Shrewsbury Master Plan discussed by selectmen

By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer

Shrewsbury – Updating the existing Master Plan was discussed at the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen’s meeting June 28. Kristen Las, Shrewsbury assistant town manager and economic development coordinator, made the presentation.

The Master Plan is a “road map” that shows what the town wants to do and identifies the issues that are unique to Shrewsbury. It is used to make decisions about growth, economic development, cultural and historic resource protection, transportation improvements, and public services. The plan encompasses Land Use, Economic Development, Open Space and Recreation, Housing, Transportation, Public Services and Facilities, and Natural and Cultural Resources.

The plan is initiated by the Master Plan Steering Committee which then sends it to the Planning Board for approval and then on to Town Meeting for adoption. The next step is for the Board of Selectmen to create a new Master Plan Steering Committee.

Las suggested a 7- to 10-member committee be appointed by the board, to make recommendations with, perhaps, several sub-committees assisting.

Selectman John Lebeaux asked how the selectmen did this last in 2002. He suggested that sub-committees not be appointed by the board, to which Selectman Henry Fitzgerald added that they needed to ensure that such a committee be only advisory in nature, not a final authority.

“I don’t remember anyone or anything about the last committee,” he added. “This may be an opportunity to put more emphasis on planning.”

Selectman James Kane asked for a memo on what had been discussed and an organizational chart for the next meeting’s approval.

Las then spoke on the Complete Street Program. According to the Mass. Department of Transportation, a Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, biking, transit and vehicles – for people of all ages and abilities.

Funding may not be available until after 2017, according to Las, but such a program could involve such roads as the Route 140/Main Street stretch. The community would be eligible for a $50,000 study and if approved, eligible for an additional $400,000 for construction. It might be used to construct sidewalks. Las said that she was not asking for approval of anything at the June 28 meeting, but wanted the board to know about it as it has benefitted other communities.

Lebeaux recommended that the town adopt the program when funds are available. Kane added that in his experience with this program, roads are expanded dramatically, such as adding bike paths which are never used, resulting with two 6- to 8-foot wide sidewalks on each side, which in turn requires more plowing in winter. He said that Las was correct in bringing this program before the board, “but we need to be cautious.” The board agreed that this policy needed more study and asked Las to have additional material prepared for the end of July.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=76357

Posted by on Jun 30 2016. Filed under Byline Stories, Shrewsbury, This Just In. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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