In 2013-2014 everyone in Greenfield was invited to participate in writing a Sustainability Master Plan.

This plan, Sustainable Greenfield, was published in January 2015.


 In Massachusetts, towns are required to have Master Plan no more than 10 years old to receive state grants. Greenfield’s Master Plan was written in 2001, so we needed to update our plan. 

What is a Master Plan?

What is the process of creating or updating a Master Plan?

In Greenfield, the Planning Board takes the lead on Master Planning.

Their efforts are supported by the Planning Department. The Planning Department’s web site has posted the 2001 Greenfield Master Plan, as well a several other more recent documents, such as the 2008 Greenfield Community Development Strategy that will also be helpful in the planning process. To find Greenfield’s planning documents click on the “publications” link and look for Planning Documents heading.  The planning Department site also has a link to the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority, which has a document posted called the 2006 Bank Row Urban Renewal Plan, which is critically important to the planning process. Another useful document was written in 2008 for the Community Development Block Grant Program called Greenfield Community Economic Development Strategy. 

The following elaborates on the above. 

(Adapted from FRCOG guidance document by GGEC)

Public Meetings and Surveys. While the Planning Board takes the lead in the process, public participation is key to the success of the project. This is an opportunity for everyone to share their vision of the future. Ideas should be lofty and visionary such as “equality for all,” and others should be very specific, such as “I see a bus that circles the town and runs every 10 minutes” Ideas are often also gathered by surveys.

Distill these Ideas. The staff and consultants pull out key:

  1. Goals & Guiding Principles (big lofty ideas)
  2. Goals for each “chapter”
  3. List of possible Initiatives – these are the specific ideas

Data Collection & Analysis: This involves

Taking an inventory of existing resources, conditions, and problems and preparing reports, charts, graphs etc. to make this information understandable, and assist with the next step

Assessing future needs and conditions

Evaluating/Prioritizing Community Recommendations. This can done by staff, consultants, or staff/and citizen teams. This process involves sifting through the ideas and organizing them:

  1. What is already happening and working?
  2. What sounds like a good idea, but we need more research?
  3. What’s Interesting, but probably won’t work for whatever reason?

Draft Plan written: Write draft document including goals, guiding principals, recommended actions, and implementation plan.

Plan taken back to the Community for final approval: By law, the Planning Board votes to adopt the plan. Often the Town Council is asked to endorse the Plan, but a vote is not required by law.

Implementation: The Town staff implements the plan. The plan often stipulates a reporting process to the community, such as an annual progress report.

For links to towns involved in sustainable Master Planning click here.

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