Master Plan FAQs

What is a Master Plan? 

A master plan is a comprehensive policy framework to guide decisions about growth and change based on a shared vision of what the community wants to be like in the future. A master plan is primarily a plan for a town’s physical development and a set of policies, programs, and actions to achieve what the plan envisions. 

A master plan includes a baseline and projections in the following core elements:

Core Elements

What a Master Plan is not...

  • A strategic plan for any individual department or area of the town;
  • A capital improvement plan; or
  • A topic-specific plan such as an Open Space and Recreation Plan, Housing Production Plan, or Climate Action Plan. 

What is the legal basis for planning?

The legal basis for master planning in Massachusetts comes from M.G.L. Chapter 41, Section 81D. This statute requires a community to create a plan "for decision making regarding the long-term physical development of the municipality." The plan must include an implementation program and schedule for the town actions necessary to achieve the goals of each element of the plan. 

How frequently should a master plan be updated?

There is no prescribed timeframe to update a comprehensive master plan. The statute simply enables a planning board to extend or amend a master plan "from time to time". 

The Hingham Planning Board previously adopted Master Plans in 1968 and 2001. The Planning Board also initiated a review of the 2001 Plan in 2013 that culminated in updated goals and policies adopted in 2017. The current Hingham Master Plan, adopted in August 2021, establishes a vision and goals that will guide development through 2035 - the Town's 400th Anniversary. 

Where is the Hingham Master Plan available to read?

The Master Plan is available online. Hard copies are also available to view at Town Hall in the Offices of the Planning Board and the Select Board.