BRIMFIELD – The potential for a casino in a nearby town prompted people to think about zoning and future town growth, then the proposal to install wind turbines on West Mountain took that thinking further.
One thing that came out of these concerns has been a working relationship with the University of Massachusetts Regional Planning Program.
“The town wanted a land use and zoning study done. They have concerns about regional economic development impacts,” said Mark Hamin, the director of the master’s degree program in regional planning at UMass.
“They want to make sure their land use and bylaws would helpfully address those issues, and, if the current bylaws were not sufficient, how they might want to change it,” Hamin said.
After Hamin’s team at UMass submitted a draft land use report, which is on the town website, www.brimfieldma.org, they met with members of all town boards in September and have plans for a community wide discussion on future economic opportunities and challenges March 5 from 9 a.m. to noon at Brimfield Elementary School.
“They might want to consider thinking about a master plan process or just taking some additional steps beyond that report,” Hamin said.
“The public forum is intended to identify goals and priorities in the town and to see what some of the next steps might be in planning for future regional development impacts in the area,” he said.
Hamin’s main advice to Brimfield is to think in general terms about land use policy and zoning for the coming decades rather than trying to adopt some negative, reactive tools to specifically deal with casinos or wind turbines.
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