North Adams Residents focus on master plan
NORTH ADAMS -- Vision 2030 is beginning to come into focus.
During a public hearing this week on the city's first comprehensive master plan in 40 years, residents received the chance to weigh in on how the changes would be implemented.
"What we have to think about is not everything may be implemented either at all or immediately," said city planner Mackenzie Greer. "Hopefully we get to the vast majority of these things. But what we need to do is go through a process where we start to prioritize how these items get implemented."
The plan sets long-term goals for the city to accomplish in areas including open space and recreation, infrastructure -- including roads and water and sewer mains -- economic development and the city's housing stock.
Greer said the steering committee already has identified no- and low-cost items that can be put into place soon, but more input is needed to find out what residents want to see first.
The document is expected to be presented to the Planning Board for adoption on May 12. It then would go to the City Council, although the Planning Board is the adopting entity.
"It's not a required step, but we think it's an important part of this process to really get full approval," Greer said.
The public hearing and open house was a culmination of three years of work since the plan was initially announced, a period filled with numerous community forums and open meetings.
On the edges of the City Hall lobby were visual aids displaying action items relating to the plan's 10 sections, including economy, open space and recreation, infrastructure and services, and land use.
Attendees were each given 12 small, blue stickers, representing the city's limited financial resources and directed to place stickers on action items they felt should be addressed first.
Public hearing attendees stressed the need for diversity on subcommittees that will ultimately help implemented Vision 2030 items and for a way to measure the plan's success.
Both Greer and Mayor Richard J. Alcombright stressed the importance the plan be "a living document" that can be edited down the line.
In responding to one attendee's question, Alcombright noted the Vision 2030 subcommittees and plan will not take away regulatory power from the Planning Board, Redevelopment Authority and other
"The plan provides direction," he said. "The plan is a road map ... anything that comes up all has to go through city processes."
Work in progress
Draft copies of the updated comprehensive master plan are available in hard copy form at City Hall, the public library, and online at http://vision2030.wp.northadams-ma.gov.
To submit comments, email Greer at email@example.com or call (413) 662-3000, ext. 3266.
To reach Edward Damon:
or (413) 663-3741 ext 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamon