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

Sep 25

BOS Weekly Updates - September 25, 2020

Posted to Board of Selectmen Weekly Update by Tiffany Marletta

BOS Updates – September 25, 2020

Election day:
Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at the Manchester Essex Regional High School from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Early voting begins at Town Hall on Saturday, October 17th. The last day to register to vote is Saturday, October 24, 2020. Voting by mail is also an option – send in your request to the Town Clerk’s Office if you did not do so prior to the primary election.

Public Forum on Manchester’s Limited Commercial District (40R): Please visit the LCD/40R webpage to take the Community Survey and learn more about this initiative. LCD/40R Webpage

Manchester Community Blood Drive: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the American Legion Hall. Residents can pre-register for an appointment at redcrossblood.org.

Police Chief Office Hours: Chief Fitzgerald will hold his monthly office hours on Thursday, October 1st from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. outside of Seaside One. Residents are encouraged to stop by with questions or to say hello.

Zoom Virtual Meetings: The Town is switching to Zoom on October 1st to hold all board and committee virtual meetings. Log-in information will continue to be posted to the website, on agendas and social media.

Community Preservation Committee: The Manchester Community Preservation Committee (CPC) will begin accepting proposals for CPA funding. CPC applications will be accepted until December 1, 2020.

MBTS Beach Update: MBTS Beaches will remain open to RESIDENTS ONLY through October 15th. Staffing hours will vary by Parks and Recreation and/or Manchester Police Department. Walk-on passes and beach stickers must be visible for admittance. Singing Beach will welcome dogs on October 15th.

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, Compost: Regular schedule

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



Sep 25

From the Town Administrator's Desk - September 25, 2020

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

Virtual Forum set to discuss the Limited Commercial District
By Gregory T. Federspiel

What is your vision for the Limited Commercial District?  This is the key question on tap for a public forum scheduled for Thursday, September 24 starting at 6:00PM.  Residents are encouraged to register to participate by going to the Town’s website where a flyer with a link to register to receive the Zoom log-in information can be found. 

The forum will begin with an overview of the LCD, the zoning district that encompasses lands to the north of Route 128.  Currently, as the name implies, zoning in this district allows a fairly limited range of commercial uses.  During the development of the Town’s new Master Plan, residents expressed a desire to revisit this area of town with an eye toward allowing a broader range of uses, including housing, as a way to increase our tax base and diversify our housing supply.   

The creation of a 40R overlay district is part of the exploration of what might be best for the LCD.    A 40R Smart Growth District is a state program that encourages municipalities to implement zoning that fosters compact, mixed use, mixed income development in areas of existing or planned infrastructure.  40R districts must consist of at least 51% housing, 20% of which must be affordable.  As an incentive, the state makes payments directly to towns that adopt a 40R district as well as payments after new housing is built in the area. 

As part of any new zoning, development and design standards aimed at ensuring that new construction is consistent with the Town’s vision for the area can be incorporated.  These standards can include aesthetic concerns, density, and, importantly for the area in question, environmental standards that ensure the protection of our natural resources. 

The area also is likely to see a “40B” project proposed (another section of state law that allows a developer to build a project that normally would not be allowed by zoning in towns which do not have a minimum of 10% of housing stock being affordable per state guidelines – Manchester is below 5%.)   We anticipate receiving a proposal for a large apartment complex from a developer for lands on upper School Street across from Atwater Avenue.  This is a separate process, but we hope to be able to integrate the two projects, assuming the timing works out to do so. 

For the study of the LCD and the possible creation of a 40R district, a project working group, made up of representatives from Town Boards and Committees, will guide communications and assist with community outreach. Staff from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) are providing technical assistance through a grant we have received to help advance this work. The Planning Board will play a central role in developing any proposed zoning amendments that might emerge from this work.

The schedule anticipates articulating the vision and goals for the district over the next few weeks, developing initial concepts and recommendations by the end of November, drafting zoning language and design guidelines by the end of January, and, if the work is received favorably, seeking voter approval of the proposed zoning amendments at the April Annual Town Meeting.

Throughout the coming months there will be on-going opportunities for residents to weigh in, providing your ideas and feedback on what should be the final outcome.  The forum on Thursday, 9/24, is an important part of crafting the vision for the LCD and will include a survey that each participant will be asked to complete.  Ultimately it will be up to the voters to decide whether to approve any new zoning for this area of town as we pursue ways to implement the goals articulated in our Master Plan.      



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.