|Sustainable Berkshires Plan Half Complete|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
09:02PM / Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Residents were able to prioritize the identified goals at Tuesday's open house.
ADAMS, Mass. — Leaders of the Sustainable Berkshires planning process paused on Tuesday to show the combined progress so far before picking up the study in January.
At the Adams Free Library nearly a dozen boards lined the Miller Annex presenting the responses residents have given in two years of workshop meetings throughout the county. The project seeks to create an overarching plan for the county.
"This is a good check-in point before we call it final," said Amy Kacala, a planner with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission who is heading the effort.
The master planning began with research in 2011 and quickly led to a series of subcommittee meetings and public workshops throughout the county. Currently, the process is nearing the completion of the development of the county's goals, policies and strategies.
Residents at Tuesday's open house were asked to place dots on narrowed goals from those public meetings to set priorities. Some of the plans are eyed to go into place immediately. The plan is expected to cover a wide range of topics from economic development to open space management to arts and culture.
Kacala said the goals, policies and strategies are expected to be completed in June 2013. Land use will be the next topic analyzed. Also left to be analyzed is housing and neighborhoods, energy, transportation and infrastructure.
The group has brought in Boston-based Peregrine Energy Group to consult with the energy piece and Kacala will dive into the housing. Meanwhile, the Keep Berkshires Farming part of the research will be concluding and adding to the land use picture.
In 2014, the entire planning process is expected to be completed. The final planning document will serve as a guide for municipalities to craft their own local bylaws to help support the countywide efforts.
"You wouldn't have a business without a business plan," Kacala characterized the end goal.