The Sandwich Local Comprehensive Steering Committee will hold five community workshops throughout the fall to gather feedback from residents about ways to improve aspects of the town—ranging from recreational opportunities to economic growth—as part of the group’s effort to update the town’s 10-year master plan.
As part of the public forums, residents will be asked to discuss livable neighborhoods, natural resources, economic growth, recreational opportunities and preserving community character—five topics that came to the forefront of the planning department’s concerns after a survey at the beginning of the year.
“The whole idea of the public forums is that we want to see what the people of the town of Sandwich want,” planning director Ralph Vitacco said.
The forums will be held biweekly for 90 minutes and offer two sessions on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to accommodate as many people as possible, Mr. Vitacco said.
At the first set of community workshops, residents are encouraged to discuss the affordability of their neighborhoods and suggest alternatives for housing to better meet the needs of homeowners and renters.
“Knowing the format that people want and the type of housing people will support goes a long way in helping us work with finding the right developer, working with that developer and seeing if we have available properties to make that happen,” Mr. Vitacco said.
This first set of workshops will be held Wednesday, October 20, from 6 to 7:30 PM, and Saturday, October 23, from 10 to 11:30 AM at the Sandwich Hill School Community Center.
The planning department will use the information gathered from residents to determine how residential needs can be met and if their requests can be worked into a 10-year plan, Mr. Vitacco said.
However, if residential needs cannot be worked into this decade’s local comprehensive plan, suggestions will help lay the groundwork for the next one and give the committee larger goals to strive for.
The second workshop, scheduled for November 3 from 6 to 7:30 PM, and November 6 from 10 to 11:30 AM at the Sand Hill School Community Center, will encourage residents to discuss climate change, sustainable opportunities, and energy consumption and reduction.
“It’s of critical importance to us because we want to make sure the plan we put forward for the future has the backing of the residents,” Mr. Vitacco said. “If it doesn’t, it won’t go anywhere.”
The next three forums have not yet been scheduled.