Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Community Master Plan?
A Community Master Plan tells a community what it looks like today
and what direction it has decided it wants to go for the future;
it includes assessments of existing resources and issues, projections
of future conditions and needs, and consideration of collective
goals and desires is a policy guide and provides a framework for
the physical development of the municipality. While the emphasis
is on buildings and infrastructure, it reinforces the important
social and economic values of the community. The master plan is
a method of translating the community's values into specific actions
covers a time frame of about 10-20 years; it is assumed that shorter-term
reviews will keep it current with the changing needs of the community
is closely integrated with other municipal planning documents and
initiatives, for example in Charlton, the Open Space & Recreation
Plan, Tri-Community (Charlton, Sturbridge, Southbridge) Corridor
Planning Study, Economic Development Analysis of the Rt. 169 Corridor,
etc. The Master Plan is NOT a zoning by-law, 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.
How can Charlton 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 and regulate future residential, commercial and industrial
growth in the Charlton community.
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)
- The first
section calls for a goals and policies statement. It requires
each community to clarify values, create goals and identify patterns
of development that will be consistent with these goals.
- Land Use
- Natural and
- Town Services
- The final
section, Implementation, defines schedules and notes funding sources
for the specific actions necessary to achieve the objectives of
each element above.
What does the Charlton master planning process look like?
The master planning process contains four tasks.
- Task 1
consists of data collection and analysis, visioning with the public,
and producing an "assets and liabilities" report that provides
baseline data for planning.
- Task 2
is the planning phase that determines the content of the plan
for all elements.
- Task 3
is when the draft plan is produced for public review and comment,
and includes implementation actions.
- Task 4
is the time for final review, documentation, and adoption of the
plan by the Planning Board.
How will people in the community participate and learn what is going
on during the master planning process?
All planning meetings are open to the public. Specific meetings
will be advertised 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 web site. If you ever
want to know what is happening, contact the Planning Board Office
at Town Hall, or visit the master plan website.