Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action Project

Incorporating Climate Adaptation and Resilience into Local Development By-laws and Regulations

The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts wanted to proactively pursue climate adaptation and resiliency through updating local by-laws and regulations. Weston & Sampson assisted the town by conducting an extensive literature review of regional and national examples and then reviewed 23 of the town’s by-laws, regulations, and guidelines to identify gaps and opportunities to incorporate climate resiliency language. We identified that the following had the greatest opportunity:

  • Wetlands By-Law and Regulations
  • Stormwater Management By-Law and Regulations
  • Zoning By-Law Sections:
    • Floodplain Overlay District
    • Land Disturbing Activities and Stormwater Management
    • Dimensional Requirements
    • Vehicular Service Uses Requirements

Weston & Sampson provided an in-depth analysis and recommendations on how to promote nature-based solutions and strategies such as green infrastructure (GI), low impact development (LID), open space protection, and floodplain protection. We also developed targeted recommendations for resilient site plan review standards and guidelines for new and renovated projects across all sectors: residential, commercial, open space and recreation, and institutional. The information was presented at Brookline’s 2019 Climate Summit in addition to being discussed with key municipal staff.

As a result of this extensive analysis, Weston & Sampson recommended by-laws and regulation amendments that both encourage and mandate climate-resilient best management practices. In addition, we developed a guide and checklist to help owners and developers make decisions to better protect their properties from climate change impacts and improve the overall benefits to the environment and community. The standards and checklists are intended to limit storm and flood damage, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce impervious surfaces, and improve ecosystem resiliency.

For more information about the project, please see The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts Climate Resilience Design Guidance or The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts Climate Resilience Planning Tools

This project was funded through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Grant Program.


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