Five communities win smart growth awards

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Boston, Brookline, Groton, Kingston and the Devens Enterprise Commission in December received the state’s Smart Growth/Smart Energy awards.

The annual awards are intended to reflect sustainable development principles such as supporting revitalization of community centers, concentrating development in ways that conserve land, expanding renewable energy, and increasing access to transportation options.

Boston was recognized for the role of the Ashmont Grill restaurant in Dorchester as a catalyst for area revitalization efforts. The restaurant features an outdoor patio with a surrounding garden and permeable pavers that absorb storm water runoff as well as hardwood floors milled from salvaged or recycled wood. Grease recycled from kitchen waste at the restaurant is used for biodiesel fuel.

Brookline earned a smart growth award for the renovated Train Memorial Health Center, a municipal building that features a 25-kilowatt rooftop solar panel array designed to provide up to 40 percent of the building’s electric needs. Other features include an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system, low-flow toilets and waterless urinals, and automatic light sensors and faucets.

Groton’s Station Avenue redevelopment plan fostered integrated development in the town center. Without the plan, the 16 individual parcels would have been developed without community input and without consideration of how they fit into Groton’s long-term planning goals.

In Kingston, the town’s Chapter 40R smart growth zoning district was described by judges as a premier example of successful land planning and regulatory reform, combining strong community involvement and a public-private partnership.

The Devens Enterprise Commission, responsible for the former military base comprising parts of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, was lauded for its work over the years in promoting and implementing innovations in land-use planning, industrial development, and smart growth practices.

The award-winning projects will be used as case studies in state outreach and education efforts and featured on the state’s Smart Growth/Smart Energy Web page (

The awards were presented by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on Dec. 7 in Worcester.