MASTER PLAN UPDATE Public Presentation

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 Master Plan Update

AGENDA
• • • • • Introduction Planning Process Snapshot of Sturbridge Chapter Findings and Recommendations Questions/Answers/Discussion

2010 Master Plan Update

PLANNING PROCESS
• • • • • • Project website UNH mail survey Monthly meetings with Steering Committee Focus groups established for each chapter Draft chapters posted on website Town updating open space and recreation plan

2010 Master Plan Update

WWW.VHB.COM/STURBRIDGEMASTERPLAN

2010 Master Plan Update

PLANNING PROCESS
Public Forum – November 21, 2009

2010 Master Plan Update

PLAN CHAPTERS
• • • • • • • • • Land Use Housing Economic Development Natural/Historic/Cultural Open Space and Recreation Public Services and Facilities Transportation Energy and Sustainability Implementation Plan

2010 Master Plan Update

A SNAPSHOT OF STURBRIDGE
Population Over Time
12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000

4,000
2,000 0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030

Source: US Census 1990 and 2000 and Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (projections)
2010 Master Plan Update

A SNAPSHOT OF STURBRIDGE
Population By Age
3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500

1990
2000

0

Source: US Census 1990 and 2000
2010 Master Plan Update

A SNAPSHOT OF STURBRIDGE
2005 Land Use
1% 4% 4% 2% 5% 1% 3% 1% 2%

Higher Density Residential Medium Density Residential
2%

Low Density Residential Commercial

Industrial/Transportation/Mining
Open Undeveloped Land Agriculture Recreation/Urban Open
75% Forest/ Wooded Perennial

Forest/Wooded Perennial Wetland Water

Source: MassGIS
2010 Master Plan Update

EXISTING LAND USE MAP

Source: MassGIS
2010 Master Plan Update

A SNAPSHOT OF STURBRIDGE
Housing Units
6% 8% Detached single family

6% 4% 6%

Attached single family

Two units

Three to nine units 70% 10 or more units

Mobile home

Source: US Census 2000
2010 Master Plan Update

COMMUNITY INPUT SURVEY
• Surveys mailed to a randomly selected adult member of Sturbridge households from a list provided by the town in April 2010. • 930 surveys were returned between April 12 and May 31 for a 30% response rate (very good for a survey of this type)

2010 Master Plan Update

COMMUNITY INPUT SURVEY
• Public safety services are rated highly • Open space is desired for passive uses • Theatres, health care, small retail and museums are most favored for Sturbridge overall
– Large shopping, offices, mixed-use and theme parks are least favored

• Theatres, recreational facilities, small retail and restaurants are most favored for Route 15
– Large shopping, lodging, health spa resorts, banks, campground, theme parks, single family and multifamily homes are least favored

• Sidewalks and dedicated bike routes are most favored
2010 Master Plan Update

LAND USE AND COMMUNITY DESIGN
2010 Master Plan Update

RT. 20 CORRIDOR: KEY FINDINGS
• Rt. 20 has two distinct characters
– (I-84 to Cedar St.) tourism based/automobile oriented scale does not convey small town/rural feel – (Cedar St. to Rt. 148) smaller scale with narrower road and buildings closer to the road

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Gateway issues
– Automobile scaled – Medians present opportunities

• More welcoming environment
– Landscape with materials consistent with historic nature of the village – Planted median

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Rt. 20 is not pedestrian-friendly
– Discontinuous walkways, constricted sidewalks (utilities), multiple curbcuts – Lack of public access to river – Confusing and cluttered signage

2010 Master Plan Update

RT. 20 CORRIDOR: RECOMMENDATIONS
• Break corridor into smaller places supported by parking, landscaping, and signage • Create parking at rear of buildings where feasible • Extend access south toward the river to reinforce natural crossing points for pedestrians
2010 Master Plan Update

RT. 131 CORRIDOR: KEY FINDINGS
• Rt. 131 Corridor needs a greater sense of place given its location near the Town Common • Lack of consistent walkway • Renovated Town Hall provides an anchor to the area • Rest of corridor dominated by commercial development, curb cuts, and related signage

2010 Master Plan Update

RT. 131 CORRIDOR: RECOMMENDATIONS
• Try to preserve as much of the natural landscape as possible • Where possible, extend the depth of the commercial zoning to accommodate better parking and site design • Create pockets of mixed-use development

2010 Master Plan Update

RT. 15 CORRIDOR: KEY FINDINGS
• Largely unbuilt due to water and sewer constraints • Some recreational uses located closer to Rt. 131

2010 Master Plan Update

RT. 15 CORRIDOR: RECOMMENDATIONS

• Consider opportunities to lengthen tourist overnight stays through expansion of recreational opportunities

2010 Master Plan Update

HOUSING

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Town prepared Needs Assessment in 2008 • Population projected to grow, but at slower rate • Household size is decreasing • Increases expected in residents over 55 • Housing stock primarily single-family and relatively new

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Housing prices higher than neighboring communities • 6.5% of the housing stock is affordable (40B) • There is a significant affordability gap between income and housing costs • Needs include diversity of housing type and housing affordable to lower and middle income people

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Provide high-quality affordable housing through development of flexible zoning bylaws, regulations and programs
– Inclusionary zoning – Buydown programs

• Meet the 10% goal for housing affordability under Chapter 40B
– Inventory town-owned land and tax title property to identify potential parcels for use as affordable housing sites

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Provide opportunities for existing Sturbridge residents to make improvements and repairs to their existing homes, while at the same time, increasing the affordable housing stock in the community
– Home improvement program – Downpayment/closing cost assistance program

• Allow mixed-use developments in more zoning districts

2010 Master Plan Update

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Between 1985 & 2008 Sturbridge employment increased from 3,800 to 4,650 • Relatively stable job base with average annual growth of 0.9% • Town’s growth matched S. Worcester region and exceeded state’s rate of 0.6%

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Between 2001-2008 private sector employment decreased by 14% (688 jobs). Sturbridge had highest percent decrease in local region. • Town’s growth matched S. Worcester region and exceeded state’s rate of 0.6% • Sturbridge’s largest employment sectors are (% total emp.):
◦ Accommodations/Food Services (32%) ◦ Retail Trades (27%) ◦ Manufacturing (11%) ◦ Health Care/Social Services (6%) ◦ Entertainment/Recreation (5%)

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Town’s economy lacks diversity
– Economic base largely supported by establishments associated with leisure & hospitality, entertainment & recreation – Town lost 38% of jobs in these sectors while region and state grew by 27% and 21%

• Town also dependent on Retail with 27% of employment base compared to 14% and 12% for region and the state • Town exceeded regional growth rates in Finance/Insurance, Professional/Tech Services, Administration, and Health Care
– However, low Location Quotients indicate potential to capture greater share of future growth – Hospitality, Health Care, Professional/Tech are growth sectors
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Sturbridge has approximately 350 acres of vacant, non-residentially zoned land: 135 industrial; 63 commercial; 153 special use • Commercial Tourism District functions as “backbone” of local tourism economy but also supports local shopping & services • A number of limitations are/will restrict accessibility and usability of this land for development
– Lack of frontage and utilities, small lot size and irregular shapes, fragmentation, conflicting land uses, ownership, natural constraints
2010 Master Plan Update

UNDEVELOPED NONRESIDENTIAL LAND

2010 Master Plan Update

BUSINESS SURVEY
• Surveyed town businesses as part of public input process and to help formulate economic strategy • Survey addressed – Business characteristics – Levels of satisfaction – Impacts/opinions on tourism – Preferences for future nonresidential development – Labor supply/skills

2010 Master Plan Update

BUSINESS SURVEY
• Retail and tourism types of development received the highest percentage of responses • Route 15 received the largest number of votes across all types of development (e.g. retail, office, lodging, manufacturing, etc.) • Respondents favored extending utilities on Rts. 15 and 20 with financing provided primarily by user fees and grants

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Need to support and maintain existing business base • Need to diversify the existing business base • Identify key position on town staff that is responsible for economic/business coordination, monitoring, and outreach • Promote better coordination of tourism activities and broaden offerings • Improve/expand supply of readily developable commercial & industrial land • Ensure that infrastructure and utility systems are adequate to support existing and future levels of economic development • Improve conditions & opportunities in the Commercial Tourist District
2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Need to prepare “physical” corridor improvement plan for C/T District • Identify potential redevelopment sites currently occupied by structures needing significant renovation • Public investment • Create new Entertainment Gateway District on Route 20 • Encourage entertainment, recreation & other tourism-related uses
2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Create mixed use medical zone on Route 131 • Expand Business/Industrial zoning on Route 20 East • Revise purpose of district & regulations for Rt. 15 Special use District
2010 Master Plan Update

NATURAL, HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Sturbridge is primarily located within the Quinebaug River Watershed • 7 major lakes and ponds with recreational and resource value • 46 certified vernal pools • Numerous endangered plant and animal species

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Management issues include:
– Limited public access – Development and redevelopment around the lakes – Presence of aquatic weeds, fecal coliform, and other contaminants in water bodies

2010 Master Plan Update

STURBRIDGE RESOURCE MAPS
Water Resources Natural Resources

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Over 200 above-ground properties of significance (Sturbridge Town Common, Sturbridge Fairgrounds, Fiskdale Mills ) • Heritage landscapes include Quinebaug River, Barrett Farm, Fiskdale, Hobbs Property, and Old Sturbridge Village • 48 documented historical archaeology sites and 18 prehistoric archaeological sites
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Sturbridge has a single historic district and two individual properties listed in the State and National Register of Historic Places

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• OSV is a major cultural institution • Town hosts numerous special events and festivals • Sturbridge Cultural Council supports various programs
2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Maintain and improve public access to water resources, open space and trails • Ensure that any new access points to Quinebaug River protect river water quality and shoreline vegetation • Consider enacting a lakes overlay district for the areas surrounding the lakes of specific concern • Incorporate appropriate best practices for such environmental protections as stream buffers or shoreline setbacks

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Historical Commission should continue its work to inventory the built environment • Educate residents of the importance of maintaining the historic character of Sturbridge • Conduct a community-wide archaeological inventory • Continue developing more in-depth regional partnerships and programs with organizations such as OSV • Use arts to create a local identity and capitalize on tourist attractions to make the Town a destination for annual cultural events

2010 Master Plan Update

OPEN SPACE & RECREATION
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Town is updating its OSRP • 25% (6,500 acres) of Sturbridge is protected open space • MA owns about half of that land and Town owns 20% • 85% of the open spaces are permanently protected • Trails Committee actively involved in trail development

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Study underway to consider and design new fields and related facilities • Proposed Sturbridge Arena project under review • Management and maintenance needs likely to increase over time
2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• New OSRP will specify action items for 2011-2018 • Expand public access to open spaces, particularly around the lakes and along the Quinebaug River • Continue developing trails, particularly those that connect existing open spaces and improve access to lakes, rivers and other natural resources • Provide recreational opportunities for all ages • Maintain and enhance existing open spaces and recreational facilities

2010 Master Plan Update

PUBLIC SERVICES AND FACILITIES
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Public water and sewer service provided to most of the suburban residential, commercial and industrial zones • New well expected to be on line next year • DPW’s Garage and Maintenance Facility is in need of repairs • Library Long Range Plan identified an number of staffing and space issues • Some buildings, such as the Senior Center, require upgrades to meet ADA standards

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• School facilities generally in good shape • Demand for ball fields exceeds supply • Field Study Committee identified the need for 6 new fields • Town should prioritize capital projects

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Upgrade and expand the Public Safety Building and the DPW Garage and Maintenance Facility • Establish a Building Committee to comprehensively review short- and long-term needs of other Town buildings • Library Trustees Long Range Plan serves as a good model for other departments • Develop sustainability principles, including energy and water conservation, green building materials, use of alternative energy sources, and minimizing waste • New OSRP should consolidate plans and prioritize recommendations for field improvements, new facilities, and coordination of maintenance efforts

2010 Master Plan Update

TRANSPORTATION

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Roadways
– – – – – Junction of two Interstates MassDOT jurisdiction (25%) High speeds Lack of access management Needed bridge repairs

• Intersections
– – – – – Limited gaps/high speeds Prohibited movements Congestion Sight distance Truck traffic

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Pedestrians
– Lack of sidewalks – Degraded sidewalk/crosswalk condition – Sidewalk obstructions – Narrow sidewalks – No countdown timers – High speeds

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Bicyclists
– Town-wide approach needed – More on-road bicycle lanes – Lack of bicycle facilities at activity centers

• Public Transportation
– > 1% of Sturbridge residents use public transit to commute to work – Consider both fixed route and paratransit needs – Encourage park & ride

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Parking
The CTD lacks adequate parking supply – Tourism brings needs for parking – Future demands related to increased population and visitors will require increased parking availability

2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Signage
Need to address over signage issues, particularly along Route 20 – Clutter obscures the important signs – Varying shapes, sizes, and colors signs adds to confusion – Need for a wayfinding system that is consistent – Information signage for visitors is lacking

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Develop distinct gateways with roundabouts
– Route 20/Route 131 – Route 148

• Develop scenic streetscapes
– – – – Landscaped median and buffer on Route 20 Install pedestrian-scale lighting in the CTD Design ADA compliant sidewalks with buffer New imprinted/textured crosswalks at intersections and mid-block locations

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Consider traffic calming measures
– Curb extensions/bump outs/neckdowns along with complimentary on-street parking – Narrowed travel lanes and widened shoulders with potential for bike lanes (Route 20 and Route 131) – Rumble strips (non-residential/non-business areas) – Raised crosswalks – Roundabouts

• Develop access management and traffic impact study guidelines

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Intersection improvements • Develop town wide Bicycle Master Plan • Install bicycle racks at activity centers • Explore on- and off-road bicycle lanes/paths • Review WRTA fixed bus route potential • Expand paratransit service • Create consolidated public parking areas at both ends of Route 20 and at Turner’s Field • Collaboratively (DPW and MassDOT) remove existing sign clutter along Route 20 • Amend Town’s Bylaws and Regulations to further regulate the signage throughout the Town

2010 Master Plan Update

ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY
2010 Master Plan Update

KEY FINDINGS
• Town is undertaking projects to improve energy efficiency (Burgess Elementary and Town Hall) • Town will be receiving Green Communities Planning Assistance from MA • Town established Energy Advisory Committee • Town needs to establish an energy use baseline and goals for long-term reductions

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Conduct energy audits for town owned and school buildings and vehicles • Establish goals for reducing municipal energy use • Provide support and financial information to residential and non-residential users regarding energy conservation, efficiency and sustainability • Employ energy conservation and efficiency policies and standards • Employ renewable energy sources when practicable

2010 Master Plan Update

RECOMMENDATIONS
• Meet the criteria for being designated a Green Community • Encourage, support and facilitate improved traffic flow • Encourage, support and facilitate pedestrian and bicycle travel • Reduce solid waste through increased recycling and composting • Purchase Energy Star equipment

2010 Master Plan Update

IMPLEMENTATION

2010 Master Plan Update

IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM
• Establish a committee to oversee overall implementation of the plan • Prioritize specific recommendations • Identify responsible parties • Identify potential funding sources

2010 Master Plan Update

QUESTIONS & DISCUSSION

2010 Master Plan Update

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