Page 28 - BusinessWest April 28, 2021
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  Architecture & Engineering
A New Environment
Pandemic Slows — but Doesn’t Stop — Development and Regulation
The world of development — and all the stakeholders who interact within in, from contractors to engineers; from regulators to municipal officials — have certainly been impacted by COVID-19, mainly because they weren’t able
to meet in person anymore. But they adjusted to this new reality, and even learned from it — and continue to grapple with other changes as well, most notably in environmental compliance. To hash out some of these developments (pun intended), five leaders from several interconnected fields spoke with BusinessWest about the lingering effects of the pandemic and how they anticipate pivoting to the next set of changes.
 WBy Joseph Bednar
hen COVID-19 forced a shutdown of the economy 13 months ago, Jeff Daley said, the impact on development was immedi- ate.
“Everything came to a grinding halt,” the president and CEO of Westmass Area Development Corp. told BusinessWest. “The first
few days, watching the economy tank, people were scared — they didn’t know where this was going to go.”
It became clear over the next several weeks, however, that projects would contin- ue, and Westmass ramped back up fairly quickly, even as the health implications of the pandemic remained daunting (and, of course, still linger, despite the availability of vaccines).
“It changed the way we did business, though,” Daley added. “Zoom calls with state agencies and local agencies increased from zero to 100% in the first few months. We had to adjust quickly to having meetings and approvals and denials with a different form of communication.
“I give credit to towns and cities across the Commonwealth; everyone adapted really quickly,” he went on. “We saw some hiccups at the beginning of the pandemic, but when things started ticking up again, it appeared state agencies really had their stuff together, as well as cities and towns.”
Daley recently took part in a wide-ranging roundtable discussion with Business- West about the impact of the pandemic on development and environmental regula-
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