GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The Town of Charlemont has been involved in master planning efforts over the past five years, which have resulted in consensus on the most important issues facing the town. In 1998, with the assistance of a University of Massachusetts (UMass) graduate regional planning studio, the Town developed the Charlemont Master Plan Background Document. As part of this planning process, the studio group met with the Planning Board twice a month to receive input on the plan; they conducted forty interviews with residents, business owners, and town officials; and, they developed a Master Plan Survey. Of the 500 surveys distributed throughout the community, 100, or 20
percent were returned. The results of the survey were used in the development of the Document. Then in the fall of 2001, the Town received the assistance of a second graduate regional planning studio from UMass in developing a Master Plan, which used the Master Plan Background Document as its foundation. A Vision Forum held in October brought together over sixty residents to chart the Town's direction by creating goals and objectives, which identify and work to resolve the community's most pressing problems.
The Open Space and Recreation Plan Preliminary Draft Goals and Objectives were formulated from the sources of public input listed above. Although the responses recorded in the public meetings, the Vision Forum, and the Master Plan survey may not reflect the opinions of all residents, in sum they do represent a significant source of community input, which was used to identify the open space and recreation resources most important to Charlemont residents. It is expected that additions and deletions will be made to the goals and objectives through discussions of the Open Space and Recreation Planning Committee. When the Open Space and Recreation Plan is near
completion, the goals and objectives will form the basis of Charlemont's Open Space and Recreation Five-Year Action Plan, which will be covered in Section 9.
A. Goal: Ensure that the Town of Charlemont improves the quality and accessibility of all of its recreational and historic areas, facilities, and programming for both residents and tourists, including access to the Deerfield River, forests, fields and unbroken trails.
- Work with the existing Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds Committee to restore the grand stand and to develop the fairgrounds as a public space. Promote their use for public events like farmers' market, concerts, and communal festivities.
- Identify existing trails, which could be promoted in the future.
- Increase year round recreational opportunities for residents of all ages, especially after school programming for teens.
- Provide safe and adequate bike and pedestrian path connections in Town.
- Assess the status of buildings and structures located within the Charlemont National Historic District and in other areas in Town
B. Goal: Ensure that the Town of Charlemont maintains or improves the quality of its surface and ground waters including the Deerfield River and its associated aquifers, agricultural landscapes, scenic views, and the diversity and integrity of native plants and animals through the conservation of locally important natural and open space resources.
- Improve and protect scenic viewsheds, especially along Rt.2 and along the Deerfield River in collaboration with the Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan.
- Permanently protect from development lands that contain productive farmland, groundwater resources, large blocks of contiguous forestland, wildlife habitat, lands along the Deerfield River, and other environmentally critical unprotected open space.
- Support local agriculture to strengthen the long-term viability of agricultural businesses and to help ensure the retention of the Town's most significant scenic and historic agricultural landscapes.
- Continue to set aside municipal funding each year to be used as a Town match to continue to protect local farmland through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program and other land protection programs.
C. Goal: Ensure that Charlemont maintains its small town rural atmosphere characterized by both rural and village land use patterns, community spirit, affordable housing, and an abundance of recreational opportunities.
- Encourage land use and development patterns that preserve rural character, open space, water resources, and agricultural lands in Charlemont.
- Determine the feasibility of an agricultural incentive area, which can be established under the Massachusetts Right to Farm Law, Ch.40L, to protect farmers from rising property taxes, betterment assessments, and nuisance lawsuits.
- Encourage and support agriculture and forestry businesses while preserving productive forest and farmlands.
- Maintain and promote the village as the economic center of the Town.