·  Shift development out of harm’s way (i.e. the flood zone)

·  Protect natural systems and open space that provide resilience benefits

·  Strengthen built infrastructure (such as homes and businesses)

·  Enable and encourage the use of green infrastructure to address climate impacts

·  Require and incentive resilient building and design practices

As more communities continue to feel the impacts of climate change, they are looking to update their land use policies and tools through the lens of climate resilience.

The Town of Winthrop is a coastal community with seven miles of shoreline. The MVP Planning (2018) process, as well as previous study “Resilient Winthrop: Designing Coastal Community Infrastructure for Climate Change” (2017), identified that the Town is vulnerable to flooding, extreme storms, extreme heat, and geographic isolation. Flooding comes from several different sources including Sea Level Rise (SLR), coastal storms/storm surge, inland/riverine flooding, and urban flooding. Much of Winthrop is already developed, densely populated, and has significant amount of impervious surfaces.

“The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is thrilled to work with the Town of Winthrop on this MVP Action Grant to research and develop climate resilient zoning,” said Rebecca Davis, Deputy Director, MAPC. “For our coastal communities threatened by storms and sea-level rise, as well as all communities threatened by flooding and extreme temperatures, MAPC seeks to encourage local land use policies that can help us to adapt, reduce impacts, and protect future development. As part of this grant, MAPC will gather and share lessons with the 15 communities in the Metro Mayors Climate (MMC) Preparedness Taskforce, of which Winthrop is a member, to expand resources and scale up best practices. We are grateful to the State’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for supporting this important work. ”

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