Southborough welcomes new business

Above: Some of the faces on the town’s Development Coordination Group. The group was formed to guide businesses through Southborough’s permitting process. (Image from Southborough Business Development Guide)

The Town has newly published an online Southborough Business Development Guide. It opens with a letter from selectmen welcoming businesses to town.

This Guidebook has been prepared in an effort to introduce you to town departments and officials in Southborough and to assist you when seeking required permits for project development.

To further embrace new business, the town has formed a team of coordinators to help businesses move into or grow in-town.

The seven member Development Coordination Group crosses important town boards and departments:

The Group includes the Town Planner (Chair), Selectman or designee, Building Inspector, Superintendent of Public Works, Board of Health agent, Police Chief and Fire Chief or their designee and the Conservation Administrator. To facilitate the permitting process, we encourage you to meet with the Group even before you formally submit your applications. This will allow you to present your project to the various departments, ask questions, determine your initial steps, and solicit feedback.

Businesses are also invited to solicit help from the Economic Development Committee. The EDC was the main force behind the new guide – in conjunction with the DCG Chair.

The EDC has been working to identify ways to make it easier for businesses to move and grow in Southborough. The committee determined that easier navigation of the permitting process was a critical piece. Committee Chair Dave McCay explained to me:

Many towns have some form of a development guide to provide residents, business owners and developers with key permitting contacts and basic information on the permitting process. Southborough, however, did not have one. Recognizing this was a key (and missing) resource, the Economic Development Committee made this a priority.

The new guide is one piece of their efforts to streamline the process. They are also working to have a special interface on the town website for businesses.

The guide works in conjunction with the previously published Business, Nonprofit & Community Guide. That guide was privately funded by the Economic Development Team. (EDT is a community organization of volunteers that doesn’t report to the Town. It predates the Town’s committee, the EDC.)

EDT created the first guide to market the community as a place where businesses can thrive. It gives an overview of the town’s community, resources, businesses, and non-profits.

With references to planned future developments and lists of businesses in town, the 2011 guide is in need of an update. That is something the EDC has said it hopes to fund through next year’s budget.  (Although, what will likely get more attention from Town Meeting voters is their request to fund a part-time coordinator.)

As for the new development guide, McCay says a lot of effort went into it. He asked me to share this thanks:

The Committee thanks and acknowledges the special efforts of Jen Burney, the Town Planner, and Dave Monroe, along with the support of the Town Administrator, the Selectmen and the various department heads, in assisting our efforts to complete the Guide.

Of course, the guide is just an aid. The selectmen’s introduction was careful to caveat that it is not a compilation of all regulations:

This Guidebook is not intended to address all development issues, but is a summary only and should be utilized in conjunction with the town’s website where the towns rules and regulations can be found.

Updated (4/8/15 12:57 pm): Fixed misspelling of David McCay’s last name. Sorry!

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