Q1. What is a Master Plan?
Northborough’s Master Plan will serve as a road map for the community to follow as it considers decisions, both large and small, over the next twenty years. This plan will be Northborough’s vision for the future and strategic outline for getting there. The plan is a policy guide that provides a framework for making development and zoning decisions.
The planning process includes an assessment of existing resources and issues, projections of future conditions and needs, and consideration of collective goals and desires. While the emphasis is on buildings and infrastructure, it does not ignore the important social, natural resource and economic values of the community. The Master Plan is a method of translating the community's values into specific actions. Shorter-term reviews will keep it current and relevant to the changing needs of the community and is closely coordinated with other municipal documents and initiatives.
The Master Plan is NOT a zoning ordinance, a subdivision regulation, a budget, a capital improvement program or other regulatory document. It is meant to be the basis for the preparation of these elements.
Q2. How can Northborough make use of its Master Plan?
The purpose of the Master Plan is to enable municipal officials to better manage change and to inform residents and businesses about the community's characteristics, trends, and policies. The plan will guide municipal actions, including the regulation of future residential, commercial and industrial growth in Northborough.
Q3. What does a Community Master Plan contain?
The plan contains the following sections, according to the requirements set out by Massachusetts General Laws for a comprehensive (master) plan.
- Vision, Goals and Policies. This first section calls for a goals and policies statement. This is where Northborough will identify and clarify its’ values, create goals and a Community Vision.
- Land Use
- Transportation, Circulation and Parking
- Economic Development
- Open Space and Recreation
- Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources
- Facilities, Services and Partnerships
- Implementation/Action Plan. This final section outlines the recommended actions, schedule, responsible parties, and notes funding sources for the specific actions necessary to achieve the objectives of each element above.
Q4. What does the Northborough Master Planning process look like?
The Master Planning process can be broken down into four major tasks.
- Step 1 includes public participation and outreach through public forums, the media and the website. Meetings with stakeholder groups will also be conducted.
- Step 2 consists of data collection and analysis and is the planning phase that determines the content of the plan for all elements.
- Step 3 is when the draft plan is produced for public review and comment, and includes implementation actions.
- Step 4 is the time for final review, documentation, and adoption of the plan by the Planning Board.
Q5. How will people in the community participate and learn what is going on during the Master Planning process?
Specific meetings will be advertised and conducted to solicit and encourage community participation. A variety of means will be used to keep people informed, for example, newspaper, cable TV, newsletters, and town website. If you ever want to know what is happening, contact the Planning Office (508-393-5019) at Town Hall, or visit the department’s website.