The primary responsibility of the Community Development and Planning Department is working with the community to develop a common vision for its future and to “take actions that transform that vision into reality.”
In a report to the Select Board on Feb. 2, Community Development and Planning Director Chris DiIorio explained that in order to fulfill that mission, the department serves and works directly with a number of committees and boards, conducts “inclusive planning processes,” and secures local, regional, state, federal, and other resources to improve the quality of life for Hull residents.
“There’s always something new going on in our office – it’s pretty exciting,” DiIorio said. “Almost everything we do and the projects we work on are efforts to address our mission.”
In 2021, the department approved special permits, performed site plan review, or considered proposed modifications more than 20 times and issued seven permits for new commercial units and 63 multi-family units.
In addition, the department was involved with seven planning studies and reports and managed 75 active home-improvement loans for Hull residents under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant.
The reports and studies include the Unified Work Plan, Open Space and Recreation, Pemberton, Complete Streets Prioritization, Housing Production, and Local Rapid Recovery plans and Fort Revere Tower and Village Fire Station assessments, along with working with the Hull Redevelopment Authority on an Urban Renewal Plan.
The Unified Work Plan integrates eight earlier plans and studies focused on the improvement and revitalization of the Nantasket Beach area and offers a strategy for short- and long-term implementation.
Helping local businesses recover from economic losses related to the pandemic is the goal of Hull’s Local Rapid Recovery Plan.
Complete Streets refers to roads that provide safe and accessible options for travel for not only vehicles but also for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Once the studies and plans are complete, the next step is to try to secure state and federal funding to bring them to reality,” DiIorio said.
A key role of the department is helping developers through the review and permitting process “to ensure compatibility with what the town boards [reviewing different proposals and projects] are looking for,” DiIorio said.
The department was involved with the online Save the Ferry initiative petition, which was “signed” by 800 supporters in opposition to proposed transit cuts and worked in collaboration with the Hull Redevelopment Authority on its plan to construct a gazebo on a bayside parcel between Bay Street and Edgewater Road to host concerts, performances, celebrations, photo shoots, and other community events.
Other projects the department has been involved with include installation of signage for open space areas and the Gunrock, Village, Friend Park, and Hampton Circle playgrounds.
Other activities include working with the Economic Development Committee and involvement with the Nantasket-area marketing effort, dredging work around Nantasket Pier, and the Mezzo Mare outdoor patio.
“Even through the challenges of COVID, the town is moving in a good direction,” DiIorio said. “The quality of life for residents is improving, and funding is available for construction of projects identified in our planning documents.”
The challenge continues to be the need for more staffing and the “ability to take advantage of available funding,” according to DiIorio.
Town Manager Philip Lemnios commended the department’s work. “They have a lot on their plate, including working with multiple boards and committees,” he said.
DiIorio’s presentation is posted on the Community Development and Planning Department page at www.town.hull.ma.us.