Slum and Blight

Understanding a “Slum and Blight” Designation
The Town of Northbridge’s Office of Community Planning and Development has contracted with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to complete two comprehensive slums and blight inventories. These inventories will be restricted to the New Village and Rockdale neighborhoods. Over the next few months you may see PVPC staff members conducting a parcel-by-parcel inventory and evaluation by photographing and documenting property and infrastructure conditions. Conducting this type of field survey work is a required part of the designation process to get the most accurate up-to-date information.
Please Note: Initial field survey reconnaissance may extend outside and beyond the target area(s).
What does slum and blight designation mean?
Designating an area as slum and blight makes the Town eligible for funding to make improvements that it might not otherwise have the ability to. Under the federal Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), one of three CDBG National Objectives must be met in order to be eligible for funding. These are 1) Benefit to Low and Moderate Income Persons 2) Prevention and/or the Elimination of Slum and Blight or 3) Urgent or Critical Need.
An area which meets the Commonwealth’s definition of a “substandard, blighted, or decadent” area qualifies under the federal CDBG National Objection of the Prevention and /or Elimination of Slum and Blight. It does not mean the area designated is a slum. Under the federal standard, a mere 25% of properties must be in observable, deteriorating condition and/or abandonment. Properties built prior to 1978 are presumed to have lead and are considered to be a deficiency. Similarly, known brownfield sites, deteriorating public facilities (streets, sidewalks, water, sewer, drainage) and high turnover and/or vacancy rates are contributing factors to meeting the Commonwealth’s definition of a substandard, blighted, or decadent area.
What does this mean for my property?
Slum and blight designation means nothing for your property. If your property is located in the designated area that does not mean that your home or business is “blighted”. Blight is a legal term used solely for the purposes of determining whether a community can qualify for certain funding for redevelopment. Some areas that qualify for redevelopment have well-maintained homes and businesses interspersed among deteriorating structures.
So what does this all mean?
It means that slum and blight are dirty words that most cities and towns would seem to want to avoid. It does not mean that a city or town is, in fact, a slum. The Town of Northbridge, as well as hundreds of other places across the country, has sought out this designation because of the significant redevelopment benefits that can result. This designation will not only make more federal funds available to the town, but it will also make the town more competitive in receiving those funds.
PDF icon slumblight_info.pdf56.93 KB
PDF icon slumblight_timeline.pdf61.17 KB