Community Master Plans

Dartmouth Master Plan

This web page is the online hub of the Master Plan process.

Dartmouth's final 2023 Master Plan is posted below by chapter. 

Welcome to the Dartmouth Master Plan Project Page

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan can be many things. It is a narrative document describing the story of Dartmouth’s history and the experience of living in town today. It is a technical document that considers population trends and land use changes over time to chart where we are now and where these trends may be taking us tomorrow. It is a policy document that lays out an optimal vision for Dartmouth, and articulates the strategies, actions, and decisions that will assist the town in arriving at that future. For more detail see Elements of a Master Plan at the bottom of the page. As a coastal community, Dartmouth also intends to create a supplemental Climate Change and Resilience chapter.

Elements of a Master Plan

According to Massachusetts General Law, a Master Plan has nine required "elements" (or "chapters"). We post drafts of each element here as they are created, and welcome comments on any section.


  1. The Statement of Goals and Policies sets out Dartmouth's vision for the future. It presents community values, goals, and the land use objectives that will meet these goals.
  2. The Land Use Element describes Dartmouth’s current and future land use patterns, including proposed locations for various types of activity, such as residences, businesses, and recreation, and the preferred relative intensity of development across the town’s diverse built landscapes.
  3. The Housing Element creates a plan to meet the town's housing needs, which are identified using demographic and market information.
  4. The Economic Development Element identifies strategies for growing the town's economy by building upon local strengths and bringing new and compatible opportunities to Dartmouth.
  5. The Natural and Cultural Resources Element is an opportunity for Dartmouth to highlight and take stock of its natural, cultural, and historic resources.
  6. The Open Space and Recreation Element describes existing open space and recreational facilities in town and aligns plans for future recreation and open space with project population needs.
  7. The Services and Facilities Element identifies existing and anticipated needs for public infrastructure and services.
  8. The Circulation and Transportation Element provides an inventory of existing and proposed transportation infrastructure and services across all modes including private cars, public transit, and bicycle and pedestrian routes.
  9. The Implementation section provides a blueprint and schedule for making the master plan a reality.