Braintree Chamber of Commerce Responds to Town’s Call for Public Comment Regarding Draft Vision Statement for the New Master Plan
The Braintree Chamber of Commerce board of directors has responded to a call for public comment regarding a draft vision statement for Braintree’s new Master Plan. The Master Plan will guide Braintree’s development, infrastructure, and preservation activities for the next decade.
Below is the board’s letter to the Braintree Master Plan Steering Committee.
Braintree Master Plan Steering Committee
c/o Melissa M. SantucciRozzi, Planning Director
1 John F. Kennedy Memorial Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
Re: Proposed Vision Statement, Master Plan
Dear Steering Committee Members,
The Braintree Chamber of Commerce Board would like to provide business feedback and suggestions with respect to the proposed vision statement to be discussed at the next Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting on November 17, 2022. Our comments specifically address elements relating to business and commerce.
First and foremost, we would like to thank you for volunteering your time, energy, and expertise toward this important undertaking. Planning is hard work, and consensus-building is even harder. Our business community recognizes and appreciates your diligence, transparency, and conscientious approach. Further, our Board—which comprises small business owners, current residents, and business leaders with decades of personal history in our town—shares your vision of making Braintree the best it can be. We appreciate this opportunity to participate in the process.
Before our recommendations, we would like to make three general points on behalf of our business community.
#1. Braintree relies on contributions from a variety of business types and sizes.
We heartily agree with all aspects of the draft vision statement that promote thriving villages, vibrant commercial squares, and local businesses.
We also believe Braintree should recognize and support the full range of business types and sizes that together drive Braintree’s economic goals and support the town’s budgetary needs.
The fiscal health that Braintree has enjoyed historically and seeks to strengthen for the future is not the result of a single spoke on the economic wheel but rather many spokes spinning together. Supporting a wide range of businesses—including the commercial villages, commercial corridors, office and industrial parks, and the South Shore Plaza—will help Braintree achieve its goals.
#2. Braintree’s tax base draws heavily from business and multi-family housing.
As evidence of the value of Braintree’s business community, we would like to share data points regarding the town’s tax base:
#3. Braintree’s businesses operate and succeed as part of a larger ecosystem.
Braintree’s business community is a thriving ecosystem of larger and smaller businesses that complement each other, which enhances the entire town. Changes to the tenant mix can create challenges that require a shared commitment by the public sector and private sector to finding solutions.
For example, when Haemonetics vacated its space on Wood Road in 2019, local businesses felt an immediate impact through loss of retail sales, decreased hotel bookings, and fewer lunchtime diners. We are excited that Integra LifeSciences is moving its production facility to this site due to efforts by the property owner and Mayor Kokoros’s leadership, which will bring approximately 150 new jobs to town and boost the customer base of local businesses.
In business areas that rely on customer traffic, such as Braintree’s commercial villages, changes to the business mix can also present challenges. A good example is South Braintree Square. Over the years we have seen the departure of restaurants with high evening-hours traffic and their replacement with businesses that operate consistently during the day. These establishments undoubtedly provide a sought-after service, but they also heighten demand for the limited daytime parking available in the municipal lot.
Vibrant community squares require parking and accessible walkways. For possible solutions, we can look to the findings of a 2021 planning initiative known as the Rapid Recovery Plan for South Braintree Square. This plan was funded through a state grant and drafted with participation by Town of Braintree Planning Director Melissa SantucciRozzi and Assistant Director Connor Murphy, the Braintree Chamber of Commerce through its Chair, Kimberly Kroha, and Town Counsel through President and District 5 Councilor, Meredith Boericke.
The plan offered several ideas for the town to consider, including:
Without infrastructure improvements in all of our village squares, their businesses cannot maximize their potential. The number of available parking spaces in each of Braintree’s squares is a limiting factor that requires outside the box solutions.
Our Recommended Changes to the Draft Vision Statement
With the points above in mind, we suggest the following edit to core theme #2 of the draft vision statement:
In 2033, Braintree will have…
2. Economic growth policies that promote a diverse range of strong, vibrant businesses within the village squares, commercial corridors, office and industrial parks, and South Shore Plaza area.
Additionally, we suggest incorporating the following themes into the overall vision statement:
Thank you for your time and consideration. We invite any members of the Steering Committee to reach out to the Braintree Chamber at email@example.com or directly to any of the Board members (www.braintreechamber.com).
Please note we would like to share this letter with the community via the Braintree Chamber’s website and social media.
The Braintree Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
CC: Braintree Chamber of Commerce members
Mayor Charles Kokoros
Braintree Town Council members
 Source: Tax Levies by Class, data current as of 11/09/2022, MA Dept. of Revenue, Div of Local Services.
 Source: Phase 1 Existing Conditions Report (draft), September 2022, page 58
 Calculation: Assessed value of $333,835,900 for Parcel No. 2089 0 22, 250 Granite Street, in 2021 x Commercial/Industrial tax rate of $21.63/$1,000 (Braintree Assessor webpage).
 Source: Fiscal Year 2022 Expense by Category, prepared for the Braintree Master Plan Committee, available at:
 Source: Town of Braintree Local Estimated Receipts, Fiscal Year 2023 https://braintreema.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9418/6-Local-Receipts?bidId=
 Source: Phase 1 Existing Conditions Report (draft), September 2022, page 37, showing 64% of housing in 2020 as 1 unit detached housing.
 The 2021 Rapid Recovery Plan
The Braintree Chamber of Commerce participated in the Rapid Recovery Plan for South Braintree Square during the summer and fall of 2021. The Braintree Rapid Recovery Team was made up of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, MAPC (Principal Planner, Ralph Willmer), the Braintree Planning and Zoning Departments (Planning Director, Melissa Santucci-Rozzi and Zoning Planner, Connor Murphy), Braintree Chamber of Commerce (Chair, Kim Kroha), and District 5 Town Councilor (Meredith Boericke).
Contributions to the program from MAPC and subject matter experts on each identified recovery goal was funded by a state grant. The Local Rapid Recovery Planning (RRP) program is a key part of a strategy established to help communities stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy as a result of the economic impacts brought on by COVID-19. In support of the overall recovery strategy, the Baker Administration made $9.5 million in awards for 125 communities to create Local Rapid Recovery Plans, through the MA Downtown Initiative Program. These plans address the impacts of COVID-19 on local downtowns and small businesses by partnering with Plan Facilitators and Subject Matter Experts to pursue locally-driven, actionable strategies.
Although the program did not include money for follow up work to implement the goals, there was some funding left over for a distinct project. The Braintree Chamber is excited to announce that MAPC is leading an effort by the team to create a Braintree Business Guide focused on steps for approval of new businesses in Braintree, which has been a goal of the Chamber for many years.
Please review the full final report for additional information, but key goals identified and recommendations are listed below.
There is ongoing discussion about how some of these items can actually be implemented, please let us hear from you with any ideas, comments, or questions.