Master Plan Update
The CPC, working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), is undertaking an updated Master Plan for the Town. The CPC seeks residents interested in joining a Master Plan Advisory Working Group to assist and guide in this work. Members of the working group would attend 2-3 meetings with the CPC and MAPC staff, in addition to two larger community forums. This smaller group will help shape the project, brainstorm a preliminary vision and goals, and assist in outreach to the larger community. If you are interested in working with the CPC in this capacity, please contact Danielle McKnight stating your interest.
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan
Public Listening Session and Public Presentation
The Town of North Reading has received a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to develop a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan that will include mitigation strategies to make the town more resilient to potential impacts from climate change. A draft of the Town’s MVP Plan will be presented at a Public Listening Session at the Town Hall, 235 North St., on May 17th at 6 pm in Room 14. Once the Town’s MVP Plan is approved by the Commonwealth, the Town will be eligible for future grants to fund implementation of specific action items. For further information, please contact Town Planner, Danielle McKnight at (978) 357-5206.
Housing Production Plan
The Town has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development through their Planning Assistance Towards Housing (PATH) program. The grant funds are being used to develop the town's first Housing Production Plan pursuant to Chapter 40B. The town has hired Karen Sunnarborg, an experienced housing consultant, to work with the town to complete the project. The plan will consist of an assessment of the town's affordable housing needs, identification of obstacles and challenges to developing affordable housing, and recommendations for meeting affordability needs. A community forum was held on Tuesday, June 27, and a second forum will be scheduled within several months. Please check this page again for the announcement of the date. You may also contact Danielle McKnight to be added to an email list for the project or to send any questions or comments. All input is welcome.
Public Forum #2: Materials for 5/22/18:
Consultant Karen Sunnarborg and the CPC hosted a second community meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the High School Distance Learning Lab (189 Park Street) to discuss the Housing Production Plan draft, which has been compiled based on a housing needs assessment and feedback received from the community. At this meeting, proposed strategies were discussed for meeting the Town's housing needs and complying with state housing regulations under Chapter 40B. The CPC voted to accept the draft plan, and will be requesting the Board of Selectmen to do the same at their meeting on June 18, 2018, before submitting it to the state for certification.
Public Forum #1: Materials from 6/27/17:
Complete Streets are designed considering the age and ability of all users, incorporating elements intended to increase mobility for all. Sidewalks, pedestrian crossing, bike paths and lanes, ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps and other features are all designed to make our streets safer, create a better walking and biking environment, and reduce our reliance on cars. The town has been considering a Complete Streets policy to facilitate improvements to our roadways and take part in the Commonwealth's new funding program.
The Town was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to create a Prioritization Plan, which was approved in April 2017. This approved plan has made the Town eligible to receive construction funds for projects specified on the plan. The Town engaged the consulting services of WorldTech Engineering to complete the Prioritization Plan materials:
The Town has been awarded funds for two Complete Streets projects so far: mobile electronic speed readers for traffic calming, and construction funds to complete a segment of sidewalk on Haverhill Street between Foley and North Streets. This segment will fill the gap that exists today and will result in a continuous sidewalk to the town center on the westerly (southbound) side of Haverhill Street. The Town will be putting the project out to bid later this winter, with construction anticipated from approximately April 15, 2018 through the end of June.
The Department of Public Works and the Community Planning Department held an informational meeting on January 11 to discuss expectations for the construction, answer questions, and provide an opportunity for residents to view the plans, which can also be viewed here. Millennium, the consulting engineers who will be managing the project's construction, were also in attendance.
Bids for the project will be opened on February 15, 2018 in room 14 of the Town Hall. Updated information on a selected contractor and anticipated construction schedule will be posted here as the project progresses.
The Town contracted with MAPC in 2016 to complete a short study to explore ways to help meet residents’ paratransit needs, specifically the mobility needs of the elderly and people with disabilities. This need was identified as a high priority through the Town's Community Compact (through the Regionalization/Shared Services best practice), which was signed on December 15, 2015. The study, funded in part through a Community Compact Best Practices grant, included case studies from other communities, a matrix of possible service models, and a resident survey. In part as a result of this work, the Town was able to work with Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority to design a new Ring & Ride service for North Reading residents. The service is currently open to people age 60 and over, and disabled veteran's, for transportation to medical appointments.
Funded by the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC), this project examines the capacity of Main Street as a commercial corridor through a market analysis, zoning changes and possibilities for redevelopment of underutilized properties.
Click here to visit MAPC's project page, including the market analysis.
A public workshop was held on Wednesday, January 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the Flint Memorial Library, 147 Park Street. Click here for more information.
On May 17, 2016, MAPC presented their report and recommendations to the Community Planning Commission. The draft study was posted for comment and is available here.
Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development, this project seeks to develop a vision for a better Main Street design, including a "Complete Streets" concept.
Check back for a public discussion date to be scheduled with the Community Planning Commission on the final report and recommended next steps.