Understand the planning process and read prior plans.
The Planning Process
Massachusetts General Law requires Planning Boards to prepare a Master Plan for their municipalities. These plans are “living documents” that should be updated periodically to reflect evolving conditions and needs.
In January of 2023, the Town of Spencer kicked off efforts to update its 2003 Master Plan. The community-driven planning process will be led by a volunteer steering committee and bring together diverse stakeholders. Residents, business owners, and other interested persons will work together to identify a common vision for the community. Using that vision as a guide, the Master Plan Steering Committee will work with consultants and town leaders to create a long-range plan for the town. The plan will draw on resident input, local expertise, data, best practices, and state and federal law, providing an actionable roadmap for the future.
Timeline & Funding
The planning process will run from January 2023 to June 2024. Opportunities to participate are ongoing. A survey is planned for late winter 2023. The Committee is planning workshops to coincide with the beginning and end of the planning process. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is funding Spencer’s master plan update. A grant from the Massachusetts Rural and Small-Town Grant Program covered the cost of technical assistance and plan production.
About Master Plans
A Master Plan is a statement of intent. It is intended to serve a whole community, guiding its overall character, physical form, and evolution. It describes how a community wants to develop physically, economically, and socially. A Master Plan serves as a guide for local officials and Town Meeting members as they make decisions about zoning, budgets, and capital improvements. The plan and its recommendations do not advance or mandate any specific item. To take effect, any recommendations need to be undertaken by residents and town staff.
Topics to be Covered
Typically, a Master Plan addresses the following important planning topics as required by Massachusetts General law:
Goals and Policies Statement
Natural and Cultural Resources
Open Space and Recreation
Municipal Services & Facilities