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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Nov 22

BOS Weekly Updates - November 21, 2020

Posted to Board of Selectmen Weekly Update by Tiffany Marletta

BOS Updates – November 21, 2020.

The Board of Selectmen would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Town Hall will be closed on Thursday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Board of Health Update: Residents are urged to remain vigilant against the fight of COVID-19. Please wear a face covering in public ALWAYS. Gatherings are limited to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. Violations are subject to a fine.

40B Workshop: On Tuesday, November 24 at 6:30 PM the Board of Selectmen will hold their next meeting on the proposed 40B project. The meeting is open to the public and details will be posted to the Town website.

Leaf Collection: DPW has announced dates for the Town wide leaf collection: Monday, November 23, Tuesday, November 24, Monday, November 30 and Tuesday, December 1.

New Book Release: The Manchester Historical Museum and the 375th Celebration Committee released a new book perfect for holiday gift giving. “The History of the Meeting Houses of Manchester-By-The-Sea, Massachusetts” by Robert Booth can be purchased for $10 at the Manchester Historical Museum and in the Board of Selectmen’s Office in Town Hall.

Council on Aging Food Drive: Please help the Council on Aging collect food for the Open Door Food Pantry during the month of November. A list of items most needed are on the Town website. Drop your donation in the collection bins in Town Hall.

MBTS Beaches: Dogs are now allowed on Singing Beach through April 14.  Beach visitors are limited to 2 dogs per person.

Town Hall Payment Drop Box: Installed at the rear of Town Hall by the Police Station Blue Door and monitored by a security camera.  Please use this convenient box to drop payments off for any Town Bills. Please No Cash.

Trash, recycling, and compost collection:  Regular schedule

Follow Us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @townofmbts and visit the Town website www.Manchester.ma.us to stay informed.





Nov 21

From the Town Administrator's Desk - November 21, 2020

Posted to From the Town Administrator's Desk by Tiffany Marletta

Keeping the “40’s” straight!
By Gregory T. Federspiel

Coincidentally, the Town is working on two very different processes that both involve lands within our existing Limit Commercial District which lies to the north of Route 128.  Both fall under the same Chapter of state law that deals with land use but under different sections – 40B and 40R.

The proposed 40B project is a private initiative for a new apartment complex that the Town must respond to but one that the state has the ultimate authority to approve.  We will try to influence how the project proceeds, but state law dictates the process and limits the degree that we can control the outcome.  The Selectmen, and then the Zoning Board of Appeals will be working very hard to steer the project in the most favorable ways possible.  Many hours have and will be devoted to the Town’s responses.

A very different effort is underway to study possible new zoning regulations for a portion of the Limited Commercial District.  Based on the recommendations that emerged from the Master Plan (which documented strong interest in the community for growing our commercial tax base within the LCD) and after a couple of public presentations on the what a 40R Smart Growth Overly District is, including financial incentives from the state, the Planning Board voted to proceed with a study of this land use tool.  We are in the early stages of this study. 

To date, grant funds have been secured to obtain technical assistance from the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and the State.  A working group comprised of a representative from the Planning Board, the Finance Committee, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Affordable Housing Trust, the Conservation Commission, and the Select Board has been formed to help coordinate the communication efforts with the public and between these various boards and committees as well as to provide guidance to staff as they gather information that the boards and committees will use when it comes time to debate how the Town might amend the zoning in the LCD.   At this early stage, working group members keep their respective groups appraised of the efforts by the technical team as part of their respective public meetings.   

A well-attended public forum was held this past summer along with a community survey.  Additional public forums as well as committee and board meetings focused on the possibilities for re-zoning the LCD will be held in the coming months.  The input gleaned from these meetings will be used to decide what, if any, amendments to the LCD should be presented to the voters for possible approval.  It takes a 2/3rds majority vote at a Town Meeting to approve new zoning regulations. 

A concern some people have is that, by state law, a 40R District must have at least 51% of the new development dedicated to housing.   Housing often generates more cost in municipal services than tax revenue.  One of the goals for re-zoning the LCD is to generate new revenues for the Town that can be put toward the infrastructure needs we have. If the 40B project is built, we may not want a separate 40R district with even more housing.  However, if the 40R district is created before the permitting process is completed for the 40B project, it is possible to include these new apartments into the 40R district’s housing requirements and thus allow the rest of the 40R district to have mostly commercial uses.  Whether we want to pursue a new 40R district remains an open question that the study and upcoming public debates will answer.

What remains clear are the three primary goals of the Master Plan: diversify our housing stock, expand our tax base, and protect our important natural resources.  As the public process unfolds, we will see if a new 40R Smart Growth Overlay district can help with these goals.   



Jun 17

MPC Update - June 2019

Posted to Manchester Master Plan News by Christina St. Pierre

Master Plan Update , June 2019

Manchester’s master planning efforts have spanned four years culminating in Planning Board approval of the Plan as submitted by the Master Plan Committee with minor text and organizational edits.  Since that approval in February, a Planning Board Subcommittee has been working with the Town Planner to finalize the Plan’s text and will next work on formatting the Plan for publication and developing a Master Plan Summary to be widely distributed. 

As the Plan is being finalized, implementation of the Plan’s recommendations have begun with several important initiatives.

  • The Planning Board has secured the services of land use attorney Mark Bobrowski to work with the Planning and Zoning Boards, the Zoning Enforcement Officer and others to re-codify and update the Town’s Zoning Bylaw to guide change in line with the Town’s Vision. For more information see (http://manchester.ma.us/703/Zoning-Recodification)
  • Representatives of various municipal boards and committees are meeting to discuss the potential for Smart Growth Overlay Districts in town as a tool to support a greater diversity of housing options.
  • The Town has applied for technical assistance and/or funding for a Parking Study, a Limited Commercial Strategic Plan and a Downtown Strategic Plan which can be accessed on the Town’s Website: https://www.manchester.ma.us/702/Grant-Applications-Awards
  • The Town is working with a consultant to study and identify opportunities for shared services with the Town of Essex.  The report is expected to be finalized by July.
  • The Town is working with MassHousing Partnership to assess the feasibility of a mix of market rate and affordable housing on the current DPW site. 
  • The Town is evaluating opportunities for a Harbor Master’s Office and Public Restrooms at Reed Park and Masconomo Park.


As part of the implementation process, the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board will be developing a communications strategy for updating residents on initiatives on a regular basis.  The goal is to provide a comprehensive list of the Plan’s Recommendations with a continually updated status.