Strategic Community Engagement Campaign for $100M Business Park

The Opportunity

BG was tasked with securing Town Meeting approval for a bylaw change that a national development firm needed to build a proposed $100-million, 1.4-million SF business park in the Town of Uxbridge, MA. A well-known Boston-based commercial developer needed to amend the Town of Uxbridge’s zoning table of use before moving forward with a plan to build a new business park. The developer couldn’t move forward until the zoning issues were settled and the project’s abutters were vocal opponents, as were some other voters in town. A secondary challenge facing the development team was that Uxbridge has an open Town Meeting form of government in which all 9,000+ registered voters can attend Town Meeting and vote, making targeted voter identification difficult. Additionally, because this was a zoning change, it required a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting, another challenging threshold to overcome.

The Strategy

BG created and implemented a multilayered community engagement campaign to mitigate negativity, while consolidating support. A second task was to effort the support of influential boards and commissions in Town and secure the necessary favorable recommendations to compel the Town’s legislative body to support the zoning initiative.

When Belfort Group (BG) conducted an in-depth examination of the town and its main players, we saw a community looking to build up its corporate tax base, create new jobs, and increase revenue in a way that wouldn’t strain town services – all boxes checked by our client’s proposed business park. BG crafted messaging focusing on the financial and economic benefits to the town, along with our client’s stellar track record on similar projects in the region. All of that information went into personalized letters strategically sent to voters identified by BG.

The Result

BG successfully and overwhelmingly secured the necessary two-thirds vote for both Town Meeting warrant articles to allow the project to move forward. Not only did the two Town Meeting warrant articles pass, they passed with only 20 combined “no” votes. Due to all the work put into messaging and addressing residents’ concerns before Town Meeting even started, not a single person opposed to the project spoke on Town Meeting floor. Voters had so much information that the two warrant articles passed without our client having to present or speak at all on Town Meeting floor.