Chapter XI: comprehensive plan

The development of a Master Plan requires an in-depth evaluation of a wide range of information derived from a variety of sources. Rather than an attempt to predict the future, the Master Plan is intended to establish a series of goals, recommendations, and policy guidelines to address the future of the community based upon existing conditions and anticipated trends. The Plan is designed to identify those elements of the community that warrant conservation, retention, and improvement as well as certain trends or aspects of the Town which are contrary to community goals.

The 1998 Master Plan update is the product of roughly two years of data collection, analysis, review, and discussion. The guiding components of the Plan include the perceptions and concerns brought to the Master Plan Committee by its members, the results of the 1996 Master Plan Community Survey, data and information gathered from numerous sources, invited guest speakers at Committee meetings, and goals and objectives developed during discussions by the Committee. Although the Plan is far-reaching in its analysis and conclusions, changing conditions will continue to require an update of the Plan's basic components as deemed necessary, but at least every five years.

Chapters II through IX of the Plan each provide a description and analysis of a specific component of the Master Plan. Each chapter also contains specific conclusions and recommendations. This chapter brings together the recommendations and conclusions of all plan components into a convenient summary. It should be noted that this chapter cannot serve as a substitute for the rest of the Plan. To understand the motivation behind all of the conclusions and recommendations, it is necessary to read the individual chapters. However, this chapter can be a useful reminder of the key points in the Plan.

One of the goals of the Committee was to provide more specific guidance and accountability for implementation than was available in previous Master Plans. This chapter concludes with an implementation schedule for the recommendations of the Plan. This schedule is intended to serve as a starting point for future work, and also to indicate the relative priority and scope that the Committee had in mind for the recommendations. The schedule should make it easier to measure progress against the Plan in an ongoing manner. It is organized in two ways: by recommendation (Table XI-1) and by responsible party (Table XI-2).

One of the most critical tasks in completing the Master Plan was the design, distribution, collection, and analysis of the 1996 Master Plan Community Survey. The Committee used this tool to measure a consensus of attitude in the community, and oriented the Plan to incorporate and address the results. The results and analysis of the Survey appear as an appendix to this Plan.

Another important duty of the Committee was updating the objective information that appeared in the 1991 Master Plan. This was done by referring to a number of sources, and where appropriate, new information was collected and incorporated.

In general, the Committee found that the community is overwhelmingly concerned with maintaining the rural character of the Town. There is also a growing awareness and concern about the need to take steps to conserve the Town's natural resources, particularly its water resources. Since the Town cannot stop the passage of time, this plan focuses on reasonable actions that can help to maintain the town's rural atmosphere even in a climate of continued growth and development. In reviewing this Plan, readers will find references to recommendations that are designed to preserve the Town's best features. By following these recommendations, the Town will be taking important steps toward retaining its essential traits while accommodating an increase in population. The landscape can continue to be a varied composition of rolling hills, farms, woodlands, meadows, and home-sites. The center of Town can retain its historic appearance and become an increasingly vital center of community life, even as business and industry grow at a moderate pace to serve local needs. High-technology business needs can be accommodated with expanded infrastructure. More open spaces, parks, trails, and surface waters can be made accessible to the public, and steps can be taken toward linking the entire Town by a system of parks, natural areas, and trails for recreation, wildlife habitat conservation, water resources protection, and public safety and well-being. The road system can be extended in ways that not only handle increased traffic demands, but make the roads a suitable environment for pedestrians, equestrians, and bicyclists as well as automobiles. Hollis can maintain its high standards for superior community facilities and services, while balanced land use and development patterns and moderate rates of growth can help minimize the tax burden on the community.

With these goals and objectives in mind, the rest of this chapter addresses the specific conclusions and recommendations presented in each of the chapters of the Master Plan.