Marshfield 2015 Master Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan tells a community what it looks like today and what direction it has decided it wants to go for the future; it includes assessments of existing resources and issues, projections of future conditions and needs, and consideration of collective goals and desires is a policy guide and provides a framework for the physical development of the municipality. While the emphasis is on buildings and infrastructure, it does not ignore the important social, natural resource and economic values of the community. The master plan is a method of translating the community's values into specific actions. The master plan is a method of translating the community's values into specific actions covers a time frame of about 10-20 years; it is assumed that shorter-term reviews will keep it current with the changing needs of the community is closely integrated with other municipal planning documents and initiatives. For example in Marshfield, the recently completed Open Space and Recreation Plan and the 2009 Planned Production Housing Plan from 2009 will be integrated into this planning process. The Master Plan is NOT a zoning by-law, a subdivision regulation, a budget, a capital improvement program or other regulatory document. It is meant to be the basis for the preparation of these elements.

Q2. How can Marshfield make use of its Master Plan?

The purpose of the master plan is to enable municipal officials to better manage change and to inform residents and businesses about the community's characteristics, trends, and policies. The plan will guide and regulate future residential, commercial and industrial growth in the Marshfield community.

Q3. What does a Community Master Plan contain?

The plan contains the following sections, according to the requirements set out by Massachusetts General Laws for a comprehensive (master) plan.

  • Community Vision and Goals and Policies Statements. This first section calls for a goals and policies statement. It requires each community to clarify values, create goals and Community Vision and Goals and Policies Statement
  • History
  • Land Use
  • Housing
  • Economic Development
  • Open Space and Recreation
  • Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources
  • Transportation
  • Capital Facilities
  • Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (prepared by students from the University of Massachusetts Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning)
  • Implementation Plan. This final section outlines the recommended actions, schedule, responsible parties, and notes funding sources for the specific actions necessary to achieve the objectives of each element above.

Concurrent with this Master Plan, the Town is undertaking the preparation of a Harbor Management Plan which is being drafted by the Urban Harbors Institute.

Q4. What does the Marshfield master planning process look like?

The master planning process can be broken down into four major tasks.

  • Task 1 includes public participation and outreach through public forums, the media and the website. Meetings with stakeholder groups will also be conducted.
  • Task 2 consists of data collection and analysis and is the planning phase that determines the content of the plan for all elements.
  • Task 3 is when the draft plan is produced for public review and comment, and includes implementation actions.
  • Task 4 is the time for final review, documentation, and adoption of the plan by the Planning Board.

Q5. How will people in the community participate and learn what is going on during the master planning process?

All Planning Board meetings are open to the public. Specific meetings will be advertised to solicit and encourage community participation. A variety of means will be used to keep people informed, for example, newspaper, cable TV, newsletters, and town web site. If you ever want to know what is happening, contact the Planning Office at Town Hall, or visit the master plan website.