Agawam, Belchertown, Easthampton, Ludlow, South Hadley and Ware bring subdivision regulations into 21st century

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Six western Massachusetts communities are working with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to update their subdivision regulations, some of which date to 1987.
 
“We have been getting requests from communities wanting help in rewriting and updating their regulations,” said Larry Smith, the planning commission’s senior planner and lead on the project. “There is a lot in building roads [in subdivisions] that has changed.”
 
“There has always been a problem with the lack of funding resources, so when this grant came up [$47,500 from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs], we started reaching back out to those towns.
 
“We proposed to develop a model set of subdivision regulations and integrate into those the most recent developments in roadway design, which include low-impact development, complete streets, green streets, healthy communities and stormwater management,” Smith said.
 
Planning commission staff will consider the PVPC’s Regional Climate Action and Clean Energy Plan (2014) and Green Infrastructure Plan (2014), as well as new federal stormwater requirements, as they develop the regulations.
 
The model set of subdivision regulations will be available to any town to fit to their needs.
 
“There will be differences between smaller towns and more urban areas in terms of what they can afford,” Smith said.
 
The PVPC will work with the town planners, town engineers, and public works directors from the six communities to develop the regulations. They will also be working with the planning boards, who will need to approve the updated regulations.
 
The project, which signed off on the grant on Jan. 17, is expected to continue through June 2019.