Rural Policy Plan Released
The MA Rural Policy Advisory Commission (RPAC) released its  Rural Policy Plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (PDF file, 30mb). The Plan identifies, highlights and offers policy recommendations related to the unique issues and challenges faced by rural Massachusetts. The Plan provides a socioeconomic summary of rural Massachusetts and addresses 15 Focus Areas that were identified through listening sessions held across the state in late 2018. The goal of the Plan is to provide a thorough but succinct outline of each Focus Area that identifies the issues and highlights sub-regional differences, describes current related state policies and a best practices from Massachusetts or other parts of the country or the world, and provides prioritized recommendations. Members of the RPAC and rural Regional Planning Agencies have shared in the effort to engage and solicit input from a large swath of stakeholders throughout Massachusetts through meetings and other efforts, and in sharing in the writing of the Plan.

CMRPC Quarterly Commission Meeting 11/14/2019
Our Quarterly Commission Topic is “The Solar Panel: Best Practices for Solar Development” . In recent years, many Massachusetts municipalities have experienced an increase in the number of proposed commercial-solar developments. A panel discussion will provide an opportunity for municipal officials to discuss this increase, its potential impact to the local and regional landscape, and best practices that might be employed to best manage solar development in your community.   This meeting will take place at the Spencer Country Inn  on November 14th at 7:00 p. m. Save your seat by registering here .
Worcester for Everyone
Worcester Chamber
The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce held its annual "Game Changers" business conference on Friday, October 25th. The 2019 conference featured the release of the Chamber’s year-long housing study including the findings and recommendations in the report.  Entitled “Worcester for Everyone: a Regional Housing and Economic Study Outlining Local Opportunity,” the first phase of the study addresses the growth witnessed by the Heart of the Commonwealth between 2012 and 2017, which some have called a Renaissance, and outlines best practices for post-industrial cities, like Worcester, regarding the challenges of equitable housing for multiple demographics and socio-economic groups. Also released Friday, the second phase of the housing study which encapsulates the opinions of Worcester residents. Compiling hundreds of accounts, this survey shows there is demand for housing at diverse price points, walkable neighborhoods with amenities like grocery stores, and cultural festivals throughout the year. The third and final phase of the study will be released in 2020.

Workshops included: Workforce and Affordable Housing, Transit-oriented Development, Best Practices and Trends, Home Ownership, Employer Incentives, and Life Stage Housing.
A Call for Delegates and Alternates
We have sent out the annual Appointment of Delegates and Alternates letters to Planning Boards, Boards of Selectmen, and Town and City Managers in the mail. If you have not yet done so, please fill out the forms in their entirety and direct any questions to Janet Pierce at  jpierce@cmrpc.org  or 508.459.3319. An updated list can be found on our website .
ATTENTION Gmail and G Suite Users
CMRPC's emails are being flagged as spam by Google. Our staff members' emails sent to Gmail-based email accounts are filtering into spam folders. If you have a gmail account or use the G Suite, please check your spam folder to see if you have missed emails from CMRPC staff. If so, please click the Not Spam button and add the sender to your contact list to prevent all future CMRPC emails from filtering into spam folders.
Regional Collaboration & Community Planning
Community Spotlight: North Brookfield
CMRPC staff has been collaborating with the Town of North Brookfield , Downtown Development Committee and the Friends of the Townhouse for nearly a year. The initial discussion on downtown revitalization and the restoration of the historic Townhouse has led to so much more! Read the full Turley Publication press release here .
Regional Elderly Housing Study
The Town of Brookfield was awarded a District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) grant to conduct a regional needs assessment to identify the gaps in existing housing stock and service programs. The Town of Brookfield has a higher rate (52%) of the over 65 population living alone as compared to similar towns in the area. This population wants to stay in their homes and be independent.  At the same time there is a significant need to assure these seniors are safe.  Officials from Barre, Brookfield, East Brookfield, Hardwick, North Brookfield, Warren and West Brookfield attended the first public forum. Read more about the first forum here .

CMRPC is the Regional Planning Agency for the City of Worcester and 39 Surrounding Municipalities in Southern Worcester County. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the region.
Transportation
WRTA: Proposed Schedule and Route Changes
CMRPC Transit staff is assisting the WRTA with a series of Public Meetings to discuss proposed route and schedule changes. Three meetings will be held over the next two weeks, all in Worcester. The proposed changes are listed on the WRTA website . CMRPC staff developed an interactive map to illustrate each of the proposed routing changes. All of the feedback received at the public meetings will be brought before the WRTA Advisory Board for a vote at their November 21, 2019 meeting.
Mass Central Rail Trail Feasibility Study
Staff attended the MassTrails Conference on Saturday, November 2nd. During an afternoon session, we learned MassDOT will be releasing a feasibility study on the 55 mile Mass Central Rail Trail within the next few months.  CMRPC staff is looking forward to reading and sharing the draft report as soon as it is available.
Staff Spotlight: Volunteer Day at Newton Hill
The Friends of Newton Hill organized a volunteer event on Saturday, November 2nd. Three of our staff members, Conor McCormack, Emily Glaubitz and Ian McElwee participated in this event. Along with 10 to 12 other volunteers, they raked one of the main trails leading to the top of the hill, and partook in other tasks such as lawn-mowing and weed-whacking to clear up the trails and beautify the top of the hill.
Save the Date
  • Quarterly Commission Meeting 11/14/2019 - Spencer Country Inn @ 7:00 p.m.
  • Legislative Affairs Breakfast 11/22/2019 - West Boylston Senior Center @ 9 a.m.
If you have any questions about the newsletter , please contact  jpierce@cmrpc.org or 508.756.7717.