Community Master Plans

North Attleborough Master Plan

Housing in North Attleborough Workshop #2:

October 6th, 2021
Barriers to Development, Goals, and Strategies

Welcome to the North Attleborough Master Plan Project Page

North Attleborough is creating a Master Plan that will help guide the town moving forward. To complete this work, town officials need to hear from you - North Attleborough residents, business owners, and workforce members. Your input is the essential ingredient – combined with current, accurate data – that builds your community Master Plan!

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan can be many things. It is a narrative that tells the story of North Attleborough’s history and the experience of living in town today. It is a technical document that considers population, market, and land use changes in order to chart where we are now a course for tomorrow. It is a policy document that lays out a consensus vision for North Attleborough and articulates the strategies and actions that will help the town meet its goals. In short, it is a long-range plan that helps guide the town, that builds trust by making transparent decisions, and that bases those decisions on accurate information and public input.  For more detail, please see Elements of a Master Plan or this example from a nearby town.

Project Roles

The Town is working with Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) to develop its next community Master Plan. SRPEDD is a public, non-profit agency that serves 27 communities in southeastern MA. The project will take place from January 2021 to roughly June 2022. Our role is to facilitate a proactive and transparent civic engagement process that gathers and integrates your views on community needs and aspirations.


Recently Concluded: Housing Production Plan Workshop #2

Wednesday October 6th, 2021

If you missed the workshop, you can check out the workshop video and presentation below. There is still time to read about the plan and submit feedback.

North Attleborough Master Plan Drone Photo 7 070620

Housing Barriers, Goals, and Strategies

This workshop focused on barriers to developmentgoals to produce housing, and strategies to accomplish these goals. Below are the barriers, goals, and strategies identified using feedback from town staff and residents over the course of the project. These were discussed at length during the workshop on Wednesday, October 6th.

Barriers to Housing Development

What's limiting development opportunities in North Attleborough?

Affordable Housing Goals

What housing outcomes do we wish to see? What needs to be done to get there?


  • Build internal capacity to discuss and review affordable housing proposals and acquisitions.
  • Produce starter homes and "lowercase A" affordable housing.
  • Produce housing options for older adults to support aging in place.
  • Produce housing options for adults with disabilities and mental illnesses.
  • Continue to produce SHI-eligible units to achieve the Commonwealth's required amount and support communities in need.

Affordable Housing Strategies

How can we accomplish our goals?


  • Pursuit of "friendly 40Bs" and/or developers with the intent to produce affordable housing units.
  • Strategic Zoning Amendments via the creation of overlay districts and new zoning guidelines.
  • Leadership training to increase staff knowledge and capacity.
  • Pursuing professional support to assist in implementing strategies within the Housing Production Plan.
  • Affordable housing outreach and education to dispel myths regarding affordable housing development.
  • Investigation of opportunities for adaptive reuse to redevelop underutilized municipally-owned land and buildings.
  • Review the availability of town-owned and tax-title properties to work in tandem with adaptive reuse goals.
  • Establish a first-time homebuyers program to assist first-time buyers with navigating the pursuit and purchase of a home.
  • Providing direct assistance to help preserve housing for vulnerable communities, including senior residents.
  • Create design guidelines for duplexes and large developments to ensure new housing "fits" within the local community.
Mapping Image

Mapping Exercise

Have ideas about where affordable housing or new zoning should be? This activity will let you draw a shape or place a point on the map to let us know your thoughts about housing in town. Click on "Housing" to provide feedback.

Previous Workshops

Interactive Map Gallery

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is North Attleborough creating a Master Plan?

The State of Massachusetts requires that all cities and towns create and update a Master Plan as needed. 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. 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.

Why should I get involved?

For the Master Plan to accurately reflect the goals and priorities of the community, input from you is essential and is the most important part of the Master Planning process. Your participation in this process is the best way to ensure that you have a say in what happens in your neighborhood and your town.

Who should get involved?

The 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 your town.

What is the final document like?

That depends. Some towns like a long plan with a ton of data – like a textbook! 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 workday.

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.

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.

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 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 virtual meetings. The Master Plan’s “Discovery” workshop will take place in Winter 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.

Do I need to attend both live Zoom meetings to get the full experience?

You do not need to attend both live Zoom meetings. The meetings will follow the same agenda and discussion questions. The project team is hosting two meetings to give greater opportunity and flexibility for the public to participate.

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

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, public comment form, and the Master Plan Survey.

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

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

Document Library

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 North Attleborough'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 North Attleborough’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 North Attleborough.
  5. The Natural and Cultural Resources Element is an opportunity for North Attleborough 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.

Photos and Videos

Mailing List

Mailing List

Sign up for the North Attleborough Master Plan Mailing list to receive important updates regarding project milestones, public workshops, and pop-up events.