New Master Plan to be completed by 2022

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North Attleborough Town Hall

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Over the next two year, town and state officials will design a plan to cover everything from housing to open space in North Attleborough.

Eric Arbeene from SRPEDD—a state agency that assists with planning and economic development—met with the Town Council at its hybrid meeting on Oct. 14. He presented a timeline for the process that will conclude in the summer of 2022 with a new Master Plan. The plan will cover areas such as land use, housing, open space, transportation, economic development, and natural resources.

For example, Abreene said that in previous discussions it was mentioned that there aren’t enough fields in town, so they’ll look at whether the available open space and accommodate this need.

The Master Plan takes the town’s vision and implements strategy to create real change,” he said.

One aspect which the town is particularly interested in is the Housing Production Plan. Chapter 40B requires a town to have 10 percent of its housing stock be designated as affordable, or deemed affordable to those with a median household income. Meeting this goal allows a town to refuse affordable housing proposals. North Attleborough currently has only 3.5 percent affordable housing. If a proposal includes at least 25 percent affordable units, the entire project counts toward the 10 percent stock.

Plainville, Attleboro, and Mansfield have all met or exceeded this threshold.

During the two-year period, different aspects of the plan will be done, two or three at a time. Economic Development Director Lyle Pirnie said getting the housing and economic development portions done first is important. The town’s current Master Plan was done in 2014.

A lot has changed over the last six or seven years,” he said. “The lack of affordable housing is a big issue.”

Planning Board Chair Marie Clarner said a Master Plan Committee will be formed as part of the process. This seven-member group will include herself, Pirnie, a member of the Town Council and Planning Board, a department head, two residents, and Town Manager Michael Borg as an ex-oficio member. Past Master Plans will be reviewed and current needs listed.

You incorporate what has been done in the last Master Plan and look at what changed,” said Clarner.

Public outreach is a part of the process, and will be done through Zoom meetings, social media, and surveys sent to residents. The process is expected to cost $40,000 to be matched by SRPEDD. Borg said that between a Community Compact Grant of $30,000 and a Technical Assistance Grant from SRPEDD, the town’s portion has been covered.