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In Historic Vote, Towns Approve Senior Housing, Health Care for Devens

June 9, 2015


Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)

During three simultaneous town meetings – Super Town Meeting – on June 8, Ayer, Harvard, and Shirley approved three of four warrant articles for zoning changes in Devens. The measures that the Towns supported in this first-of-its-kind approval will allow for up to 120 units of senior housing and health care uses in the Shirley Village Growth District, along with protecting open space at Rogers Field and the Willow Brook corridor through a zoning swap. Though Ayer and Shirley voted in support on the fourth article, Harvard’s vote against defeated the measure to rezone the southern end of the Grant Road district for commercial use. 

“Ayer, Harvard and Shirley made history last night by voting in support of three of the four proposed zoning changes in Devens,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We are thrilled to move forward with senior housing and health care in the Shirley Village Growth District, along with preserving open space in Devens. 

“Unfortunately, the failure of Article 4 is a missed opportunity for the Commonwealth and the Nashoba Valley given the paucity of parcels primed for major economic development,” Jones continued. “The zoning change would have provided a large site with infrastructure in place to accommodate a large bio-technology user in Devens. There are very few sites of this scale, zoned and ready for development in the Commonwealth.” 

“On behalf of the Shirley Board of Selectmen, we are extremely pleased with the results of the Super Town Meeting,” said David Swain, Chair of the Shirley Board of Selectmen. “It shows what can happen when a Town gets together with MassDevelopment to work on a project that will benefit area seniors.”

“The Shirley Economic Development Committee is very pleased with the vote last night and appreciate the efforts of MassDevelopment and particularly Ed Starzec and his team to bring this projected development to the table so successfully,” said Shirley Economic Development Committee Chair Jackie Esielionis. “They have worked extremely hard on this issue for the past few years.  We are looking forward to benefiting with some appropriate development on some of our ‘Shirley’ land.  The area seniors are the real winners and, hopefully, soon they will have more housing available to them and be able to continue to live in the area.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2014, MassDevelopment financed or managed 314 projects generating investment of more than $2.9 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 6,300 jobs and build or rehabilitate more than 1,600 residential units.