NRPZ Relationship to Prior Plans

NRPZ addresses issues that have been brought up in prior planning documents and in the Community Development Survey.

Economic Development, May 2017

Page 22; Economic Development Strategies
Alternate Economic Strategies
“An additional source of jobs and economic activity lies in the creation and reintroduction of agricultural
and natural resource based enterprises in the 95% of Ashby not commercially zoned. Following the
trapping and timber cutting eras, farming always had a tenuous hold. Given the rocky, hilly nature of the
land, thin soils, and the severe winter climate, it is unlikely that traditional commodity based agriculture
could ever be successful again. The temporarily protected lands within the state Chapter 61 programs
exceed the Commercial and Industrial valuations ($3.5 M v. $2.8 M), excluding mixed use categories.
Residents and visitors greatly value maintaining critical lands as open space resources, well beyond the
monetary value that can directly be placed on them. Quality of life amenities and locational distinctions are
becoming prominent hallmarks of successful communities. While methodologies to estimate the economic
value of environmental services such as drinking water provision or carbon dioxide removal have been
developed, they are generally difficult to directly translate into income to landowners, and their benefits

“The decision of owners to develop agricultural or forested lands is often posed as regrettable, emotionally difficult but economically necessary. Many owners would prefer to maintain their lands as they have been for generations, but issues of retirement, unexpected expense, and generational transitions seem to require the liquidation of their primary asset. … If ways can be found to provide the needed security or increase rates of return, there may be a far lower rate of land converted to residential developments.”

Open Space and Recreation Plan, December 2018

Pg. 92, #2; “Preserve Contiguous Farms and Forests starting with the lands in the northern agricultural corridor and significant farms in the southwest corner of Ashby, promote and actively protect, through restrictions or acquisition, contiguous sections of farms and forest lands. Where possible, prioritize the preservation of the lands actively forested and farmed; thus protecting both land uses with one effort.”

Community Development Survey Response, October 2020

  1. What is most important to you about living in Ashby?             
    • #1 Rural New England character
    • #2 Affordable property values
    • #3 Quality open space and scenic views
  1. What is most important to you about living in Ashby?             
    • #1 Rural New England character
    • #2 Affordable property values
    • #3 Quality open space and scenic views
  1. How do you feel about the current rate of construction in Ashby?
    • 54% About right
    • 31% too rapid
    • 15% too slow

Land Use Element CDP draft, July 2020

Ashby’s land use goals are based on the community’s priorities for community character, natural resource preservation, and economic prosperity. 

Goal 1: Preserve those elements and features that contribute to Ashby’s New England town character as a residential community.

Objective 1: Promote a sense of community.
Objective 2: Maintain Ashby’s rural and historic elements.

Goal 3: Maintain a high standard of environmental quality.

Objective 1: Preserve natural and man-made features that contribute to Ashby’s character such as open fields, woodlands, and ponds and streams.

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