Community Planning

The Community Planning office's regular business hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. During these hours, the Planning Department is also available by phone (978-357-5250) and email. CPC meetings are currently being held in person and on Zoom, as noted on individual agenda postings. Click here for meeting materials and Zoom access.

All forms and applications are available here. Checks for fees and legal notices may be mailed, separately from applications, to the Planning Department at 235 North Street.

The Community Planning Department provides staff support to the Community Planning Commission (CPC). The CPC's web page, including agendas and minutes, can be found here.

Community Planning also provides staff support to the Economic Development Committee.

Mission Statement
The Community Planning Department's mission is to plan, guide and coordinate the development of the Town of North Reading to develop and ensure the highest possible quality of life for our residents, businesses and visitors.

Vision Statement

As we move forward in the new millenium, the Community Planning Department will experience an increase in workvolume, with more demand for diverse and complex services. The Department's role will continue to be a leader in the community for economic development and growth while maintaining the rural residential character of the town.

The Community Planning Department Staff believes in the following:

  • We believe that planning should focus on completing goals that improve the quality of life for all in the community.
  • We believe that all people should have equal access to the planning process to be able to provide their input to the Planning Commission on planning issues.  
  • We believe that we have a responsibility to provide outstanding customer service.
  • We believe in providing professional advice and technical expertise to elected officials, appointed boards and commissions, city departments and citizens to assist in understanding and addressing key community issues and priorities; and
  • We believe that citizens of the community must ultimately determine its vision and that our role is to help them define it and attempt to help them achieve it. The community's vision should be expressed in the Town’s Master Plan.

What do we do?
The Department staff consists of the Community Planning Administrator and administrative assistant. We review development proposals for consistency with local and state bylaws, update the long-range plans of the town, conduct site visits to ensure compliance with approved decisions issued by the Conservation and Planning Departments, apply for grants, promote economic development and work on projects assigned by our boards and commissions.    

Why do we plan?
Professional planning is done to ensure that neighborhoods of today develop in a feasible, practical and livable manner for the future. Planning is looking ahead - preventing sprawl, promoting orderly growth and preserving open space for future generations. Planning is also looking back - learning from mistakes of the past for the benefit of today and tomorrow.

The goal is that these future projections and the lessons learned from past mistakes are incorporated into our Master Plan which guides the future growth of the community.    Efficient planning involves looking at communities from a broad perspective to determine the best overall benefit for its people.

Our Department encourages smart growth and sustainable development within our town.  Sustainable development means looking at the overall impact each development proposal will have on the community rather than just on the site itself – it is analyzing the future needs of the community.

It is the North Reading Community Planning Department’s goal and responsibility to appropriately guide municipal planning decisions based on the guidelines set forth in our Town’s Master Plan, Massachusetts General Laws, and applicable local bylaws and regulations.

Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
Danielle McKnight, AICP Town Planner/Community Planning Administrator (978) 357-5206
Debbie Savarese Administrative Assistant (978) 357-5250