Acton 2020 Implementation Plan

Here is the Acton 2020 Implementation plan, consisting of Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Items.

Preserve and Enhance Town Character

Goal 1: Preserve and Enhance Town Character

We feel strongly about preserving and enhancing what makes Acton special and unique, including its rural characteristics, historic buildings and landscapes, and its village centers.

Strengthen planning tools to manage growth pro-actively.

Objective 1.1: Strengthen planning tools to manage growth pro-actively.

Roadmap for Guiding Growth

Strategy 1.1.1: Roadmap for Guiding Growth

Use the Roadmap, affirmed at the June 23 2011 public meeting, to guide Acton's planning.

Concentrate growth

Action Item 1.1.1.1: Concentrate growth

Guide as much as possible of any future growth to key town centers, to mixed use infill and redevelopment.1 2
This includes a focus on
  • Transforming new and redeveloped commercial space to fit each village or town center's character.
  • Emphasizing walking, biking, and public transportation
  • Continuing open space acquisition/protection
  • 1. For a more complete write-up of the results of the June 23 workshop see https://doc.acton-ma.gov/dsweb/Get/Document-33530/...
  • 2. See the links under See Also for examples of how to increase the sustainability of these already concentrated areas and avoid risks to air and water quality
Narrative: 
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Capital?: 
Yes
Staffing?: 
Yes
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Acton Water District
Board of Health
Building Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Community Preservation Committee
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Fire Department
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
Historical Commission
Historic District Commission
Manager Department
Municipal Properties
Natural Resources Department
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee
South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Tree Warden
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
No

Revise planning process

Strategy 1.1.2: Revise planning process

Review and revise the Town’s bylaws and planning process to support the 2020 Plan goals.

Review zoning in light of plan goals and buildout potential

Action Item 1.1.2.1: Review zoning in light of plan goals and buildout potential

Carefully review all current zoning and its build-out potential to insure that zoning supports the goals articulated in the master plan. Aim to simplify the zoning code to insure clarity of intent and to support the regulatory review process.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Staffing?: 
Yes
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Health Department
Planning Board
Tree Warden
Zoning Board of Appeals

New development bylaws

Action Item 1.1.2.2: New development bylaws

Research further use of by-laws beyond those already in place (e.g. transfer of development rights, impact fees to include effects on air and water quality, etc.)
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Green Advisory Board
Manager Department
Planning Board
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Regional cooperation on development issues

Action Item 1.1.2.3: Regional cooperation on development issues

Encourage continued regional cooperation; consider creating more formal structures for collaborating with neighboring towns to address common issues (including affordable housing developments, transportation, open space protection, etc.)
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Water District
Health Department
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Planning Department
Selectmen

Legislation to increase local control over development

Action Item 1.1.2.4: Legislation to increase local control over development

Support legislation that would increase the Town’s control over local land use decisions.1
  • 1. This could include modifications to Chapter 40A (Zoning Enabling Act) and Chapter 40B (Regional Planning including affordable housing) and support of legislation that adjusts the “Dover Amendment” provisions of the Zoning Act (which prohibits certain restrictions on daycare and other facilities) to give municipalities more control over their land use.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Economic Development Committee
Planning Board
Zoning Board of Appeals
Influence?: 
Yes

Planning staff

Action Item 1.1.2.5: Planning staff

Add a full-time position to the Planning Department to assist with plans for villages and key centers, development review, and economic development. This position would also fulfill the role of Economic Development Officer (EDO).
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Staffing?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Finance Committee
Planning Department
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Index of developable parcels

Action Item 1.1.2.6: Index of developable parcels

Prepare a database of developable parcels to better inform land use and economic development planning.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Assessors Department
Conservation Commission
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Health Department
Open Space Committee

Develop a comprehensive site and design review process

Strategy 1.1.3: Develop a comprehensive site and design review process

Extend design guidelines

Action Item 1.1.3.1: Extend design guidelines

Further refine Acton’s Design Guidelines for Commercial Development1 and extend the guidelines to include large multifamily and village center mixed-use development2 3.
  • 1. See current at http://www.acton-ma.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=343
  • 2. Add incentives dependent on preserving character and compatibility with historic resources. Make guidelines specific to targeted growth centers and other areas of town to make residential and commercial development consistent with other 2020 Plan goals. Single and two-family residential would not be included in design review.
  • 3. Consider how design guidelines can encourage actions in support of preserving or remediating surface and groundwater and air quality, such as alternative energy, vegetated roofs, bioretention areas, etc.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Capital?: 
No
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Cultural Resources
Staffing?: 
No
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Design Review Board<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
No
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Economic Development Committee
Historical Commission
Historic District Commission
Planning Board
Planning Department
Selectmen
Management?: 
No
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Improve design review process

Action Item 1.1.3.2: Improve design review process

Consider ways to improve the design review process, defining the role of the Design Review Board (DRB), and enhancing the coordination with the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen, while reserving permit authority with these Boards as applicable. Improve coordination with Historic District Commission when appropriate. Implement improvements.1
  • 1. For special permits, expand and standardize the information required from developers, e.g., fiscal and traffic impacts of proposed development.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Capital?: 
No
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Economic Development
Natural Resources
Cultural Resources
Open Space
Transportation
Sustainability
Staffing?: 
No
Planning?: 
No
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Historic District Commission
Planning Board
Planning Department
Management?: 
No
Ripe?: 
No
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Preserve and enhance key centers.

Objective 1.2: Preserve and enhance key centers.

Enhance Village Centers

Strategy 1.2.1: Enhance Village Centers

Key Centers Plan

Action Item 1.2.1.1: Key Centers Plan

To determine which villages should receive more concentrated growth and the amount and type of new development, complete a Key Centers Plan that includes the recognized villages and Kelley’s Corner. Part of the Key Centers Plan will be a Development Plan for Kelley's Corner, specifying needed infrastructure improvements and zoning changes.1 The Plan should include a review of the existing Village Plans and their outcomes to date, and identify the highest priority components for early implementation to help the Town realize the centers’ full potential as destinations.
  • 1. The Key Centers Plan will set priorities for new development and redevelopment in centers. The plan should consider Kelley’s Corner and the villages as a system, build on existing strengths in each, identify necessary aesthetic and functional improvements, assess capacity for density incentives, and prioritize and sequence which areas to work on first. This plan would include a quantitative analysis of a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) system, to verify which incentives are most likely to create the desired changes. The Kelley’s Corner Development Plan will be part of the Key Centers Plan; it will provide the basis to proceed with zoning changes and infrastructure investments needed to begin the improvements at Kelley’s Corner and promote development and redevelopment of key parcels as soon as practicable.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Economic Development
Natural Resources
Cultural Resources
Open Space
Transportation
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Health Department
Historical Commission
Historic District Commission
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Recreation Department

Zoning to support Key Centers Plan

Action Item 1.2.1.2: Zoning to support Key Centers Plan

Develop and enact zoning, including Transfer of Development Rights, to guide growth through infill and redevelopment in and around existing centers in support of the Key Centers Plan, including the Development Plan for Kelley's Corner.1
  • 1. The zoning should be specific to each center and should specify minimum performance standards and density incentives for meeting additional criteria, including Transfer of Development Rights from areas the Town wishes to preserve. It should address both buildings and landscape/streetscape. Examples of achieving vitality, attractiveness, and walkability include:
    • Encourage activity by promoting a variety of uses at different times of day and night, such as grocery store, a variety of businesses, family restaurant, places for programmed events, pubs, movie house, etc.
    • Support walkability in the centers by providing sidewalks along the street and well-lit and landscaped pathways to buildings and within parking lots. Provide parking on street and in combined lots behind buildings
    • Encourage unique and fun window-shopping
    • Support locally owned shops; develop “buy local” campaign
    • Identify, seek, and support anchor with “pulling power”
    • Provide more on-street parking to support businesses and help slow down traffic
    • Plant flowers and trees to enhance village streets and contribute to traffic mitigation
    • Encourage our ethnic communities to contribute vitality through cultural events, celebration, food, etc.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Economic Development
Open Space
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Health Department
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Recreation Department
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Tree Warden
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Town's financial participation in key center development

Action Item 1.2.1.3: Town's financial participation in key center development

Explore the possible benefits and risks of the Town’s financial participation in the development of key centers, with the objectives of catalyzing desired development, increasing control over outcomes, and sharing the financial benefits. Financial participation could include the acquisition of developable parcels and/or the acquisition of development rights to be used in Transfer of Development Rights.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Manager Department
Planning Board
Planning Department
Management?: 
Yes
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Village-specific sidewalk guidelines

Action Item 1.2.1.4: Village-specific sidewalk guidelines

As part of the Key Centers Plan update the Sidewalk Design Guidelines to include village-specific design guidelines.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Sidewalk Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Engineering Department
Planning Department
Selectmen

Encourage developer contributions of public space to town centers

Action Item 1.2.1.5: Encourage developer contributions of public space to town centers

Encourage developer contributions of land1 and/or construction of public realm improvements in Kelley’s Corner and village centers, e.g., small-scale “vest-pocket” parks that might include bioretention areas and rain gardens, playgrounds, and public seating areas.
  • 1. Priority should be given to parcels identified in the Acton Open Space and Recreation Plan.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Planning Department
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
Sidewalk Committee
Tree Warden

Strategic plan for commercial properties

Action Item 1.2.1.6: Strategic plan for commercial properties

Develop a Strategic Plan for Commercial Properties by developing an inventory of all such properties in terms of their existing and build out potential. Identify owners of multiple lots.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Assessors Department
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Health Department
Selectmen

Improve Kelley's Corner

Strategy 1.2.2: Improve Kelley's Corner

Redevelop Kelley's Corner

Action Item 1.2.2.1: Redevelop Kelley's Corner

Develop Kelley’s Corner (KC) into a mixed use town center and transportation hub. Prepare a Development Plan for Kelley’s Corner as part of the Key Centers Plan.1
  • 1. Based on this study:
    • Delineate areas that should receive development, infill, and redevelopment.
    • Determine desired density and type of use for these areas, e.g., wide range of shops and restaurants.
    • Prepare KC-specific design studies and design guidelines.
    • Create list of criteria to apply as incentives during special permit development review, e.g., proactive solutions for potential groundwater issues; provision by developers of outdoor seating; separating seating areas from sidewalk with plants, low fence, etc.
    • Consider Kelley’s Corner gateway opportunities, i.e., what the design of this area should communicate to visitors and citizens as they drive into town.
    • Plan how to resolve existing and potential stormwater issues in Kelley's corner
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Economic Development
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Health Department
Historical Commission
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Tree Warden
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Concentrate town investments in Kelley's Corner

Action Item 1.2.2.2: Concentrate town investments in Kelley's Corner

Concentrate Town investments such as sidewalks, landscape and streetscape improvements and traffic calming in Kelley’s Corner to make it more pedestrian-friendly and to serve as a gateway.1
  • 1. Such investments include sidewalks, benches, signage, landscaping (for aesthetics and to mitigate runoff), etc.; encourage the provision of outdoor seating; separate seating areas from sidewalk with plants, low fence, etc.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Transportation
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Engineering Department
Health Department
Planning Board
Planning Department
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Tree Warden
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Design studio or competition for Kelley's Corner

Action Item 1.2.2.3: Design studio or competition for Kelley's Corner

Collaborate with area universities to do a design studio that tests plans through design for their “place-making potential” and/or hold a design competition to develop an urban design vision for Kelley’s Corner. Utilize the results in the Development Plan for Kelley's Corner.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board

Kelley's Corner Association

Action Item 1.2.2.4: Kelley's Corner Association

Support the development of an organization to revitalize Kelley’s Corner such as a business association that could in time become a Business Improvement District or Community Betterment Association. (These are different ways of allowing groups of contiguous businesses or other landowners to each pay for services and infrastructure improvements that benefit the entire location.)
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Planning Department
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Improve West Acton Village Center while preserving its historic character.

Strategy 1.2.3: Improve West Acton Village Center while preserving its historic character.

West Acton ‒ Plan some growth

Action Item 1.2.3.1: West Acton ‒ Plan some growth

Consider designating West Acton Village (WAV) as a “key center” to which some growth is guided. This action step is a planning process focused on WAV that should consider the planning context provided by the Key Centers Plan.1 Prepare a design study and development plan for the village to provide the basis for zoning changes and infrastructure investments.2
  • 1. Use this planning process to ensure we understand what makes West Acton currently a successful village so that efforts to enhance it don’t threaten what contributes to its village identity and livability.
  • 2. Based on this study:
    • Delineate any areas that should receive development, infill, and redevelopment.
    • Include water and air quality considerations when delineating areas to be redeveloped/subject to infill, and include low impact development and advanced stormwater management in design guidelines.
    • Prepare WAV-specific design guidelines.
    • Create a list of criteria to apply as incentives during special permit development review.
    • Make necessary zoning changes and infrastructure improvements.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Economic Development
Natural Resources
Cultural Resources
Transportation
Facilities
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Health Department
Historic District Commission
Planning Board
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
See Also: 

Concentrate investments in West Acton

Action Item 1.2.3.2: Concentrate investments in West Acton

As recommended in the Key Centers Plan and the development plan for West Acton Village, concentrate Town investments such as sidewalks, landscape and streetscape improvements, traffic calming, and wastewater treatment facilities in and around the village.1
  • 1. Sewer extension and package wastewater treatment plants are options to consider. This action step can begin in the medium term (after Kelley's Corner investments) but may not be completed until the long term.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Housing Authority
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Finance Committee
Health Department
Historic District Commission
Municipal Properties
Planning Board
Planning Department
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Tree Warden
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Preserve rural characteristics and open space

Objective 1.3: Preserve rural characteristics and open space

Document and prioritize rural characteristics

Strategy 1.3.1: Document and prioritize rural characteristics

Document the rural characteristics that should be preserved. Develop a mechanism for prioritizing those elements which contribute to an appreciation for Acton’s history and the pleasure of living here.

Scenic Roads Bylaw

Action Item 1.3.1.1: Scenic Roads Bylaw

Consider expanding Acton’s Scenic Roads Bylaw to protect stone walls, mature trees, and other landscape features to other locations that have been identified as needing protection.1
  • 1. Acton’s Scenic Roads Bylaw regulates the removal of stone walls and trees within the right of way for 33 roads. Using this prioritization as a starting point, consider other locations where stone walls or other landscape features provide an important reminder of Acton’s historical development and land use or contribute to our appreciation of the landscape.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Tree Warden<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Natural Resources Department
Planning Board
Planning Department
Ripe?: 
No
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Freedom’s Way Landscape Inventory

Action Item 1.3.1.2: Freedom’s Way Landscape Inventory

Support the further exploration/implementation of recommendations from the 2006 Freedom’s Way Landscape Inventory.1
  • 1. The Freedom’s Way Landscape Inventory is a 32 page report prepared in June 2006 by Acton citizens in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Freedom Way Heritage Association. The report includes many recommendations related to preserving rural character. http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/histland/recon...
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Department
Engineering Department
Open Space Committee

Recognize waterbodies as part of Acton's heritage

Action Item 1.3.1.3: Recognize waterbodies as part of Acton's heritage

In planning for historical preservation and appreciation, be sure to include the streams and ponds of Acton as part of Acton's heritage.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Cultural Resources
Open Space
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Health Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Morrison Farm Committee
Municipal Properties
Planning Department
School Committees
Ripe?: 
Yes

Protect open space

Strategy 1.3.2: Protect open space

Implement OSRP (Open Space portion)

Action Item 1.3.2.1: Implement OSRP (Open Space portion)

Support the implementation of the Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) including its proactive strategy to anticipate and respond to open space in terms of protection and acquisition of parcels, as well as water resource protection.1
  • 1. The OSRP is being updated in 2011. Based on the OSRP, define primary purpose of protecting open space and develop criteria for prioritizing parcels (e.g. conservation, views, active recreation, protection of water resources, etc.); create a short list of open space protection priorities and stay focused on that list. Ensure broad public understanding regarding which open space is not protected and to what degree protected space is indeed protected.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Cultural Resources
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Open Space Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Natural Resources Department
Planning Board
Ripe?: 
No

Zoning to protect open space

Action Item 1.3.2.2: Zoning to protect open space

Use zoning to protect open space parcels
  • Continue the existing practice of encouraging the use of cluster zoning for most residential development outside the centers
  • Provide incentives for transfer of development away from open land to desired growth centers.1
  • 1. Transfer of development rights can preserve the entire open parcel; cluster zoning usually preserves just over half of the parcel.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Funding of open space protection

Action Item 1.3.2.3: Funding of open space protection

Consider multiple ways to fund the acquisition of desirable open space parcels so the Town is in a position to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term as opportunities and finances permit.
  • Use tax income from economic development
  • Consider higher Community Preservation Act assessments and continue to use Community Preservation funds for purchase of high priority sites
  • Borrow funds for major purchases
  • Research other fund opportunities
  • Consider “purchase and develop part” strategies as a way of funding open space purchases
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Open Space Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Community Preservation Committee
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Natural Resources Department
Planning Department
Selectmen

Other tools for protecting open space

Action Item 1.3.2.4: Other tools for protecting open space

Utilize other regulatory tools and incentives to protect open space. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term as opportunities arise.
  • Actively support agriculture
  • Provide tax incentives to protect open space
  • Promote community gardens, country fairs and farmer’s markets
  • Purchase agricultural preservation restrictions (APRs), with money coming from the Community Preservation Act funds, Transfer of Development Rights, and other sources.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Planning Department
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Preserve historic buildings and landscapes.

Objective 1.4: Preserve historic buildings and landscapes.

Develop preservation priorities.

Strategy 1.4.1: Develop preservation priorities.

Identify historic features

Action Item 1.4.1.1: Identify historic features

Continue to define historic characteristics (buildings, views, landscapes, etc.) and work with relevant committees to actively preserve these.1
  • 1. Incorporate appropriate recommendations from 2006 Freedom’s Way Heritage Landscape Inventory and refer to Mass Historic Commission Survey Forms. Consider desirability of expanding current historic districts to include older historic homes and historically significant structures (as listed in the Cultural Resources List)
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Historic District Commission<i> </i>

Preserve historic features

Strategy 1.4.2: Preserve historic features

Preserve historically significant buildings, landscapes and other historic features.

Coordinate Historic District review process

Action Item 1.4.2.1: Coordinate Historic District review process

Coordinate Historic District Commission review with development of design guidelines and BoS special permit review of development in historic village centers. Consider giving HDC jurisdiction to review color choices.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Historic District Commission
Planning Department
Ripe?: 
No
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Protection outside of Historic Districts

Action Item 1.4.2.2: Protection outside of Historic Districts

Explore options for protecting historic landscapes and historic resources located outside the established historic districts. (See Cultural Resources List)
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Historic District Commission
Planning Department

Outreach to private historic property owners

Action Item 1.4.2.3: Outreach to private historic property owners

Conduct outreach to private historic property owners to promote an understanding of their buildings' place in Acton's history and to help with funding for preservation.1
  • 1. HDC is developing a revolving loan/grant program, potentially funded in part by CPA funds, modeled after the Town’s revolving loan fund for septic system improvements.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Historic District Commission<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Foster appreciation of Acton's history

Objective 1.5: Foster appreciation of Acton's history

Foster an understanding and appreciation for what makes Acton unique, including its history.

Promote an active interest in the past on the part of residents and visitors alike.

Strategy 1.5.1: Promote an active interest in the past on the part of residents and visitors alike.

Tourist infrastructure

Action Item 1.5.1.1: Tourist infrastructure

Invest in tourist support infrastructure for certain key sites and publicize town features (historic site, nature trails, etc).
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Historic District Commission
Municipal Properties
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee

Town gateways

Action Item 1.5.1.2: Town gateways

Improve town entrances / gateways to be welcoming and reflect Acton’s historic heritage.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Committee<i> </i>
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Municipal Properties
Planning Department
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Historic celebrations

Action Item 1.5.1.3: Historic celebrations

Continue to support historic celebrations and efforts to increase awareness of Acton’s historic past (e.g. events, plaques, Historic Marker program, school curriculum).
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees
Selectmen

Include Native history

Action Item 1.5.1.4: Include Native history

Expand the telling of Acton’s history to include a wider time period and events including Native American history as well as European history of the town. (For example, the ‘Trail Through Time’ in North Acton.)
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Historical Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees
Selectmen

Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Goal 2: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

We recognize that our health and well-being depend on protecting the web of life of which we are a part. Therefore, it is vital that we live and work here in a manner that supports that web and the well-being of people everywhere, including future Acton residents.

Protect the quality and quantity of Acton's water.

Objective 2.1: Protect the quality and quantity of Acton's water.

To protect the quality and quantity of the water that cycles through our ground water, surface water, drinking water, waste water, and storm water systems, and to ensure that future development fits within the constraints of these local water cycles.

Development planning that includes water limits

Strategy 2.1.1: Development planning that includes water limits

Make specific plans to identify and address the limits to development implicit in our water systems that take our groundwater, stormwater, and surface water into account.

Monitor groundwater quantity and quality

Action Item 2.1.1.1: Monitor groundwater quantity and quality

Continue to monitor groundwater quantity (i.e. groundwater surface elevation and flow rates) and quality, and plan for necessary Acton Water District (AWD) service expansion, quality improvements, and well-head protection.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Land Use
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Health Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Planning Department
Selectmen
Water Resources Advisory Committee

EPA WaterSense fixtures

Action Item 2.1.1.2: EPA WaterSense fixtures

Consider regulatory changes and/or incentives requiring EPA WaterSense fixtures in new construction and major renovations.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Building Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Selectmen
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Town Meeting?: 
No

Zoning that includes water quality impacts

Action Item 2.1.1.3: Zoning that includes water quality impacts

Zoning needs to take water quality impacts into consideration; for example, ensuring riparian protection areas, and limiting density and types of use near water resources.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Department
Planning Board
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Locate and design new development and supporting infrastructure to limit and mitigate impacts on groundwater quality.

Strategy 2.1.2: Locate and design new development and supporting infrastructure to limit and mitigate impacts on groundwater quality.

West Acton Village sewers

Action Item 2.1.2.1: West Acton Village sewers

Consider extension of sewer and/or advanced package wastewater treatment in West Acton Village to serve redevelopment of the commercial area north of Massachusetts Ave and also to serve existing high priority neighborhoods identified in the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan.1 Consider whether to rely on betterment fees for these improvements or to include Town or developer contributions.
  • 1. These locations are addressed in the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan. These issues, including the relationship of local costs for betterments and townwide benefits, should be included in planning for development of West Acton Village and other designated growth centers
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Economic Development Committee
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Planning Department
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Advanced package wastewater treatment

Action Item 2.1.2.2: Advanced package wastewater treatment

Where possible and consistent with water quality protection, utilize advanced package wastewater treatment with groundwater recharge for other concentrations of residential and commercial development.1
  • 1. Package treatment plant effluent discharged in a Zone II water protection area should undergo the highest possible level of treatment. No discharge is allowed into a Zone I.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Land Use
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Town Meeting?: 
No

Enhance quality of water discharges.

Action Item 2.1.2.3: Enhance quality of water discharges.

Enhance the quality of all discharges into the ground (both stormwater and wastewater) in current and new sources.1
  • 1. Focus especially on reducing phosphorus discharges for surface water and nitrogen discharges for ground water, and other contaminants typically found in stormwater runoff, such as pesticides and herbicides used on lawns, and contaminants from automobiles found in parking lot runoff.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Health Department
Water Resources Advisory Committee

Move industrial activity away from recharge areas

Action Item 2.1.2.4: Move industrial activity away from recharge areas

Consider zoning and incentives to slowly move industrial activity from rivers and wellfield recharge areas.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Health Department
Planning Board
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Match Water District and Town protection zones

Action Item 2.1.2.5: Match Water District and Town protection zones

Amend the groundwater protection overlay bylaw to make the overlay districts fully consistent with Acton Water District protection zones.1
  • 1. Town Meeting in 2011 made the Zone II definitions almost the same for the Town and Water District.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Health Department
Planning Board
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Protect AWD buffer zone along Mass Ave.

Action Item 2.1.2.6: Protect AWD buffer zone along Mass Ave.

Ensure that Acton Water District land and buffer zone on Mass Ave in West Acton is not targeted for development
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Manage Stormwater

Strategy 2.1.3: Manage Stormwater

Manage stormwater to reduce impacts on streams and to recharge groundwater.

Stormwater planning to support 2020 plan

Action Item 2.1.3.1: Stormwater planning to support 2020 plan

Use a proactive approach to mitigating existing stormwater issues and avoiding new problems throughout Acton. In Kelley's Corner and West Acton, do this in a manner consistent with the objective of concentrating growth, and use planning and development review to address these issues. Review existing stormwater management techniques for applicability. This action step should commence in the short term and continue through the long term.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Land Use
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Highway Department
Planning Department
See Also: 

Limit impervious surfaces

Action Item 2.1.3.2: Limit impervious surfaces

In reviewing development, consider incentives and infrastructure to create better managed runoff recharge by limiting impervious surfaces. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term.1
  • 1. Limiting impervious surfaces might lead to adverse impact of groundwater in Zone II’s; this should be a tiered system depending on the sensitivity of a site’s location.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Health Department
Planning Board
Selectmen

Encourage private action to conserve water

Strategy 2.1.4: Encourage private action to conserve water

Inform the public and encourage private action to conserve water and reduce impacts to groundwater quality.

Water education

Action Item 2.1.4.1: Water education

Provide broad-based education on how our water systems work; where our water resources are located, and how water flows through withdrawal, use, and disposal of wastewater; and promote sustainable use by residents and businesses.1
  • 1. Groups that have been doing this for some time include Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety (ACES), The Discovery Museums, and the Stream Teams.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Continue and expand on Acton Water District water conservation encouragement programs.

Action Item 2.1.4.2: Continue and expand on Acton Water District water conservation encouragement programs.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Support Acton Water District in enforcing and strengthening water use regulations.

Action Item 2.1.4.3: Support Acton Water District in enforcing and strengthening water use regulations.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Sustainability
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Monitoring private wells

Action Item 2.1.4.4: Monitoring private wells

Create better incentives and systems to ensure private well owners also monitor and report on their wells.1
  • 1. Consider a requirement for private irrigation wells in Zone IIs to meter and report their water use during periods when the Water District limits or prohibits watering. At some point water use monitoring for private wells may be required by our DEP water withdrawal permit, and count against the town’s withdrawal limit.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Health Department
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Update private well standards

Action Item 2.1.4.5: Update private well standards

Update water quality standards for residential private wells, including provisions to decommission unused or noncompliant private wells according to Massachusetts DEP guidelines.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Ripe?: 
Yes

Lawn replacement

Action Item 2.1.4.6: Lawn replacement

Identify and encourage the replacement of all or part of home lawns with low-maintenance perennials or gardens. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term.1
  • 1. Advocate for removing any home-owner association restrictions against replacing lawns with other vegetation that needs little or no irrigation and chemical applications, and provide public education on home landscaping options that use less water and avoid or reduce fertilizer and pesticide/herbicide applications.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Rainwater harvesting

Action Item 2.1.4.7: Rainwater harvesting

Encourage rainwater harvesting for irrigation and landscaping. This action step should begin in the short term and continue through the long term.1
  • 1. A key step is to amend the health board ban on cisterns to forbid only cisterns that serve as potable water supplies.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton Water District<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Health Department
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Acton Stream Teams

Action Item 2.1.4.8: Acton Stream Teams

Encourage the revival of the Acton Stream Teams to have citizens periodically monitor and report on the state of streams in Acton - so the Town can document changes and identify and resolve issues.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Board of Health
Conservation Commission
Water Resources Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Reduce waste and the accumulation of toxins.

Objective 2.2: Reduce waste and the accumulation of toxins.

Reduce the size of the solid waste stream.

Strategy 2.2.1: Reduce the size of the solid waste stream.

Education on disposal of unwanted items

Action Item 2.2.1.1: Education on disposal of unwanted items

Distribute information to residents on how they can reduce unwanted items, and make items no longer needed available for use by others.1
  • 1. Examples of unwanted items include catalogs and junk mail; ways of making items available for re-use include Freecycle and tag sales. A flyer was developed in the past by the "Life after NESWC" Committee.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Citizens and citizen groups
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
School Committees
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Create a Zero Waste Committee to promote recycling, reduction, and reuse.

Action Item 2.2.1.2: Create a Zero Waste Committee to promote recycling, reduction, and reuse.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
School Committees
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Recycling bins

Action Item 2.2.1.3: Recycling bins

Provide recycling bins in central locations around the Town, and a system for processing them.1
  • 1. Bins should be located where their contents, if spilled accidentally or by vandalism, do not adversely impact stormwater systems or surface waterbodies.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Highway Department
Municipal Properties
Recreation Commission
School Committees
Ripe?: 
Yes

Reduce use of throw-aways.

Action Item 2.2.1.4: Reduce use of throw-aways.

Encourage the public to reduce the use of throw-away plastic (bottled water, single-use bags). Lead by example: provide water pitchers and, where practicable, washable cups for Town board and committee meetings (especially for high-profile public meetings such as Town Meeting). Leverage Scout troops and schools to influence children.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Citizens and citizen groups
Green Advisory Board
Municipal Properties
Recreation Commission
School Committees
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Packaging reduction incentives

Action Item 2.2.1.5: Packaging reduction incentives

Encourage local stores to implement packaging reduction incentives.1
  • 1. Examples: money off if you bring your own bags, sales of products in bulk, etc.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Influence?: 
Yes

Support expanded bottle bill

Action Item 2.2.1.6: Support expanded bottle bill

Support the state initiative to expand beverage container deposits.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Zero Waste Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Increase recycling and reuse.

Strategy 2.2.2: Increase recycling and reuse.

Transfer Station waste reduction

Action Item 2.2.2.1: Transfer Station waste reduction

  • Create a permanent sheltered drop/swap site at the transfer station.
  • Research single-stream recycling at the transfer center.
  • Re-consider implementing a ‘pay as you throw’ system.
  • Allow any Acton resident to get a “recycling only” sticker for free.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Highway Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Selectmen
Sustainability Coordinator
Zero Waste Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Private trash haulers - waste reduction

Action Item 2.2.2.2: Private trash haulers - waste reduction

  • Require multifamily residential developments to provide a recycling strategy for residents.
  • As a license condition, require that trash contractors report annually to the town on numbers of households they serve, and trash and recycling amounts, as a first step toward creating trash policies that include the curbside providers.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Green Advisory Board
Highway Department
Zero Waste Committee

Encourage sports teams to use reusable sports bottles.

Action Item 2.2.2.3: Encourage sports teams to use reusable sports bottles.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Zero Waste Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Enact a bylaw to control where landscape contractors dispose of debris.

Action Item 2.2.2.4: Enact a bylaw to control where landscape contractors dispose of debris.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Conservation Commission
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Composting

Action Item 2.2.2.5: Composting

  • Educate, advocate, and encourage home composting, and provide inexpensive composting bins.
  • Provide more composting services at the transfer station.
  • Study if requiring or encouraging curbside composting service would be practical and effective.
  • Encourage the schools to explore options and develop a food composting program, starting at the central campus.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Sustainability Coordinator<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Highway Department
Zero Waste Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Manage hazardous waste appropriately

Strategy 2.2.3: Manage hazardous waste appropriately

Unwanted electronics (e-waste)

Action Item 2.2.3.1: Unwanted electronics (e-waste)

Conduct e-waste education, and support events where cost effective certified e-waste specialist services are easily available.1
  • 1. Green Acton has held annual Drop and Swap days since 2010 that include e-waste recycling.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Citizens and citizen groups
Health Department
School Committees
Zero Waste Committee
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Local hazardous waste days

Action Item 2.2.3.2: Local hazardous waste days

Have more hazardous waste days at the transfer station. Continue accepting pharmaceuticals, and continue to explore expanding the items to be collected.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Highway Department
Zero Waste Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Regional hazardous waste days

Action Item 2.2.3.3: Regional hazardous waste days

Consider joining the Devens Hazardous Waste Collection Consortium, or a similar regional program elsewhere.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Zero Waste Committee

Non-toxic products

Action Item 2.2.3.4: Non-toxic products

Reduce or eliminate the use of toxic cleaning products, pesticides in municipal and school buildings and grounds.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Ripe?: 
Yes

Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

Objective 2.3: Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

Encourage use of cleaner energy sources

Strategy 2.3.1: Encourage use of cleaner energy sources

Renewable energy at transfer station

Action Item 2.3.1.1: Renewable energy at transfer station

Turn part of the transfer station into a renewable energy power plant1
  • 1. A Power Purchase Agreement is in progress; it would involve placing photovoltaic panels on unused Transfer Station property.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Highway Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

District heating

Action Item 2.3.1.3: District heating

Permit and provide incentives where applicable for the use of multi-building ground-source heating systems (“district heating”) for new dense development and redevelopment.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Building Department<i> </i>
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
No
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Geothermal energy

Action Item 2.3.1.4: Geothermal energy

Advocate for the use of geo-thermal heat pumps in new residential and commercial construction where appropriate.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Influence?: 
Yes

Reduce energy use in new and renovated buildings.

Strategy 2.3.2: Reduce energy use in new and renovated buildings.

Advice on energy reductions

Action Item 2.3.2.1: Advice on energy reductions

Provide advice to home-owners, businesses and contractors to undertake new building and renovation projects that reduce energy use.1
  • 1. This includes both the construction process (site development, choice of materials) and their design – promoting energy efficiency (as well as water savings, and a healthy indoor environment in weather-tight buildings.)
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

LEED certification

Action Item 2.3.2.2: LEED certification

Adopt a policy that new public buildings are to be LEED certified Gold or better.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Green Advisory Board
Municipal Properties

Reduce energy use in existing buildings.

Strategy 2.3.3: Reduce energy use in existing buildings.

Sustainability coordinator

Action Item 2.3.3.1: Sustainability coordinator

Create a position for a Sustainability Coordinator, funded by the Town at ½ full-time equivalent (0.5 FTE), and expand these hours as other sources of funding allow. As workload permits, this person would assist the Green Advisory Board with other sustainability efforts.1
  • 1. This role could include the current part-time position of energy coordinator for the schools as well as other sustainability efforts.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Green Advisory Board
Municipal Properties
School Committees
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

PACE legislation

Action Item 2.3.3.2: PACE legislation

Support Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation.1 Implement this program if it becomes available for Acton.
  • 1. PACE allows home-owners to pay for energy upgrades over time with a line item on their local tax bill, with financial backing from the Commonwealth.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Assessors Department
Finance Department
Green Advisory Board
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Energy retrofits on public buildings

Action Item 2.3.3.3: Energy retrofits on public buildings

Continue to retrofit existing public buildings to increase energy efficiency. Establish a policy on the minimum pay-back period for these investments.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Department
Green Advisory Board
Manager Department
Sustainability Coordinator
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Energy-efficient ("Cool") roofing

Action Item 2.3.3.4: Energy-efficient ("Cool") roofing

Encourage the use of more reflective roofing, especially in the infrared range, to reduce heating costs.1. Sometimes this "cool" roofing is lighter colored, but not always. Allow such 'cool' roofing in historic districts.2
  • 1. http://www.nyc.gov/html/coolroofs/html/how/benefit...
  • 2. Guidelines are needed to address situations such as flat or pitched roofs, in and outside of historic districts. A future step, if research supports it, would be to provide incentives or require such roofs in appropriate situations.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Building Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Green Advisory Board
Historic District Commission
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Reduce transportation-related CO2 emissions.

Strategy 2.3.4: Reduce transportation-related CO2 emissions.

Encourage the growth of local businesses that can provide local shopping opportunities and employment.

Action Item 2.3.4.1: Encourage the growth of local businesses that can provide local shopping opportunities and employment.

Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Organize web-based car pooling and ride sharing.

Action Item 2.3.4.2: Organize web-based car pooling and ride sharing.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Green Advisory Board

Reduce vehicle idling

Action Item 2.3.4.3: Reduce vehicle idling

Educate the public and enforce and encourage compliance with anti-idling laws, especially at schools and the train station.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Police<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
School Committees
South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Inform and educate Acton residents and businesses regarding energy efficiency

Strategy 2.3.5: Inform and educate Acton residents and businesses regarding energy efficiency

Educate and increase people’s awareness of the need to reduce their carbon footprint.

Action Item 2.3.5.1: Educate and increase people’s awareness of the need to reduce their carbon footprint.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
School Committees
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Promote energy-efficiency upgrade programs

Action Item 2.3.5.2: Promote energy-efficiency upgrade programs

Help promote utility and/or state sponsored energy-efficiency upgrade programs for appliances, lighting, and weatherization.1
  • 1. The MassSave program provides resources that can be used. Work with builders and suppliers to make clients aware of energy saving options.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Selectmen
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Air-drying of clothing

Action Item 2.3.5.3: Air-drying of clothing

Continue to encourage air-drying of clothing, and advocate for the removal of any home-owner association restrictions on outdoor line-drying.1
  • 1. Advocacy may be done association by association, or via a town-wide bylaw, or via lobbying the Massachusetts legislature to pass a ban on homeowner association bans of clotheslines.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Planning Board
Influence?: 
Yes

Energy 'barn raisings'

Action Item 2.3.5.4: Energy 'barn raisings'

Support and expand on existing energy-saving 'barn raisings' by community organizations and individuals.'1
  • 1. Barn raisings” refers to community-organized home energy audits followed by volunteer energy-reduction work: caulking, bulb changes, etc.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Continue planning for reducing Acton’s carbon footprint

Strategy 2.3.6: Continue planning for reducing Acton’s carbon footprint

Leverage Green Communities grants

Action Item 2.3.6.1: Leverage Green Communities grants

Continue to leverage Green Community grants for energy-reduction activities.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Sustainability Coordinator
Ripe?: 
Yes

Expand GAB role

Action Item 2.3.6.2: Expand GAB role

Expand the role of the Green Advisory Board to include researching and advocating for energy savings in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Green Advisory Board
Influence?: 
Yes

Carbon Footprint measurement and reduction plan

Action Item 2.3.6.3: Carbon Footprint measurement and reduction plan

Conduct town-wide carbon footprint tracking and prepare and implement an energy reduction plan. 1
  • 1. This is part of the Town’s existing commitment to ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability).
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Department
Municipal Properties
School Committees

Joint community and town effort to use less fossil fuels

Action Item 2.3.6.4: Joint community and town effort to use less fossil fuels

Evaluate supporting a “Transition Initiative,” a community-wide collaborative effort of citizens and Town government, using education, planning, and action steps to move Acton toward local resilience and energy autonomy.1
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Green Advisory Board<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen

Healthy Patterns of Land Use

Objective 2.4: Healthy Patterns of Land Use

Move toward patterns of land use and land protection that support broad biodiversity, soil preservation, and healthy local agriculture.

Adopt land use strategies that reduce the development of open land

Strategy 2.4.1: Adopt land use strategies that reduce the development of open land

Biodiversity

Strategy 2.4.2: Biodiversity

Maintain and increase biodiversity on Town conservation land and private land

Promote healthy biological communities

Action Item 2.4.2.2: Promote healthy biological communities

Consider regulations, and promote practices, that support healthy communities of plants and animals. Act to minimize the use of broad-spectrum herbicides and pesticides, and promote organic agriculture and landscaping practices.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Board of Health<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Green Advisory Board
Health Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Morrison Farm Committee
Municipal Properties
Natural Resources Department
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Remove invasive plants

Action Item 2.4.2.1: Remove invasive plants

Organize efforts to remove invasive plant species from public and private land.1
  • 1. For information on this topic see: http://www.newfs.org/protect/invasive-plants/index. An example is the work that has been done on garlic mustard eradication on Acton property. Care in implementing this recommendation is needed, as there is not always agreement on which plant species are invasive.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Conservation Commission <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Land Stewardship Committee
Morrison Farm Committee
Natural Resources Department
School Committees

Discourage invasive plantings

Action Item 2.4.2.3: Discourage invasive plantings

Continue to discourage residential and commercial property owners and landscape contractors from planting invasive plant species.1
  • 1. Acton Garden Club has done a lot of education around invasive plants
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Planning Board
Planning Department
Influence?: 
Yes
Ripe?: 
Yes

Education on native plants and biodiversity

Action Item 2.4.2.4: Education on native plants and biodiversity

Develop and implement a public education program on the role of native plants in supporting Acton’s biodiversity.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Land Stewardship Committee
Planning Board
Planning Department
School Committees
Influence?: 
Yes

Tree-clearing bylaw

Action Item 2.4.2.5: Tree-clearing bylaw

Explore the adoption of a tree-clearing bylaw, which would require notice and justification from landowners for certain large tree clearing operations on private parcels.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Department
Tree Warden
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Plant and protect large trees

Action Item 2.4.2.6: Plant and protect large trees

Provide education and support the public and private planting and protection of large, long-lasting, carbon-sequestering trees.1
  • 1. Disease-resistant Elm and Chestnut trees are becoming available.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Tree Warden<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Green Advisory Board
Planning Board
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee
Sustainability Coordinator
Influence?: 
Yes

Conserve farm land and support agriculture in Acton

Strategy 2.4.3: Conserve farm land and support agriculture in Acton

Protect existing agricultural land

Action Item 2.4.3.1: Protect existing agricultural land

Protect existing agricultural land through acquisition or transfer of development rights and promotion of agricultural tax abatements.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Open Space
Sustainability
Other Owners: 
Assessors Department
Citizens and citizen groups
Finance Department
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Selectmen

Support new farming

Action Item 2.4.3.2: Support new farming

Support new and expanded farming, including organic farming, Community Supported Agriculture, and community gardening on Town-owned land.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Officer
Morrison Farm Committee
Planning Department
Recreation Department
Influence?: 
Yes

Support the Morrison Farm plan

Action Item 2.4.3.3: Support the Morrison Farm plan

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Morrison Farm Committee<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Land Stewardship Committee
Natural Resources Department
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
No

Zoning to encourage agriculture

Action Item 2.4.3.4: Zoning to encourage agriculture

Change zoning to encourage the use of cluster development common land for gardening and agriculture; consider density bonuses
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Sustainability
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Planning Board
Planning Department
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Improve Connections

Goal 3: Improve Connections

We recognize that a community that is connected is safer, stronger, and provides more opportunities for meaningful interaction. We envision supporting these connections through physical means including sidewalks, bike paths, trails and public transportation to connect people and places, and to support independent and safe travel for all. We also envision open communication as a means to further connect residents (e.g. through the web, cable TV, community bulletin boards, etc.).

Make walking and biking easier and safer

Objective 3.1: Make walking and biking easier and safer

Build appropriate sidewalks

Strategy 3.1.1: Build appropriate sidewalks

Maintain sidewalk priority list

Action Item 3.1.1.1: Maintain sidewalk priority list

Continue to update the Sidewalk Construction Priority List. Emphasize projects that provide safe access to schools, recreation areas, the train station, and the villages, particularly the designated growth centers. As public transportation options grow, provide sidewalk access to transit access spots.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Sidewalk Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
No

Construct more sidewalks

Action Item 3.1.1.2: Construct more sidewalks

Construct new sidewalks according to the priority list. Follow the Guidelines for Acton Sidewalk Design when constructing new sidewalks or updating existing ones.1
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Highway Department
Municipal Properties
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee

CPA funding for some sidewalks

Action Item 3.1.1.3: CPA funding for some sidewalks

Investigate opportunities to use CPA funds for some sidewalk connections. Consider historic characteristics or recreational opportunities.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Sidewalk Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Community Preservation Committee
Land Stewardship Committee
Open Space Committee
Recreation Commission
Selectmen

Increase opportunities for safe biking

Strategy 3.1.2: Increase opportunities for safe biking

Planning for bicycle improvements

Action Item 3.1.2.1: Planning for bicycle improvements

Develop guidelines for bike lanes and off-road paths. Identify locations and develop a construction plan for off-road multi-use paths and bike lanes to improve the ability of people to bicycle to destinations in Town.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Planning Department

Assabet River Rail Trail

Action Item 3.1.2.2: Assabet River Rail Trail

Complete the construction of the Assabet River Rail Trail. Need to influence MassDOT and Boston MPO.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

Action Item 3.1.2.3: Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

Complete the construction of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Need to influence MassDOT and Boston MPO.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Connect ARRT and BFRT

Action Item 3.1.2.4: Connect ARRT and BFRT

Explore ways to connect the Assabet River Rail Trail and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department

Bike racks

Action Item 3.1.2.5: Bike racks

Locate bike racks where feasible and where they will be used.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Municipal Properties
Recreation Department
School Committees
Transportation Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Multi-use path planning

Action Item 3.1.2.6: Multi-use path planning

Identify locations for off-road multi-use paths, bike lanes, and wider shared lanes and shoulders where appropriate to improve the ability of people to bicycle to destinations in Town. Prepare town-wide recommendations for locations, and construct improvements.1
  • 1. The primary purpose of these improvements is transportation rather than recreational cycling.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Capital?: 
No
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Highway Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee

Multi-use paths through open space

Action Item 3.1.2.7: Multi-use paths through open space

Consider making some paths in town open space usable by bikes, wheelchairs and strollers, in order to create safe bicycle paths between neighborhoods and other destinations.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Natural Resources Department
Engineering Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee

Developers provide off-road multi-use paths

Action Item 3.1.2.8: Developers provide off-road multi-use paths

Increase the requirement in the subdivision regulations for developer contributions to off-road multi-use paths and sidewalks.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Board<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>

Improve communications about walking and biking paths

Strategy 3.1.3: Improve communications about walking and biking paths

Pedestrian and bike maps

Action Item 3.1.3.1: Pedestrian and bike maps

Keep maps current showing sidewalks, bike paths and hiking paths. Make these available on the town website. Consider providing updated information to Google Maps for incorporation in their database.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Land Stewardship Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Information Technology Department
Natural Resources Department
Sidewalk Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Non-car access requirements in commercial development

Action Item 3.1.3.2: Non-car access requirements in commercial development

Consider incorporating requirements for pedestrian and bicycle accommodation in new commercial development.1
  • 1. Pedestrian and bicycle accommodation includes safe walkways from the public sidewalk to building entrances and bike racks.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Planning Board
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee

Pedestrian safety at town facilities

Action Item 3.1.3.3: Pedestrian safety at town facilities

Improve accessibility and safety at Town facilities, particularly the libraries and schools, for pedestrians, people with wheelchairs, and bicyclists.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Commission on Disabilities
School Committees

Increase awareness regarding sharing the road issues

Action Item 3.1.3.4: Increase awareness regarding sharing the road issues

Provide outreach to drivers and cyclists to increase awareness of their responsibility to share the road safely.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Ripe?: 
Yes

Improve transportation around town

Objective 3.2: Improve transportation around town

Provide and encourage public transportation

Strategy 3.2.1: Provide and encourage public transportation

Expand MinuteVan

Action Item 3.2.1.1: Expand MinuteVan

Expand the MinuteVan shuttle system with more vehicles, more frequent service, and longer service hours. Provide more options for the disabled community. Consider making it a fixed route system.1
  • 1. The system could have stops but also route deviations on either side of the fixed routes. Stops could include the train station, the schools, Kelley’s Corner, West Acton Village, Acton Center, East Acton, and the proposed community center. The CoA shuttle can specialize in demand-responsive service and destinations outside Acton.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Finance Committee
Health Department
School Committees

Coordinate MinuteVan and CoA Van

Action Item 3.2.1.2: Coordinate MinuteVan and CoA Van

Coordinate the MinuteVan and Council on Aging shuttles, and consider combining them into a single system with both fixed route and demand-responsive capabilities.1
  • 1. The expanded MinuteVan could become a scheduled fixed route system with limited deviations from the route in response to customer requests; the CoA shuttle is a door-to-door on-request service.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Health Department
Transportation Advisory Committee

Coordinate shuttles with neighboring communities

Action Item 3.2.1.3: Coordinate shuttles with neighboring communities

Consider opportunities to work with neighboring communities to expand ridership of the shuttles.1
  • 1. Coordination can include high traffic destinations such as the commuter rail station and Emerson Hospital.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Health Department

Public/private funding for shuttle

Action Item 3.2.1.4: Public/private funding for shuttle

Explore public/private funding opportunities for the expanded shuttle system1.
  • 1. An example is the joint funding of Lexington’s Lexpress shuttle by the town and developers (including Avalon)
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Health Department
Manager Department
Planning Department

Increase resident use of commuter rail

Action Item 3.2.1.5: Increase resident use of commuter rail

Increase the number of Acton residents who use the commuter rail system1
  • 1. Ways to encourage commuter rail ridership include:
    • Complete the connection of the Assabet River Rail Trail to the commuter rail station to encourage commuting by bicycle.
    • Consider guiding growth to South Acton near the station (see Objective 1.1)
    • Develop partnerships with local businesses to provide van shuttles to the train station.
    • Facilitate car-pooling to the station.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Influence?: 
Yes

Consider ways to increase the amount of parking at the train station

Action Item 3.2.1.6: Consider ways to increase the amount of parking at the train station

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Historic District Commission
Selectmen
South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee

Improve traffic circulation and reduce traffic impacts

Strategy 3.2.2: Improve traffic circulation and reduce traffic impacts

Traffic and parking in centers

Action Item 3.2.2.1: Traffic and parking in centers

Address local traffic circulation and parking in planning for key centers.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Fire Department
Historic District Commission
Planning Board

Reconfigure street layouts

Action Item 3.2.2.2: Reconfigure street layouts

Consider reconfiguring specific street layouts to provide alternate routes for congested areas and/or one-way streets to improve traffic flow.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Transportation Advisory Committee

Traffic calming

Action Item 3.2.2.3: Traffic calming

Consider traffic calming at locations where speeds are inconsistent with residential areas and village centers.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Board

Improve business access.

Action Item 3.2.2.4: Improve business access.

Continue to make improvements to business access and transportation safety.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Planning Department
Transportation Advisory Committee

Work with MassDOT to improve access to and from Acton

Strategy 3.2.3: Work with MassDOT to improve access to and from Acton

Concord Rotary improvements

Action Item 3.2.3.1: Concord Rotary improvements

Work through the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization to promote the completion of planned improvements at the Concord Rotary.1
  • 1. The Boston MPO process for updating the regional transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program is one means to increase priority for the Concord Rotary project. The project would reduce cut-through traffic caused by back-ups as well as provide the access needed for economic development.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Department
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Improve commuter rail

Action Item 3.2.3.2: Improve commuter rail

Work with the MBTA and surrounding communities to promote continued and improved commuter rail service.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Regional public transit

Action Item 3.2.3.3: Regional public transit

Work through the Boston MPO to explore regional public transportation options.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

New Regional Transit Authority

Action Item 3.2.3.4: New Regional Transit Authority

Work with MassDOT and surrounding communities to explore the formation of a Regional Transit Authority.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Health Department
Planning Department
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Promote communication among town government, citizens, schools, and the business community.

Objective 3.3: Promote communication among town government, citizens, schools, and the business community.

Promote citizen engagement in town government

Strategy 3.3.1: Promote citizen engagement in town government

Promote active engagement of citizens and the transparency of town government. Improve communication and centralized information regarding existing resources and events.

Publicize town information sources

Action Item 3.3.1.1: Publicize town information sources

Continue to disseminate information about existing Town resources and services, such as Dial-a-Ride and Social Safety Net, using the Town Website, mailings, and posters/flyers at locations such as the Senior Center, libraries, and on shuttle vehicles. (See also Objective 5.2 and Objective 5.3)
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Memorial Library<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Community Services Coordinator
Information Technology Department
Transportation Advisory Committee
West Acton Citizens' Library

Citizen's academy

Action Item 3.3.1.2: Citizen's academy

Encourage citizen education efforts such as the formation of an Acton Citizens Academy providing classes, information, and events, where participants (both newcomers and established residents) learn about the different functions of local government including volunteer opportunities. 1
  • 1. The League of Women Voters has been doing education in this area for some time.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Clerk Department
Community Education
Community Services Coordinator
Memorial Library
Selectmen
Volunteer Coordinating Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Usable video archives of key meetings

Action Item 3.3.1.3: Usable video archives of key meetings

Broadcast meetings of key boards (Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Finance Committee, Planning Board) and place copies of these broadcast videos on the Town website.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton TV <i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Clerk Department
Information Technology Department
Ripe?: 
No

Attract more volunteers to help with town affairs by conducting broad-based outreach.

Strategy 3.3.2: Attract more volunteers to help with town affairs by conducting broad-based outreach.

Publicize volunteer opportunities

Action Item 3.3.2.1: Publicize volunteer opportunities

Use town website and other Acton media to publicize volunteer opportunities.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Volunteer Coordinating Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Human Resources Department
Information Technology Department
School Committees
Ripe?: 
Yes

More flexibility in volunteer opportunities

Action Item 3.3.2.2: More flexibility in volunteer opportunities

Provide flexibility in scheduling/timing of volunteer opportunities and consider creating opportunities for shorter-term volunteering (single event, single task, etc).
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Volunteer Coordinating Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Human Resources Department
School Committees

Support and strengthen neighborhoods.

Objective 3.4: Support and strengthen neighborhoods.

Encourage private efforts to organize neighborhoods

Action Item 3.4.1: Encourage private efforts to organize neighborhoods

Encourage private efforts to organize communication among neighbors and group activities.1
  • 1. Communication and interaction among neighbors might include email lists, Google groups, newsletters, etc. Group activities might include block parties, neighborhood books groups, walking groups, etc.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Provide contact info for new residents to connect with organized neighborhood groups

Action Item 3.4.2: Provide contact info for new residents to connect with organized neighborhood groups

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Memorial Library<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Clerk Department
Information Technology Department
Ripe?: 
Yes

Encourage the business community to organize providing new residents with business information

Action Item 3.4.3: Encourage the business community to organize providing new residents with business information

Such as provided by Welcome Wagon (tm) in other communities.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Officer

Provide More Opportunities for Community Gathering and Recreation

Goal 4: Provide More Opportunities for Community Gathering and Recreation

We value the small town feeling and appreciate the sense of community that results from frequent opportunities for interaction. We support providing places for casual social interaction and organized events that bring members of the community together. We believe in offering opportunities for intergenerational experiences and for sharing of inter-cultural celebration, and we aim to provide recreational opportunities for all ages.

Create new gathering spaces and make better use of existing ones.

Objective 4.1: Create new gathering spaces and make better use of existing ones.

See Also: 

Create a building that can accommodate the senior center and the larger community

Strategy 4.1.1: Create a building that can accommodate the senior center and the larger community

Design and Build a community/senior center

Action Item 4.1.1.1: Design and Build a community/senior center

Fund the design of a facility that can serve both as a senior center and for other community center needs. Include representation from Council on Aging, the Recreation Commission and other potential users of the building to develop a space program, operating budget, and architectural design for the facility, and investigate potential funding sources to supplement Town funds. 1 Construct the building when town finances permit.
  • 1. The Selectmen have established a committee to begin this process.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee

Facilities for pre-school children and parents

Strategy 4.1.2: Facilities for pre-school children and parents

Create and/or make available indoor and outdoor facilities for use by families with young children.

Explore ideas for accomodating preschool children

Action Item 4.1.2.1: Explore ideas for accomodating preschool children

Explore accommodating the needs of families with young children in existing and/or new Town buildings, e.g., re-use of the existing Senior Center and scheduling space in schools and a new Senior Center.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Municipal Properties
School Committees
Selectmen

Encourage use of existing and new gathering spaces

Strategy 4.1.3: Encourage use of existing and new gathering spaces

One-stop reservations and calendar

Action Item 4.1.3.1: One-stop reservations and calendar

Create a ‘one stop’ mechanism for viewing a calendar and reserving meeting spaces in either town or school facilities.1
  • 1. The feasibility of making this system web-based should be explored. Include the library in this system.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Information Technology Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Community Education
Memorial Library
Municipal Properties
School Committees
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Outdoor areas for gathering in centers

Strategy 4.1.4: Outdoor areas for gathering in centers

Create parks and informal outdoor gathering places in key centers, and encourage commercial opportunities for gathering.

Provide more playgrounds, fields for team sports, parks, and conservation lands.

Objective 4.2: Provide more playgrounds, fields for team sports, parks, and conservation lands.

Parks and play areas.

Strategy 4.2.1: Parks and play areas.

Create and maintain parks and playgrounds, and increase opportunities for active recreation for all age groups.

Implement OSRP (Recreation portion)

Action Item 4.2.1.1: Implement OSRP (Recreation portion)

Implement the recreation recommendations of the 2011 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP). Develop a schedule to maintain and improve existing public playgrounds (with priority to NARA), and create new playgrounds using both public and private funds.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Finance Committee
Planning Board
Planning Department
Selectmen

Playground for young children

Action Item 4.2.1.2: Playground for young children

Improve a playground to include facilities suitable for young children
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Open Space Committee
Selectmen

Improve playground and park amenities

Action Item 4.2.1.3: Improve playground and park amenities

Add shade trees, benches, and other amenities at existing parks and playgrounds.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees
Tree Warden

Encourage contributions toward construction of playgrounds and/or parks in new developments.

Action Item 4.2.1.4: Encourage contributions toward construction of playgrounds and/or parks in new developments.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Board<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Natural Resources Department
Planning Department
Recreation Commission

Playground committee

Action Item 4.2.1.5: Playground committee

Consider forming a Citizens’ Playground Committee and finding alternative funding sources for maintenance of playground equipment and grounds.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Recreation Department
Selectmen

Make play areas accessible

Action Item 4.2.1.6: Make play areas accessible

Ensure that parks, playgrounds, and playing fields are wheelchair accessible to the extent practicable.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Commission on Disabilities

Create and maintain conservation lands

Strategy 4.2.2: Create and maintain conservation lands

Maintain conservation lands

Action Item 4.2.2.1: Maintain conservation lands

Continue the work of maintaining the Town conservation lands.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Open Space
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Land Stewardship Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Department

New conservation lands with new development

Action Item 4.2.2.2: New conservation lands with new development

Encourage the creation of conservation lands associated with new housing development, including but not limited to situations where cluster zoning provisions are applicable.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Board<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Natural Resources Department
Planning Department

Private and public funding mix for conservation lands

Action Item 4.2.2.3: Private and public funding mix for conservation lands

Implement the recommendations of the OSRP with respect to the maintenance of conservation lands, including trails, using a combination of public funds and private fundraising.1
  • 1. Explore the use of a combination of public and private funds for maintenance of conservation land, as recommended in the OSRP
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Conservation Commission
Land Stewardship Committee
Selectmen

Increase opportunities for team sports

Strategy 4.2.3: Increase opportunities for team sports

Ensure that playing fields are available to both youth leagues and adult leagues.

Action Item 4.2.3.1: Ensure that playing fields are available to both youth leagues and adult leagues.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Recreation Commission

Explore methods to maximize the use of existing playing fields and create new playing fields.

Action Item 4.2.3.2: Explore methods to maximize the use of existing playing fields and create new playing fields.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Capital?: 
Yes
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Recreation Department
Selectmen

Non-motorized access to open space

Action Item 4.2.4: Non-motorized access to open space

Improve walking and biking access to open space resources.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Sidewalk Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Highway Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Recreation Department

Support additional cultural activities

Objective 4.3: Support additional cultural activities

Non-commercial movie showings

Action Item 4.3.1: Non-commercial movie showings

Create a non-commercial showing of regularly scheduled movies at one or more appropriate locations.1
  • 1. Admission to films would have to be free to avoid the costs of commercial screening of copyrighted films.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Recreation Department

Coordination for more multi-age activities

Action Item 4.3.2: Coordination for more multi-age activities

Increase the coordination between the Acton Memorial Library, the West Acton Citizen’s Library, and the Council on Aging. Continue to support programming geared to different age groups (particularly children and seniors).
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Memorial Library<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Recreation Department
School Committees
West Acton Citizens' Library
Ripe?: 
Yes

Programs to connect those with shared interests

Action Item 4.3.3: Programs to connect those with shared interests

Continue to offer a wide range of community education / recreation programs that reflect the interests of Acton residents. Promote connections among participants through shared interests.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Community Education<i> </i>
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees

Support cultural activities via publicity and space

Action Item 4.3.4: Support cultural activities via publicity and space

Support the efforts of the Acton Boxborough Cultural Council and private organizations to provide local opportunities and publicity for theater, concerts, dance, and multi-cultural events and celebrations. Make Acton’s public venues available when appropriate and support the dissemination of information regarding these as possible (e.g. post on town website).
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Information Technology Department
Memorial Library
Municipal Properties
School Committees

Support expanding private fundraising efforts for cultural events.

Action Item 4.3.5: Support expanding private fundraising efforts for cultural events.

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Acton Boxborough Cultural Council<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Support Inclusion and Diversity

Goal 5: Support Inclusion and Diversity

We value our diversity in all of its forms. We welcome citizens of all ages, socio-economic, cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. We strive to foster respect and appreciation, promote interaction, and actively encourage a wide variety of individuals to live, work, and play in Acton.

Support residents of all ages

Objective 5.1: Support residents of all ages

Support seniors

Strategy 5.1.1: Support seniors

Support seniors by providing easier access to housing, transportation, and connecting with the community.

Housing for seniors

Action Item 5.1.1.1: Housing for seniors

Support the provision of housing that is appropriate to seniors (e.g. smaller units, located within walking distance of goods and services such as Kelley’s Corner).
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Council on Aging
Planning Board
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Provide more transportation service for seniors.

Action Item 5.1.1.2: Provide more transportation service for seniors.

Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>

Inter-generational programs

Action Item 5.1.1.3: Inter-generational programs

Create opportunities for inter-generational interaction and learning in a new senior center and through community programs and volunteer activities.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees

Outreach to new seniors, especially across languages

Action Item 5.1.1.4: Outreach to new seniors, especially across languages

Conduct outreach to seniors (including newly arrived seniors who may speak languages other than English).
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>

Senior tax abatement strategies

Action Item 5.1.1.5: Senior tax abatement strategies

Offer more paid part-time positions at Town Hall and tax exemptions for seniors.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Integrate Teens

Strategy 5.1.2: Integrate Teens

Integrate teens in the community by providing services, easier mobility, and activities.

Continue to support services for younger Actonians at the T.J. O'Grady Skate Park and Danny’s Place.

Action Item 5.1.2.1: Continue to support services for younger Actonians at the T.J. O'Grady Skate Park and Danny’s Place.

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Recreation Commission
School Committees

Outreach to teens for planning

Action Item 5.1.2.2: Outreach to teens for planning

In order to best address youth needs, conduct outreach to youth to guide them to articulate their needs, and involve them in the planning process.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>

Teen activities accessible without cars

Action Item 5.1.2.3: Teen activities accessible without cars

Provide more activities for teenagers that are accessible without an automobile, e.g. improved walking access from the schools to Kelley’s Corner and an expanded shuttle system.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee

Teen place

Action Item 5.1.2.4: Teen place

Consider creating and/or programming a park or other gathering place that is accessible for and attractive to teens.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees

Teens involved in town governance

Action Item 5.1.2.5: Teens involved in town governance

Involve youth in town governance by providing teen part time work and volunteer opportunities in town services including creating a “student representative” to town government. Explore possibilities for providing school and/or community service credit for these activities.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Human Resources Department<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Support the inclusion of families with young children into community life.

Strategy 5.1.3: Support the inclusion of families with young children into community life.

Provide gathering places and recreational opportunities for families with young children.

Action Item 5.1.3.1: Provide gathering places and recreational opportunities for families with young children.

Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Recreation Commission<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
School Committees

Identify how age demographics are changing community needs.

Strategy 5.1.4: Identify how age demographics are changing community needs.

Document needs of an aging population

Action Item 5.1.4.1: Document needs of an aging population

Meet with department heads to explore ways of documenting the changing needs of an aging population by recording usage of services and facilities (e.g. minuteman shuttle, parks, library, etc.) and identify ways of reaching missing demographics
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Owners: 
Information Technology Department
Manager Department

Identifying seniors at risk

Action Item 5.1.4.2: Identifying seniors at risk

Explore the need for identifying “At Risk” seniors, living alone and/or with problems communicating with public health and safety officials.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Community Services Coordinator <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Health Department
Police

Support households of all income levels

Objective 5.2: Support households of all income levels

Affordable Housing Strategy

Strategy 5.2.1: Affordable Housing Strategy

Develop a comprehensive and proactive affordable housing strategy that supports the provision of a wide range of housing types including for people of limited means, and also allows Acton to make progress on the Commonwealth's affordable housing goals set forth in Chapter 40B of the General Laws.

Housing Plan

Action Item 5.2.1.1: Housing Plan

Prepare an updated proactive plan1 to make additional rental and owner housing available at prices that Acton families of low and moderate income can afford and at the same time provide a means to make progress toward the 10% state requirement for affordable housing2 3 The plan should be consistent with the planning for key centers.
  • 1. The Town's last housing plan is here: https://doc.acton-ma.gov/dsweb/View/Collection-2277
  • 2. The Commonwealth allows for greater local control over affordable housing projects when a threshold of 10% of deeded affordable housing is achieved, or when significant progress is made in a given year. These thresholds are generally difficult for Acton to achieve, but achieving them is very helpful for the town's goals, if they can be achieved without significantly risking the general land use strategy of this plan.
  • 3. The housing plan should explore the potential of forming a partnership with a regional non-profit development entity.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Planning Board
Selectmen
Management?: 
Yes

Incentives for well-located affordable housing

Action Item 5.2.1.2: Incentives for well-located affordable housing

Provide incentives for the development of housing that is “affordable” (meeting state standards) and/or simply within the means of people and families with low and moderate incomes, such as empty nesters, town staff, and young families, at small scattered sites especially in proximity to village centers.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Planning Board
Selectmen

Purchase deed restrictions in existing housing

Action Item 5.2.1.3: Purchase deed restrictions in existing housing

Explore ways to continue and expand the conversion of existing below-market housing units to affordable units through purchase of deed restrictions.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Lead Owner: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Department
Selectmen

Allow more dividing of existing lots for economical housing

Action Item 5.2.1.4: Allow more dividing of existing lots for economical housing

In the review of Acton’s zoning bylaws, support and expand the ability of residents who wish to subdivide their homes (and property) for economical housing (e.g., “in-law apartments”) by increasing the number of houses that qualify under the Zoning Bylaw1 and providing regulations that permit subdivision of a single residential lot for affordable housing purposes, subject to review of septic systems and effect on historic districts, as applicable.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Population and Housing
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Board of Health
Historic District Commission
Planning Board
Selectmen

Housing sites with open space purchases

Action Item 5.2.1.5: Housing sites with open space purchases

When the Town purchases large open space parcels, consider designating a portion as an affordable housing site1.
  • 1. Adding affordable housing to an open space purchase plan also helps fund the open space purchase.
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Open Space Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Community Preservation Committee
Selectmen

Provide social support and economic opportunities for residents of low and moderate income

Strategy 5.2.2: Provide social support and economic opportunities for residents of low and moderate income

Match people in need with agencies

Action Item 5.2.2.1: Match people in need with agencies

Increase volunteer and community connections by working with the school system and the Town to identify those in need and match them with volunteers and agencies.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Community Services Coordinator <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Council on Aging
Health Department
Police
School Committees

Support agencies serving residents in need

Action Item 5.2.2.2: Support agencies serving residents in need

Continue to support agencies working to serve the needs of the Town’s low and moderate income residents.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Influence?: 
Yes

Embrace cultural diversity

Strategy 5.3: Embrace cultural diversity

Support diverse cultures within Acton and welcome new residents of all ethnicities.

Strategy 5.3.1: Support diverse cultures within Acton and welcome new residents of all ethnicities.

Town space for cultural activities

Action Item 5.3.1.1: Town space for cultural activities

Continue to support and provide Town space for cultural activities and celebrations.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Memorial Library
Recreation Department
Ripe?: 
No

Acknowledge more holidays

Action Item 5.3.1.2: Acknowledge more holidays

Support the recognition of cultural holidays town-wide (including by noting these on the town web site and supporting their recognition in the schools) and consider holding an annual Acton Multi-Cultural Celebrations Day.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Information Technology Department

Consider establishing a Diversity Awareness Day with diversity training materials and programs.

Action Item 5.3.1.3: Consider establishing a Diversity Awareness Day with diversity training materials and programs.

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Commission on Disabilities
Human Resources Department

More multilingual staff and materials

Action Item 5.3.1.4: More multilingual staff and materials

Consider hiring and providing multilingual staff and materials at Town facilities. Provide signs, website, and written information in multiple languages.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Fire Department
Highway Department
Memorial Library
Municipal Properties
Police
West Acton Citizens' Library

Include non-citizen residents in town affairs

Action Item 5.3.1.5: Include non-citizen residents in town affairs

Encourage non-citizen residents to serve on town boards where possible
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Clerk Department

Recruit volunteers from ethnic and language minorities

Action Item 5.3.1.6: Recruit volunteers from ethnic and language minorities

Create a new committee composed of liaisons from the various ethnic and language groups in town whose main charge will include providing information to newcomers and organizing multi-cultural activities. This will help build bridges, knitting the community closer together, and it will provide guidance to those unfamiliar with the town and its resources.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Ripe?: 
Yes

Expand language offerings

Action Item 5.3.1.7: Expand language offerings

Explore whether the schools think it is feasible to expand foreign language options to include Portuguese, Russian, and the Indian languages, as well as the current Chinese language offerings.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>

Identify how cultural demographics are changing community needs.

Strategy 5.3.2: Identify how cultural demographics are changing community needs.

Document the changing needs of a multicultural population

Action Item 5.3.2.3: Document the changing needs of a multicultural population

Meet with Town Department Heads to identify ways in which demographic changes (specifically cultural and linguistic) may have affected community needs and the provision of services.
Priority: 
Other Action Steps
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Cultural Resources
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Ripe?: 
No

Extend multi-language support

Action Item 5.3.2.1: Extend multi-language support

Explore the need and feasibility of implementing actions such as: having the Police Department subscribe to AT&T’s translation service, translating key portions of the Town’s website especially pages dealing with regulations, services and emergency announcements, etc.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Information Technology Department
Police

Focus groups to improve outreach

Action Item 5.3.2.2: Focus groups to improve outreach

Conduct follow up focus groups with the goal of identifying ways of broadening the participation of residents from all segments of Acton’s population.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups

Support citizens with disabilities in participating fully in the life of the community.

Objective 5.4: Support citizens with disabilities in participating fully in the life of the community.

Universal Design / Town facilities

Action Item 5.4.1: Universal Design / Town facilities

Consider Universal Design principles at new Town facilities and in development guidelines and review to provide physical access benefits to all.1
  • 1. Universal Design refers to design principles that accommodate people with and without disabilities in the same way, e.g., curb ramps that provide access for strollers and shopping carts as well as wheelchairs. All new Town facilities and alterations must comply with ADA Accessibility Guidelines.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Commission on Disabilities
Engineering Department
Planning Department

Universal Design / Housing

Action Item 5.4.2: Universal Design / Housing

Encourage the use of Universal Design principles in both affordable and market housing through development guidelines and review.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Building Department
Design Review Board
Planning Board

ADA Transition Plan

Action Item 5.4.3: ADA Transition Plan

Update the Town’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan, including identification of priorities for corrective action.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Commission on Disabilities
Engineering Department

Employment information for the disabled

Action Item 5.4.4: Employment information for the disabled

Support and provide information on job training and career counseling opportunities for disabled individuals.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Commission on Disabilities<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Community Services Coordinator

Expanding access to team sports

Action Item 5.4.5: Expanding access to team sports

Work with the Recreation Commission to create opportunities for participation in team sports by people with disabilities.1
  • 1. The Town is working to install a "Field of Dreams" athletic field that will support leagues focused on serving youth with disabilities.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Commission on Disabilities<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department

Preserve and Enhance Town-Owned Assets & Services

Goal 6: Preserve and Enhance Town-Owned Assets & Services

We value our Town assets and wish to preserve and enhance them. These include our open spaces, schools, municipal properties and facilities.

Protect Town-owned open space

Objective 6.1: Protect Town-owned open space

Support the implementation of the Open Space and Recreation Plan.

Strategy 6.1.1: Support the implementation of the Open Space and Recreation Plan.

Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space

Preserve and acquire open space

Action Item 6.1.1.1: Preserve and acquire open space

Protect and increase Town-owned open space by applying a range of preservation and acquisition measures, e.g., purchase of conservation restrictions or use of Transfer of Development Rights zoning.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Open Space Committee<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Natural Resources Department
Planning Board

Preserve farmland and conservation land with agricultural and forestry uses.

Strategy 6.1.2: Preserve farmland and conservation land with agricultural and forestry uses.

Set up an Agricultural Commission

Conserve farming on town-owned land

Action Item 6.1.2.1: Conserve farming on town-owned land

Conserve existing farming on town-owned land and support new and expanded agricultural activity and uses. 1
  • 1. Consider the creation of an agricultural commission.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Sustainability
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Open Space Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Morrison Farm Committee
Selectmen

Forestry Management Plan

Action Item 6.1.2.2: Forestry Management Plan

Support the Conservation Commission’s efforts to develop a Forestry Management Plan.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Natural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Natural Resources Department <i></i>
Other Owners: 
Conservation Commission
Land Stewardship Committee
Open Space Committee
Selectmen
Tree Warden

Support excellence in schools

Objective 6.2: Support excellence in schools

Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen

Ensure that school facilities are well-maintained and updated.

Strategy 6.2.1: Ensure that school facilities are well-maintained and updated.

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)

Minuteman renovation

Action Item 6.2.1.1: Minuteman renovation

Work with other participating districts to renovate the Minuteman Career and Technical High School.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee

Support existing efforts to explore regionalization opportunities in the K-6 grades.

Action Item 6.2.1.2: Support existing efforts to explore regionalization opportunities in the K-6 grades.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Selectmen

High educational standards

Strategy 6.2.2: High educational standards

Continue to support and achieve the high educational standards of Acton’s schools, including the Minuteman Career and Technical High School, a regional school that serves Acton.
Priority: 
Highest

Updating educational standards and practices

Action Item 6.2.2.1: Updating educational standards and practices

Continue to keep Acton's school systems up to date and achieve academic excellence, using standards and best practices as they are developed.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen

Volunteers for schools

Action Item 6.2.2.2: Volunteers for schools

Continue to develop an active volunteer community to improve and maintain excellence in school activities.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups

Enhance community education programs

Action Item 6.2.2.3: Enhance community education programs

Enhance community education programs ensuring they meet the needs and desires of Acton residents.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Community Education<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Memorial Library
Recreation Commission
Recreation Department
School Committees
West Acton Citizens' Library

Manage the Town’s facilities efficiently

Objective 6.3: Manage the Town’s facilities efficiently

Review and manage Town facilities in a manner that is pro-active and cost effective.

Strategy 6.3.1: Review and manage Town facilities in a manner that is pro-active and cost effective.

Continue to explore the most efficient and environmentally sensitive ways to implement the recommendations of the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan with respect to Acton’s sewer system.

Preventive maintenance of buildings and grounds

Action Item 6.3.1.1: Preventive maintenance of buildings and grounds

Continue to apply preventive maintenance measures in order to extend the life of municipal and school buildings and grounds, and to ensure that they fully support the activities they house.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>

Evaluate underused buildings

Action Item 6.3.1.2: Evaluate underused buildings

Evaluate the condition and use of all buildings owned by the Town (including schools) to determine their most effective use. Identify appropriate reuse for potentially surplus facilities and determine whether or not it is more cost-efficient to sell, lease, mothball or demolish. Evaluate the possibility of any of these buildings becoming effective public gathering spaces.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee

Implement the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan

Action Item 6.3.1.3: Implement the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan

Continue to explore the most efficient and environmentally sensitive ways to implement the recommendations of the Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan with respect to Acton’s sewer system.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Natural Resources
Land Use
Sustainability
Lead Owner: 
Health Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Water District
Board of Health
Conservation Commission
Engineering Department
Selectmen
Water Resources Advisory Committee

Manage, preserve, and replace Acton’s street trees.

Action Item 6.3.1.4: Manage, preserve, and replace Acton’s street trees.

Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Natural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Tree Warden<i> </i>

Provide high quality services that are responsive to community needs.

Objective 6.4: Provide high quality services that are responsive to community needs.

Explore ways of using technology to enhance the provision of Town services

Strategy 6.4.1: Explore ways of using technology to enhance the provision of Town services

Technology for delivering services

Action Item 6.4.1.1: Technology for delivering services

Explore ways in which Town government can use current technology to communicate and disseminate information and provide services, including:
  • Updating the contents, aesthetics and access of the town website.
  • Setting up payment notifications for taxes and other bills online for residents, thus making the transactions easier for residents and also cut down costs of labor and materials.
  • Making the permitting process simpler by establishing online application forms, database and converting all files into digital records.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Information Technology Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Engineering Department
Finance Department
Fire Department
Health Department
Highway Department
Manager Department
Natural Resources Department
Planning Department
Police
Recreation Department
School Committees
Volunteer Coordinating Committee

Form a technology committee

Action Item 6.4.1.2: Form a technology committee

Form a committee to explore ways to better leverage technology both in the schools and in the municipality to reduce costs and improve services.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
School Committees
Ripe?: 
Yes

Provide excellent public health and safety services

Objective 6.5: Provide excellent public health and safety services

Ensure that public health and safety services respond to demographic and other changes.

Strategy 6.5.1: Ensure that public health and safety services respond to demographic and other changes.

Explore efficiencies for public safety

Action Item 6.5.1.1: Explore efficiencies for public safety

Determine the most effective way to deliver public safety services (including dispatch) quickly and efficiently as the Town grows and its distribution changes.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Fire Department<i> </i>
Police<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Selectmen

Public Safety staffing levels

Action Item 6.5.1.2: Public Safety staffing levels

Continue to monitor the staffing levels of the police and fire departments and adjust appropriately as the population increases and ages.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Fire Department
Police
Selectmen
Town Meeting?: 
Yes

Nursing Service

Action Item 6.5.1.3: Nursing Service

Evaluate the Acton Nursing Service to determine the most appropriate way of delivering this service, in light of an aging population.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Health Department
Selectmen

Maintain and Improve Financial Well-being of the Town

Goal 7: Maintain and Improve Financial Well-being of the Town

We believe it is critical for us to sustain and strengthen our town’s financial well-being. This includes commercial and economic development that reflects the long-term goals of both businesses and residents of the community. This also includes promoting vigilance in controlling town expenses and continual evaluation of the balance between reasonable taxation and providing quality town services.

Promote fiscal responsibility

Objective 7.1: Promote fiscal responsibility

Actively manage Town finances to avoid an undue tax burden on residential property

Strategy 7.1.1: Actively manage Town finances to avoid an undue tax burden on residential property

Enhance commercial tax base

Action Item 7.1.1.1: Enhance commercial tax base

Do more to promote economic development to enhance the commercial tax base in order to reduce the residential portion of the tax levy.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Officer
Ripe?: 
No

Encourage empty nesters to stay in Acton

Action Item 7.1.1.2: Encourage empty nesters to stay in Acton

Continue to develop policies that encourage empty nesters and seniors to stay in Acton in order to increase the taxpayer/student ratio.1
  • 1. Acton currently has a relatively high ratio of students to its total population, which results in a relatively high proportion of taxes needed to support the school.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Council on Aging<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen

Fiscal balance between town and schools

Action Item 7.1.1.3: Fiscal balance between town and schools

As enrollments decline in Acton schools, continue the work of the Acton Leadership Group to allocate increased fiscal capacity in an appropriate balance between educational improvements and other priorities of the town.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Finance Committee<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Long-range capital plan

Action Item 7.1.1.4: Long-range capital plan

Improve the process of long-range planning for major capital expenditures such as remodeling town or school facilities or constructing new buildings.1
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Finance Committee<i> </i>
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
School Committees
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Planning for long term obligations

Action Item 7.1.1.5: Planning for long term obligations

Continue planning to cover long term obligations such as retiree health insurance and life insurance.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
School Committees
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
No

Financially efficient town services

Action Item 7.1.1.6: Financially efficient town services

Continue to scrutinize all budget items to ensure town services are a "good deal" for taxes paid.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
School Committees<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Supplement revenues with grants, fees, etc.

Action Item 7.1.1.7: Supplement revenues with grants, fees, etc.

Continue to seek federal, state, and private funding sources, including grants and fees, in order to supplement current revenues with sources other than the property tax.1
  • 1. Currently, each department and committee does this on their own.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Consider utilizing public-private partnerships

Action Item 7.1.1.8: Consider utilizing public-private partnerships

Consider utilizing public-private partnerships in order to fund large capital and other expense items
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Finance Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Planning Department

Explore other sources of funding town services

Action Item 7.1.1.9: Explore other sources of funding town services

Explore ways of using federal, state, and private funding sources to supplement Town funds in providing town services
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Continuously improve the efficiency and performance of Town services.

Strategy 7.1.2: Continuously improve the efficiency and performance of Town services.

Explore regionalization opportunities

Action Item 7.1.2.1: Explore regionalization opportunities

Explore regionalization opportunities to cut costs in service delivery, particularly police and fire dispatch services and services such as a community center, housing authority, inspectional services, veteran's services, and nursing.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Building Department
Council on Aging
Fire Department
Health Department
Police
Selectmen
Veteran Services Officer
Ripe?: 
Yes

Create a grants and funding clearinghouse

Action Item 7.1.2.2: Create a grants and funding clearinghouse

Create a clearinghouse within the Town IT system for sharing grant and funding opportunities among Town departments and committees.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Information Technology Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Consider fiscal impacts of new development when amending the Zoning Bylaw and reviewing special permit applications.

Strategy 7.1.3: Consider fiscal impacts of new development when amending the Zoning Bylaw and reviewing special permit applications.

Ensure Zoning takes in to account the impact of new development.

Action Item 7.1.3.1: Ensure Zoning takes in to account the impact of new development.

On an ongoing basis, ensure that all zoning is coordinated with and takes into account the impact of new development on town services, facilities and infrastructure.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Planning Board
Selectmen

Impact fees

Action Item 7.1.3.2: Impact fees

Consider supporting legislation that would enable Massachusetts towns to charge impact fees on new development.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Board
Planning Department
Influence?: 
Yes

Promote economic development that supports other Acton 2020 planning goals

Objective 7.2: Promote economic development that supports other Acton 2020 planning goals

Recruit and retain businesses

Strategy 7.2.1: Recruit and retain businesses

Increase the Town’s fiscal capacity to implement all goals by proactively recruiting new businesses and retaining existing ones throughout the Town.

Employment-oriented development

Action Item 7.2.1.1: Employment-oriented development

Actively promote employment-oriented development (e.g., high tech/R&D offices) in targeted areas.1
  • 1. Targeted areas for commercial development include Great Road, Nagog Park, Powdermill, and large commercial parcels on Rt. 2.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Officer
Planning Department

Actively recruit a small-scale movie theater to locate in Acton.

Action Item 7.2.1.2: Actively recruit a small-scale movie theater to locate in Acton.

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Boxborough Cultural Council
Economic Development Committee

New restaurants

Action Item 7.2.1.3: New restaurants

Actively recruit restaurants to increase their number and variety.1
  • 1. Desired restaurants include mid-level, family, casual, and additional ethnic restaurants. Encourage outdoor seating where appropriate.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>

Balance regulatory burden between public benefits and business needs

Action Item 7.2.1.4: Balance regulatory burden between public benefits and business needs

Work to better balance regulatory burden between public benefits and business needs, so that businesses can thrive in Acton.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Staffing?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Economic Development Committee
Health Department
Planning Board
Planning Department
Ripe?: 
Yes

Buy Local campaign

Action Item 7.2.1.5: Buy Local campaign

Promote a Buy Local campaign for Acton businesses.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Planning?: 
No
Regulatory?: 
No
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Planning Department
Ripe?: 
Yes

Develop and maintain good relationships with existing businesses

Action Item 7.2.1.6: Develop and maintain good relationships with existing businesses

Develop and maintain good relationships with existing businesses
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Staffing?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Officer<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Planning Department

Improve existing commercial areas

Objective 7.3: Improve existing commercial areas

Be more business friendly

Strategy 7.3.1: Be more business friendly

Simplify sign bylaw

Action Item 7.3.1.1: Simplify sign bylaw

Rewrite and simplify the sign bylaw to increase flexibility of standards while continuing to protect aesthetics.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Economic Development Committee
Historic District Commission
Planning Board
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
Yes

Streamline business permitting

Action Item 7.3.1.2: Streamline business permitting

Improve and streamline the business permitting process, including implementing permit tracking software.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Economic Development Committee
Engineering Department
Health Department
Information Technology Department
Natural Resources Department
Planning Department
Selectmen
Ripe?: 
No

Improve the aesthetics of shopping areas

Strategy 7.3.2: Improve the aesthetics of shopping areas

Work with property owners to make improvements to existing commercial areas.

Action Item 7.3.2.1: Work with property owners to make improvements to existing commercial areas.

Timing: 
New Sustained Action (start by 2015 and continue through 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Design Review Board
Economic Development Officer
Historic District Commission
Selectmen
Influence?: 
Yes

Support the financial ability of all residents to stay in Acton for a lifetime

Objective 7.4: Support the financial ability of all residents to stay in Acton for a lifetime

Incentives to keep post-school-age households in town

Action Item 7.4.1: Incentives to keep post-school-age households in town

Consider incentives to encourage seniors and empty-nesters to stay in Acton such as tax relief, preference in hiring for part time jobs with the Town, an adequate supply of smaller housing, and a new Senior Center. In Acton, households without school-age children generally pay more in taxes then they receive in services, so it can be financially advantageous for the town to encourage these households to stay, Also, when households spend more years in Acton, the web of connections between people within town is strengthened (Goal 3)
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Population and Housing
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Acton Community Housing Corporation
Acton Housing Authority
Council on Aging
Finance Department
Human Resources Department
Manager Department

Natural gas extension

Action Item 7.4.2: Natural gas extension

Advocate for extensions of natural gas lines where this would provide options for homeowners to switch away from oil or electric heat. This will save money for homeowners.1
  • 1. This may or may not represent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions - this depends on the source of the natural gas, the heating source being displaced, and any leaks in the natural gas distribution system
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Department
Influence?: 
Yes