The world is changing and it is going to affect Southwick and its residents.
How can you help your community prepare for the future?
How does a master plan fit into that?
What is a master plan?:
Master planning is long-term envisioning about a town’s growth and how it chooses to develop. Southwick’s Master Plan will be a planning document designed to guide the future actions of our town through the next approximately twenty years. Its goal is to help our community create a vision of what we want our town to look like in the future and how to achieve it.
Our master plan will look at the connections between Southwick’s population, economy, housing, transportation, infrastructure, community facilities, buildings, land use, environment, and recreation. It is meant to act as a blueprint for Southwick’s future.
Why should we have a master plan?:
Many communities surrounding Southwick have master plans or equivalents that get updated every 10 years or so.
Having a master plan helps communities determine what kind of look and feel they’d like their town to have, what sorts of businesses they’d like to attract or discourage, what kind of development and conservation they’d like to see in the future.
Southwick is overdue for a new master plan as the last one was developed in 1967. A 1997 master plan was created, but not implemented. Without a master plan, Southwick will continue to be developed without a clear, unified direction and without agreement or input from its residents on how it should grow.
How would a having and adopting a master plan benefit Southwick?:
A master plan will guide Southwick on how to make decisions regarding a wide range of areas, including:
land development proposals
land preservation initiatives
our downtown area
building our economic vibrancy
making Southwick a more beautiful and viable community to live in
Having a master plan in place that the Planning Board references and uses to create new by-laws for the town would give Southwick a chance to grow in a way the reflects the needs and wants of the people and businesses in town.
Right now, the absence of a master plan means development is led by the needs and wants of developers without say from the public until a public hearing is held by the Planning Board. By that point, the direction and plans have been drawn up and it is harder to have a say in how or whether the project is wanted.
As referenced previously, we do not have a master plan currently. A new and adopted master plan would give residents the means to shape what kind of development and growth we want in Southwick over the next twenty years as well as a chance to define the kinds and sizes of businesses we want to encourage in our town.
What kinds of future trends will this new master plan take into account? The world is changing a lot and quickly!:
What is Southwick doing now for its new master plan?:
In late 2021, the Town of Southwick created a 'Master Plan Advisory Committee' known as MPAC. The goal of this committee is develop the master plan. MPAC has named the master plan project ‘Southwick 2040’ with the tagline ‘Creating our Future’.
A critical step in producing and shaping the master plan is getting public input from the community. Southwick 2040 is meant to represent the honest opinions of the community to help build agreement on what our town wants to see over the next two decades. MPAC created a survey with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) that was available for all Southwick residents, homeowners, and members of the business community business owners to take over summer 2022. The survey closed on August 31, 2022 and the results can be seen by clicking here.
This current process that MPAC is engaging in is set to take place through 2023. The final product MPAC produces will be presented to the Southwick Planning Board, which will then review it and determine how to implement the plan.
Now that the survey is done, how else can I contribute my opinion to this process?
Community visioning sessions are taking place in mid-October 2022. They are open to all Southwick residents, homeowners and members of the business community. Please click on Events to learn more. These sessions are open to all, whether they took the survey or not. We want to hear from everyone who is a part of Southwick.
Can I attend the MPAC meetings?:
Absolutely, we welcome you to attend! MPAC meetings are open to the public. They are done in a hybrid format in-person at the Southwick Town Hall auditorium and via Zoom. Please click on our Events page to see when our next meeting is!
About the Southwick 2040 mascot:
Jog is the Master Plan mascot and he was created by Southwick resident and animation artist, Charlie MacWilliams.
A Southwick native, Charlie designed Jog to celebrate our town's unique features! Here are some elements within Jog that Charlie wanted to highlight:
Jog's name refers to the southernmost point of our town which sticks out into Granby, CT. This southern point is referred to locally by a few different names, including 'the notch' and 'the jog'. Back in old England, a 'wick' means something similar to a notch or jog, usually denoting a small village, hence the origin of our fair town's name, SouthWICK (though many Brits today would pronounce 'Southwick 'as 'Suth-ick' as the wick in British English isn't typically pronounced anymore. But we sure do say South-wick!
Jog's head and body shape, clearly, are meant to represent the shape of our fair town. His head is a little heavy, but truthfully, most of Southwick's land is north of the jog!
His scarf is an homage to our beautiful lakes in town. Charlie designed the scarf to be on the side of Jog's body to reflect how Congamond's North, Middle, and South Ponds are situated on the eastern side of our fair town.
Jog is wearing some sturdy work boots to commemorate Southwick as a proud 'Right to Farm' community . Agriculture, and its related industries , has been an integral part in Southwick since our founding and certainly before , as well as presently. Jog's boots also symbolize Southwick's beautiful natural landscapes and our hiking trails in town, which are part our recreational community. Jog wears his boots everywhere; from boating on the lakes to walking around The National at The Wick 338, which takes place in our town every July.
Lastly, you probably noticed Jog's shirt. He is a Southwick Ram's fan, which is the mascot our the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District! GO RAMS!
Who is on the Master Plan Advisory Committee?:
Marcus Phelps, affiliation: Town of Southwick Planning Board member (Chair of MPAC)
Michael Doherty, affiliation: Town of Southwick Planning Board Chair (ex officio member)
David Spina, affiliation: Town of Southwick Planning Board member
Doug Moglin, affiliation: Town of Southwick Select Board member
Randy Brown, affiliation: Town of Southwick Department of Public Works Director
David DeiDolori, affiliation: Town of Southwick Park & Recreation Commission member
Burt Hansen, affiliation: Town of Southwick Agricultural Commission member
Dave MacWilliams, affiliation: Town of Southwick Conservation Commission member
Norm Cheever, affiliation: Town of Southwick Lake Management Committee member
Patrick Jubb, affiliation: Town of School Committee member
Aleda De Maria, affiliation: Town of Southwick Finance Committee member
Michael McMahon, affiliation: Town of Southwick Economic Development Committee member
Scott Lamon, Southwick business owner (Tynic Landscaping)
Lucas Caron, Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional High School student
Jessica Whitmore Parker, Southwick resident (Vice Chair of MPAC)
Dorrie Boyd, Southwick resident
Roz Terry, Southwick Resident
Cori Rolland, Southwick resident
Maryssa Cook-Obregón, Southwick resident
MPAC counts on the guidance and support of Jon Goddard (the Town of Southwick Town Planner), Meghan Lightcap (MPAC secretary), and Ken Comia, our Pionner Valley Planning Commission consultant and his PVPC team. Thank you!
Photo of Southwick solar fields by Jason Giguere
For inquiries about the Master Plan Advisory Committee, please reach out to Jon Goddard, Town Planner, at email@example.com or 413-569-6056.