Master Plan Process

Public Participation Component

Public forums and community meetings are planned (please keep checking for the dates and times for these meetings). The first one was held on Thursday, June 12, 2018, at the Melican Middle School at 6:30 p.m. (More meeting details here), which will allow residents to describe the Northborough they envision in twenty years. Participants will meet in breakout groups to discuss community character.

An important product of this task is the Vision Statement that identifies the Northborough of the future. The Vision Statement is distilled from lots of input from the community gathered during interviews and the public forum where residents and business owners are invited to supply their own personal visions for the future of Northborough.

Existing Conditions and Trends Analysis

In this phase, we identify where we are today; what is our current state of the Town - existing projects, finances, infrastructure, etc.; what do the current trends, economic conditions, and demographics tell us about our town and where it might be headed.

VHB will work with the Planning staff and Steering Committee to conduct an initial inventory of existing conditions in Northborough. This inventory will establish a baseline to help frame the analysis of the various Master Plan elements. Work will include performing a reconnaissance of the Town and its surrounding environs, collecting data and assessing base information (building on recent planning efforts already completed), and reviewing and summarizing existing and any recently completed planning studies. As part of this task, VHB will undertake the following:

  1. Conduct site reconnaissance fieldwork including identification of Town land and building use, protected and unprotected natural resource areas, recently approved developments (or areas proposed/being considered for development), wetlands and water resource areas, and an overall assessment of general physical conditions in the Town, including utilities and infrastructure.
  2. Assemble available base data (reports, plans, mapping, Geographic Information System (GIS) databases, etc.) from Town staff and confirm that necessary data is available for study of the various plan elements.
  3. Review and evaluate existing relevant studies and assess the implications of the studies and their findings for short- and long-term planning initiatives.
  4. Evaluate existing land use and development patterns in Town and assess uses to determine whether the existing inventory meets community goals. Consideration will also be given to regional development trends that may impact future Town development. Constraints to future development such as wetlands and other natural resources are evaluated, and the current zoning regulations are evaluated in order to predict the location and intensity of potential future development. Changes to the zoning bylaws may be considered as a means to achieve the future land use vision for the Town.

In this phase, VHB digs into the details of each plan element (or topic) and develop specific plans that will lead to the vision for that particular element. Based on the data collected and analyzed, and using the community vision as a guide, a plan will be developed for each Master Plan topic. A concrete set of recommendations will be made to implement plan goals and objectives. There will be continued community involvement during this phase.

Draft Master Plan and Implementation Strategies

During this phase, VHB, with the participation of the Planning staff and Steering Committee, will prepare the elements for the Draft Master Plan for review and comment. VHB will also be preparing GIS maps to identify the location of important resources and land use areas of Northborough.

One important aspect of the Plan will be the Implementation element, which will be a straightforward, step-by-step guide for the Town to implement the Master Plan through specific policies and other steps. This plan will include both short- and long-term action strategies.

The Implementation element will include an action plan that summarizes the actions that each party (e.g. Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Town Council, etc.) will be responsible for completing within various timeframes. VHB will also develop an Action Plan Map that illustrates the key points of the implementation plan. The map will incorporate any proposed zoning changes.

Final Master Plan

This last segment of the project will see the compilation of all pertinent data, information, maps, etc. into the final documents with a final Implementation Plan. VHB will prepare draft documents for review by the Town Council, Planning Board, stakeholders, and any other interested parties. There will be ample time to review and incorporate any relevant changes.

Public Meeting Announced

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Melican Middle School

More info here »


 Sign up for updates

The Living Master Plan

Remember, the Northborough Master Plan will be a living document. It will need to be reviewed at least once a year and updated periodically. The Planning Board or some other entity will be charged with overseeing the Implementation Plan and coordinating the efforts of the parties identified as having responsibilities for implementing the plan. As conditions change, and as various sections of the plan are implemented, the Town may find additional projects and/or strategies with which to achieve our goals and objectives.

Master Plan Milestone Events

There are a series of Milestone Events where the entire community is invited to participate and contribute directly to the data and information gathering process. These events are generally described below; check the Schedule or the Town’s Comprehensive Calendar for specific dates, times, and locations.

Public Kick-off (Meeting #1):

  • Kick-off meeting to bring everyone up to speed on planning process
  • Questions and answers about content and process
  • Brief snapshot of Northborough demographic and land use statistics
  • Input on community character and the future vision for Northborough
  • Breakout group reports

Draft Master Plan chapters will be posted to this website starting mid-2018.

Planning staff and Master Plan Steering Committee meetings:

  • Oversee planning process and review content of plan elements
  • Assist in public outreach
  • Review draft and final implementation plan

Outcomes: 1) Revisions for plan elements and draft implementation plan. 2) Scrutinized implementation steps and the identification of potential funding sources as they relate to the goals and strategies for each element. 3) Input on determining implementation priorities.

Final Master Plan to be presented in early 2019.

Master Plan Contents

As prepared and submitted to the Planning Board, Master Plan documents will be posted here for your review. Northborough residents and stakeholders will have a few weeks to review them and make comments.

Of course, they will be continually reviewed and updated as necessary as part of the on-going Master Planning process.

  • Vision, Goals and Policies
  • Land Use
  • Transportation, Circulation and Parking
  • Housing
  • Economic Development
  • Amenities
    • Open Space and Recreation
    • Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources
  • Facilities, Services and Partnerships
  • Implementation/Action Plan