Southwick Master Plan would cost $100K over 2 years

SOUTHWICK — In the aftermath of the controversial Carvana proposal on industrial-zoned land along College Highway, officials are again looking at updating Southwick’s decades-old Master Plan.

Chair Michael Doherty said the Planning Board will discuss forming a master plan subcommittee at its Aug. 10  meeting. Doherty had signaled his board’s intent to create such a committee during the July 20 hearing in which Carvana formally pulled out of Southwick. 

Select Board member Douglas Moglin said that he and the Planning Board had been negotiating how to fund the project during town budget talks going back to 2019. He said that it would cost a total of $100,000 to update the Master Plan, with the costs being spread over two years. 

A master plan is both a statement of a town’s identity and a vision for its future. Master plans typically include an assessment of the town’s existing zoning, bylaws and infrastructure, as well as recommendations for changes or expansion. The recommendations are usually written by a committee with the help of an outside consultant, after a series of public forums and surveys.

Moglin said that the Planning Board applied for $25,000 in Community Preservation Commission funds for the Housing Plan portion of the Master Plan. The first $25,000 installment, and the remaining $25,000 for the Housing Plan, were approved by Southwick’s voters during the Annual Town Meeting in May. 

Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart said that the Master Plan was last updated in the 1990s with input from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

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