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Mar 14

MPC Update - MARCH 12, 2018

Posted on March 14, 2018 at 10:12 AM by Elizabeth Dukes

Thank You!! Thank you to the 500 residents that responded to the latest Master Plan survey designed to gauge resident preferences on taxing and funding options, public facility improvement priorities, land use, housing and economic development opportunities. 

Your thoughts and ideas will help the Town develop strategies for working better together to overcome challenges and to strengthen our community while preserving its character and authenticity.  A stronger Manchester has a more diverse tax base, well maintained and managed public infrastructure, facilities, programs and environmental resources,  a vibrant downtown focused on serving Manchester residents, greater diversity in housing styles and price range,  safe and accessible streets and sidewalks, and civic engagement at the core of municipal governance.  

In brief the Master Plan survey results show:

  • Given the cost of needed capital improvements (water, sewer, seawalls, facilities) and the town’s strong dependence on residential taxes the Town should support new commercial development that boosts tax revenues.  This funding option as the top choice has nearly double the support of other options.  Reducing public services to gain savings received the least support.
  • The majority of respondents support no change or some change to existing DPW, Police, Town Hall and Library facilities.  The majority of respondents also showed no to low support for a new combined fire and police facility, senior/community center and playing fields.  However, the highest support for a new facility, while less than a majority, is for a senior/community center (45%) followed by playing fields (42%) and DPW facilities (40%).
  • The reuse options for existing municipal sites with the most support include:
    • Burn Site:  Playing Fields, Solar Arrays and Sell/Lease
    • Upper School Street Compost/Yard Waste Site:  DPW Facilities and Sell/Lease – both with over 50% support
    • Town Hall Parking Lot: Continue Current Use - more than doubled any other choice, next closest was pubic parking garage
    • Wastewater Treatment Facility (behind Town Hall):  Harbor Access (harborwalk, park, Harbor Master facility etc.) and Sell/Lease for development that expands downtown and harbor access – both with over 50% support
  • General Land Use ideas with majority support included (combines moderate and strong support):
    • Permanent protection of Municipal lands with sensitive resources (87%)
    • Greater diversity of commercial uses in the Limited Commercial District (74%)
    • Acquisition and protection of private lands with sensitive resources (69%)
    • Low Impact Development regulations to protect natural resources (64%)
    • Residential development on current Pleasant Street DPW site (63%)
    • Increase access to the harbor (63%)
    • Mixed Income residential developments that focus on quality design (61%)
    • Preservation of grand estates by allowing conversion to neighborhood friendly uses (60%)
    • Wider variety of housing types (56%)
    • Playing fields on municipal lands (53%)
  • Business types with majority support (combines moderate and high support)
    • Small-scale Retail (93%)
    • Restaurant, Bars, Food Service (86%)
    • Arts and Artisans (80%)
    • Marine Trades, Fishing, Aquaculture (79%)
    • Tourism and Recreation (76%)
    • Professional Offices (76%)
    • Science and Technical (68%)
    • Health Care (68%)
    • Residential Care/Assisted Living (62%)
    • Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast facilities (62%)
  • Housing types with majority support(combines moderate and high support)
    • Small house on small lot (80%)
    • Accessible single-story homes (77%)
    • Residential over retail (76%)
    • Pocket neighborhood (small cluster of houses around a shared open space)(65%)
    • Townhouses (64%)
    • Assisted Living Units (62%)
    • Cluster subdivision (1 and/or 2-family units)

In response to the final survey question, 212 respondents offered a wide range of opinions, ideas, cautions, challenges and hopes.  The most often repeated was a caution or encouragement to preserve the small town coastal character that is so clearly valued by all Manchester residents.  We hear you!

Thank you for your time, energy and valuable directives that will help set the course for Manchester’s future.

For a full Survey Summary as well as information about the next steps in the Master Planning process go to www.manchester.ma.us  and click on the Master Plan Icon on the bottom of the page. 

Manchester Master Plan Committee

A Stronger Manchester Starts With Us!