Introduction and Summary of Findings

SRPEDD received a Regional Planning Agency (RPA) Regional Strategic Planning Initiative Grant from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to assess local plans and zoning by-laws/ordinances of our member communities for consistency with local, regional and state objectives.  To ascertain this, staff reviewed local planning documents such as Master Plans, Open Space and Recreation Plans and Housing Production Plans - to determine their consistency with SRPEDD's Regional Land Use: Role, Policies and Plan Outline for Southeastern Massachusetts (1996), Southeastern Massachusetts: Vision 2020- An Agenda for the Future (1999), Regional Transportation Plan (2011) and the Regional Priority Development and Priority Protection Areas (2009).  Staff then identified the local zoning by-laws/ordinances that implements the objectives of the various local and regional documents.  Finally, staff evaluated the consistency of local planning initiatives and implementation strategies with the Massachusetts Sustainable Development Principles and the readiness of our communities to become Partnership Communities as defined in proposed zoning reform legislation, the Land Use Partnership Act (LUPA).

The assessment of the local planning documents for consistency with the SRPEDD Regional Planning documents shows that communities consider a smart growth approach to development to be important and have identified smart growth techniques integral to planning for future growth.  Overall, the SRPEDD communities are undertaking planning and implementation that is consistent with the state's Sustainable Development Principles.

Status of Planning in the SRPEDD Communities

Most of our communities have undertaken and have had a Master Plan, Open Space & Recreation Plan or a Housing Production Plan and they all have Priority Preservation & Priority Development plans.  The review assessed the status of those plans. Do they have current, adopted plans?  Towns may have had plans, now expired or be currently on plans; but we did not include those as current, adopted plans.

Standards for "Current, Adopted"

  • Master Plans: less than 10 years old (adopted 2001 or later), the CLURPA standard for master plans. 
  • Open Space and Recreation Plan: less than 5 years old, shown on the Division of Conservation Services map of communities with an approved plan. 
  • Housing Production Plan: less than 5 years old, present on the DHCD website.
  • Priority Protection & Priority Development Areas plan present. 


  • Fifteen (15) with Current Master Plans
  • Fifteen (15) with Current, Approved Open Space & Recreation Plans
  • Seven (7) with Approved Housing Plans
  • Ten (10) have one of the three Plans
  • Ten (10) have two of the three Plans
  • Three (3) have three of the three Plans
  • Five (5) do not have any current, adopted plans (although they may have had at least one of these plans that has expired and/or are currently one or more of these plans
  • All have Local Priority Preservation and Priority Protection 


Status of Planning in the SRPEDD Communities



















Is Local Planning Sustainable?

SRPEDD reviews each community's zoning by-laws, growth area designation and current planning documents to determine if a community's planning and implementation efforts are consistent with the ten Massachusetts Sustainable Development Principles

Standard for "Consistent" examples:

  • An Open Space Residential Development and Aquifer Protection by-laws implement the "Use Natural Resources Wisely" principle;
  • A 43D Priority Development Site designation implements the "Make Efficient Decisions" principle; 
  • An Economic Development Area designation implements the "Increase Job & Business Opportunities" principle'
  • An approved Housing Production Plan or a by-law that requires affordable housing units is consistent with the "Advance Equity" principle; and
  • Transit service or bike/pedestrian route within the community is consistent with the "Provide Transportation Choice" principle.



  • Seventeen (17) are consistent with 8 to 10 principles. (of two are constistent with all 10 principles.)
  • Seven (7) are consistent with 4 to 7 principle.
  • Three (3) are consistent with 1 to 3 principles.

Please go to the Resource Library for the archive of reports by municipality.



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