Dartmouth Master Plan

Dartmouth Climate Change & Resilience Workshop

Welcome to Dartmouth's Climate Change & Resilience Virtual Workshop Page! It will be active for participation from January 8 - January 28, 2021.

Explore activities 1, 2 and 3 at your leisure.

Activity 4 is a live virtual public workshop via Zoom, which culminates the extended Climate Change & Resilience Virtual Workshop's window of participation.

Activity #1: Climate Projections Quiz

Test how well you know what is expected for Dartmouth's Climate in 2050 Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes

While presented in quiz format, we don't expect many correct answers!

Take your best guesses as an intriguing way of comparing what you think might be expected compared to the level of magnitude of changes that are actually modeled and predicted.

Answers based on projections from ResilientMA, at the Buzzards Bay watershed basin level (the most localized dataset available).

Click the blue question mark icon above to proceed to the quiz. A new window will open.

Note that the topics covered in the quiz are only primary predicted climate changes. These primary changes will drive a number of secondary trends that will have a huge impact on our local communities, in sometimes unpredictable and contrary ways. For example, how will local agriculture be impacted by climate change - on the one hand, increased annual average temperatures spell a longer growing season and there is additional rain projected for our region overall. BUT on the other hand, the rain is predicted to be seasonally-specific such that modelers anticipate lower soil moisture content in the summertime, a serious problem for agricultural operations, and higher temperatures will increase pest pressure.

Increased water temperatures has the secondary effect of decreasing dissolved oxygen and creating better conditions for bacterial growth, driving marine species to new areas.

New Englanders will spend less money heating their homes, but will need to retrofit old  houses built in eras where cooling was not a priority to be able to survive almost a month of additional days above 90 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Other secondary impacts abound.

Activity #2: Individualized MVP Prioritization

How do you prioritize proposed Resilience Action Items for Dartmouth? Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes

An initiative of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program is a significant two-step tool that supports local response to climate change impacts.

Dartmouth initiated its MVP process in 2020. The town received an MVP Planning Grant to undertake a specialized MVP Planning Workshop for a local team of town staff, board members, and volunteers most involved in the stewardship of community infrastructure, public health, and bylaw implementation. The Workshop identified the aspects of town most vulnerable to climate change hazards (such as flooding, sea level rise, and intense storms). Participants then developed and prioritized actions to mitigate climate change impacts. As a result of the planning process, Dartmouth has a state-certified MVP Plan and can apply for MVP Action Grants to implement the priority actions established in the MVP plan.

The exercise below puts you in the shoes of the MVP Planning team to express your own view on what steps are most critical for mitigating climate change impacts in Dartmouth.

The map below is a geographic representation of the action items proposed in the MVP Plan, categorized by their priority level as assigned by the MVP planning group.

First, explore the resilience action items that have been proposed for Dartmouth in the map by clicking on a feature. A pop-up window with additional information will emerge. Clicking within the town (but not on any one feature) will bring up a list of town-wide action items. Layers can be turned on and off in the "Layers" panel, where legend information is also available.

After exploring the map a bit, click on the blue list icon above to proceed to the individualized ranking survey. A new window will open. Drag the rows above and below one another to reorder and rank.

Activity #3: Long Form Comments

A space to fully express the concerns and ideas you have related to climate change effects in Dartmouth. Estimated time to complete: 10 minutes

Considering the potential impacts of climate change on local communities can be deeply difficult. It's there in the phrase itself - climate change, and as with any change, it is destabilizing. The potential effects that climate change can have may hit us on a personal, emotional level, tinged with both loss at what may transpire for our environment and our property, but also with some silver linings of possibility.

This exercise is an opportunity for you to digest some of the figures and thoughts that have been presented in activities 1 and 2 (though you do not have to have done those activities to participate in activity 3). This activity poses several long-form questions for your reflection and response.

Click the blue icon above to proceed to the exercise. A new window will open.

Activity #4: Live Virtual Workshop

Join us live on January 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM to discuss Dartmouth's climate resilience future

A presentation will be followed by small group discussions.

Meeting Dial-In Option Alternative:

Meeting ID: 885 8012 0477

Passcode: 660554


At the meeting time, click the blue icon bubble to the left to proceed to the meeting. A new window will open.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Dartmouth creating a Master Plan?

The State of Massachusetts requires that all cities and towns create and update a Master Plan every 10 years. (Dartmouth’s last Master Plan, from 2007, is therefore in need of a full update.) More importantly, the Master Planning process is a meaningful opportunity for you to come together as a community, to reassess your goals and priorities, and to set a course to achieve those goals over the next several years. Master Plans frequently result in bylaw changes, participating in new state or federal programs, coordinated grant applications and infrastructure investments, updated and more efficient administration, and increased volunteerism, service, and stewardship in a community.

Who should get involved?

The Dartmouth Master Plan will be directly informed and created by the input we receive from town residents, officials, seniors, parents, business owners, and even students! The project team listens to everyone’s ideas, identifies areas of consensus, and provides a road map to make your community goals real. Your ideas – combined with current information – will directly influence this plan and the future of Norton.

How can I get involved?

The best way to get involved with the Master Plan is to interact with the project team, explore data and past plans, and participate in virtual meetings and online exercises to provide your honest feedback. Please visit the “Stay Connected” section of the Dartmouth Master Plan website to find links to all our engagement options.

What is a virtual workshop?

A virtual workshop is a 2-week period during which the project team will seek information from the public regarding specific topics online through a web page and a virtual meeting. The Dartmouth Master Plan’s “Climate Change & Resilience” workshop will take place from January 8 to January 28, 2021.

How can I participate in the virtual workshop?

You can simply visit the web page and read the information provided, such as demographic and previous planning summaries. The web page will also host exercises that you can do on your own time, including mapping exercises and brief surveys. The project team will also host live Zoom meetings that are open to the public and designed to actively solicit your ideas, hopes, and input.

What if I can’t make it to any of the live Zoom meeting?

That’s totally ok! You also have the option to complete the online exercises on the virtual workshop page. In addition, we have provided engagement tools that are available at any point during the planning process including, project email, listening line, and public comment form.

Who should I contact if I need special accommodations or translations for materials and/or virtual meeting?

Please contact a member of the project team to discuss your needs and what we can do to accommodate them during the live Zoom meeting. We do request advance notice of 5 business days to prepare and gather all necessary tools and staff.

Where are we in the process?

We are just over halfway through the master planning process (workshop 4 of 6). If you would like to review what was discussed at the first three workshops please click here to go to the Dartmouth Master Plan webpage.

What is the final document like?

That depends. Some towns like a long plan with a ton of data – like a text book! Others like a concise, easy-to-understand, graphically engaging document – like a magazine! The project team will make sure that your Master Plan includes sufficient, necessary, but not excessive information on which you can base your decisions ... but we will probably lean towards making sure the plan is concise and approachable … something the average person wouldn’t mind reading at the end of a long work day.

What’s in a Master Plan?

Master Plans have 9 required “Elements.” You can think of these as chapters. They are: Vision, Land Use, Economic Development, Housing, Open Space & Recreation, Natural & Cultural Resources, Services & Facilities, Transportation & Circulation, and Implementation. Because Dartmouth is a coastal community we will be adding a 10th chapter on Climate Change & Resiliency.

How do you make sure the Plan leads to real change? Don’t plans just sit on the shelf for 10 years until it’s time to update them again?

Well, that’s up to you! Master Plans – good Master Plans – should create their own community momentum, optimism, consensus, and excitement. Ideally, when the planning is done, there will be a group of you – let’s call you “Local Champions” – who believe in the work and want to make it real. For its part, the final Master Plan will read like a recipe or an instruction manual:

  • It will include Goals for each Master Plan chapter. We'll describe the main reasons that each Goal is in the Plan; this “Big Picture” usually includes data and quotes from residents and workshop participants that explain why the Goal is important to you as a community.
    • In turn, each Goal will have Strategies and list the main steps needed to achieve them. To make the Plan easy to use, each Strategy, clearly presents:
      • Who’s in charge – we call these the “Responsible Parties.”
      • How to measure success and progress – we call these “Performance Measures.”
      • Where to look for advice – we call these “Example Success Stories” and “Potential Partnerships.”
      • Other items from the Plan that might help – we call these “Complementary Actions.”
  • All these “How To” items appear again, summarized in charts, tables, or other diagrams and graphics, in the Plan’s Implementation chapter.