WARREN — Warren is embarking on a mission to update its Master Plan, a document that will guide the town’s priorities and development over the next five to 10 years.

At the Feb. 1 Board of Selectmen meeting, planners from the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, with whom the town has contracted, laid out the process of modernizing the plan. It was last updated nearly two decades ago, in 2006.

Sarah O’Brien, the project lead on the plan overhaul, explained that the document will encompass all aspects of town planning, including housing, economic development, transportation, land use, open space, town services, and natural and community resources. It also lays out plans for implementation.

The Master Plan will be developed at the town’s monthly Community Development Advisory Committee meetings. The first half of the development has been funded through a state grant, but a separate $40,000 state planning assistance grant is being sought for the second half of the document development, which is slated to be finished in October 2025.

The first step of the process is visioning, O’Brien said. The plan will be based on input from residents, employees and other stakeholders. A survey is scheduled to be sent out in March and workshops will take place shortly thereafter. These tools will gather information on what priorities people would like to see addressed by the plan. It will be the job of the CMRPC to analyze the data gathered from stakeholders, analyze it and synthesize it into a cohesive plan.

One meeting attendee asked if the master plan being developed for the Wrights Mill Complex on South Street in West Warren will be affected by the town’s Master Plan. O’Brien said the CMRPC will work with the private company hired for the complex’s development.

“It’s a very exciting time for our community,” said Board of Selectmen Chair David Dufresne. He referred to recent updates and upgrades to services and equipment in town. Dufresne pointed out that an up-to-date plan would make the town eligible for grants to fund further improvements.

“The energy and enthusiasm I see is amazing,” Dunphy said.

Board of Selectmen member Rich Eichacker said the 2006 plan was not utilized as well as it should have been and said he would like to ensure the updated plan is in continuous use and does not “sit of a shelf.” CMRPC Executive Director Janet Pierce said the commission will be “working on your behalf” to find funding to implement the plan’s priorities.

Dufresne urged residents, “Speak up. This is your opportunity. We want to hear your voice.” He then shared his own thoughts on what he would like to see for Warren, including more accessible roads, bike lanes and a public safety complex, which he called “a must.” He also said improving the town’s parks would “definitely help with the image of the community.” Another major priority for Dufresne would be downtown parking, which is limited and a major topic of resident complaints.

Resident Curt Snow expressed concerns about preserving forested land. He was particularly worried that private property on the Palmer border would be sold and developed.

“Everyone wants to preserve the small-town atmosphere,” Dufresne assured him. “Warren’s not going to become a city.” That said, he explained that how private property is willed or sold is the owner’s decision. A member of the Conservation Commission told Snow the town could seek grants to acquire land for preservation, but Tax Collector Kerry Schmidt reminded everyone that land preserved as open space is no longer taxable.

Fire Chief Adam Lavoie said he was pleased to have spoken with the planners about the need for a public safety complex. Police Chief Gerald Millette agreed and said the Master Plan “is a big step for us.”

Board of Selectmen Derick Veliz asked, “What if we do nothing? Where are we going to be in 10 years?”

Schmidt responded, “A rudderless ship bouncing on the waves.”

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