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Southampton master plan ready for review

After nearly four years of work, the Master Plan Committee and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission have completed a draft of the document they say will guide the town’s development and governing to 2030.

The authors will answer questions and collect feedback about the master plan at an informational open house event at Town Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. March 14.

Committee Chairman Henry Barton said that while they could make “minor changes” in reaction to public comments, the plan is essentially finished. It includes information and recommendations about eight topics: housing, economic development, historic and cultural resources, open space and recreation, mobility, public services and facilities, energy and land use. The recommendations are based on policy review and community input collected in surveys and forums.

“It’s an effort to set a direction” for the town’s future, Barton said.

Major goals identified in the master plan include preserving historic and agricultural features and open space, concentrating residential and commercial development in key areas and building a rail trail and a public safety complex.

“People are desirous of keeping the town as rural as possible and one way to do that is to keep development, commercial and otherwise, along College Highway,” Barton said. “Those areas already have some development.”

The plan suggests four segments of College Highway: the village center, the area near the Easthampton-Southampton line, Lockville (from Brickyard Road to Fomer Road) and between College Highway and Pomeroy Meadow and Gunn roads.

Streamlining the permitting process, adding sewer capability and changing zoning regulations to allow mixed residential and commercial use would help drive development to the areas, the plan states.

Four spots highlighted for open space protection include areas around Glendale Road, Middle Road, the Tighe-Carmody Reservoir and the Lyman conservation area and adjacent parcels along College Highway. Residents also wanted to expand the town’s walking, biking and hiking opportunities, so the plan suggests completing the proposed greenway, connecting it to walkable conservation areas and constructing more sidewalks.

It suggests promoting more affordable housing and tweaking zoning to allow for more diverse types of housing so residential development will use less land.

“There’s a strong preference for single-family homes, but that contradicts the strong preference to keep it rural,” Barton said.

In terms of public service, the plan suggests spending more on the town’s elementary school, library and elder services. Improving energy efficiency in town buildings and producing renewable energy — possibly through a solar array or methane digester at the capped landfill — were also goals listed in the document.

The full draft can be reviewed at www.southamptonmasterplan.org under the “Documents” tab. Print copies will be available at Town Hall and the Edwards Public Library starting March 7.

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New practice opens

A new medical practice, Southampton Medical Associates, opened March 1 and at 6 Parc Place off of Route 10.

At the practice, nurse practitioner Chalice Santorelli is accepting new patients. She is a member of Cooley Dickinson Practice Associates, a medical group affiliated with the Northampton hospital.

In addition to Santorelli, Dr. Peter Siersma, a Williamsburg internal medicine provider, will be the physician supervisor at Southampton Medical Associates.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 413-527-1105.

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Friends fundraiser held

The Friends of Edwards Public Library’s wine and cheese tasting event originally scheduled for Feb. 8 is taking place Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the library at 30 East St. The “Wine with Friends” fundraiser is open to those 21 or older and tickets are $8 for Friends members or $10 for the general public.

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Preschool screenings held

The William E. Norris Preschool Program is holding screenings for the coming school year on Wednesday and Thursday.

Southampton residents with children who are 3 and 4 years old may be eligible.

For more information or to schedule a screening, contact the Norris School at 413-527-0811.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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