‘Hatfield 2040’ project underway to craft a new master plan for first time in 20 years, climate change a focus

  • Hatfield Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 6/4/2023 10:00:04 PM

HATFIELD — Potential for more flooding and other impacts from climate change will be issues addressed during the process of developing a comprehensive plan for Hatfield.

“Hatfield 2040: A Vision to Protect, Prepare and Prosper” is a two-year project underway using a $283,900 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action Grant the town received from the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs last August.

With a focus on the needs of the town and what the future should look like with respect to housing, economic development, land use and health and social environment, the “climate smart” comprehensive plan is involving community meetings, with the next taking place Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Black Birch Vineyard, 108 Straits Road. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, with signups at hatfield2040.org

Last month, a virtual gathering featured presentations and facilitated conversations, and information was also presented at Smith Academy where students in various classes exhibited their views on climate change. An ongoing survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/hatfield2040

Stephanie Slysz, the Planning Board representative to the 14-member Comprehensive Plan Committee, said what develops will be an updated master plan for the first time in more than 20 years, with extra chapters, such as one specific to farming and another on health and social environment, with climate resilience strategies also outlined.

The idea is to recognizing that climate change presents serious challenges to a community like Hatfield where the local economy is largely based on farming, and where both the Connecticut River and Mill River run through town.

Flooding and the greater extremes between downpours and droughts are of particular concern. These changes threaten town center infrastructure with flooding, including Town Hall and the fire and police stations, and present difficulty to farms when crops are destroyed by too much or too little rainfall. Increasing heat and shifting species distributions are posing additional challenges.

The committee will use as the base the 2001 master plan and a 2012 update to the master plan, a 2004 economic development plan, a 2010 town center study and various other documents.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee is co-chaired by Micki Sanderson, a representative of the Historical Commission, and Shawn Robinson, a member of the Council on Aging, who wrote in a letter to the community that the first year would be spent on mapping current and future Connecticut River flow depths and potential impacts, holding listening sessions for farmers and elders. Then in the second year “we will buckle down and get to drafting chapters for our plan and refining the vision for what we see for ourselves in 2040 and beyond.”

The committee also includes at-large residents and representatives from the Community Preservation Committee, Open Space Committee, Conservation Commission, Redevelopment Committee, Department of Public Works, School Committee, Recreation Committee and Agricultural Commission.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Valley Advocate Newsletter
Daily Hampshire Gazette Dining & Entertainment


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy