Master Plan

What We’ve Heard

The Steering Committee for the Town of Fitzwilliam 2022 Master Plan wishes to thank everyone who completed the Master Plan Surveys, and also everyone who contributed to the Community Forum on March 26th and who took part in the many important discussions and working sessions.  All input gathered will  form the basis of the Master Plan and our collective vision for the future of Fitzwilliam. The Steering Committee has been reviewing the minutes from the Community Forum working sessions, as well as the results of the ongoing Comprehensive Survey, and offers the following summary of “What We’ve Heard'' from you and your neighbors so far.

Recurring Themes From 2022 Surveys & Forum

  • Highest Future Development Priorities:
    • Protect groundwater
    • Preserve historic & rural character

    • Preserve and maintain open spaces

  • Need for better collaboration, communication and coordination between committees and groups in town

  • Desire to utilize existing buildings and town resources better before building new

  • Desire for more effective enforcement of existing rules, regulations, and conditions

  • Concerns about increased services resulting in higher taxes

  • General consensus that The Fitzwilliam Inn is very important to the community and should be saved and supported


Key Recommendations Broken Out by Category 

Arts & Culture

  • Expand available venues for artistic and cultural events

  • Offer wide variety of activities and events held in town

Conservation & Natural Resources

  • Study offering more recycling categories and encourage more people and businesses to recycle

  • Promote the use and maintenance of public and conservation land, including walking trails

  • Promote renewable energy sources and upgrade town buildings to higher energy standards

  • Attend to concerns about water contamination, winter storms, and biological hazards


Economic Development

  • Make Fitzwilliam a “destination”

  • Convert under-utilized existing buildings to new uses

  • Create a plan to develop  infrastructure to attract business, i.e. three-phase power and cell service

  • Support home-based businesses

  • Promote local mom-and-pop retail, restaurants

  • Study public acquisition of properties leased to private businesses

  • Study options for commercial development along Route 12

  • Create Welcome Center to promote tourism & economic development


Historic Preservation and Heritage

  • Better promote important Town history

  • Integrate history and economic development – need community support

  • Promote historical buildings and spaces as gathering places, i.e. a watering hole or recreation/senior center.


Population & Housing

  • Improve planning guidelines and ordinances related to housing and development

  • Need Affordable Housing  options

    • Educate so there is better understanding of what is low income vs affordable vs workforce vs market rate

  • Explore options to provide better housing options for seniors

  • Promote housing that will attract younger people and families

  • Steer clear of  ‘suburbia’ or large apartment complexes

  • Group housing together in ways to allow more open space and buffers along frontage; or in ways so as to not threaten rural character and open spaces


Youth & Education

  • Re-imagine use of dedicated physical recreational space – use existing assets; 

  • Improve beach area – re-examine the area and how people use it

  • Expand outdoor recreation and offer more recreational activities

  • Study adding sidewalks to town.



  • Fitzwilliam’s superpower is the combination of its natural environment, historic character, sense of place and its people!

  • Fitzwilliam needs volunteers and community participation, small businesses, the Inn, a community center, and more diverse housing!

  • Fitzwilliam will get there with leadership, planning, and public participation!


Several ideas or concerns bridge the six categories and reoccur as general themes in our discussions and survey responses. Making better use of existing resources (including buildings and infrastructure) prior to building new structures, protecting and maintaining Fitzwilliam’s rural character and natural environment, and the need to stimulate more economic, cultural, and recreational activity while not adversely affecting Fitzwilliam’s core strengths as a community are all common to a number of different focused discussions.

As should be expected in a community of any size, there are also a few seemingly contradictory ideas that coexist within the collective psyche of Fitzwilliam. While there is a lot of interest in specific initiatives, such as a town beach, a Welcome Center, and infrastructure upgrades, there is also a great deal of interest in not raising taxes in order to pay for these initiatives. While there is support for new commercial and residential development, there is statistically stronger support for not changing the rural or historic character of our town. While these ideas may seem at odds, they also provide important guardrails for planning, fundraising and implementation strategies.

At the time of this writing, we have received approximately 300 responses to the Comprehensive Survey. Fifty-five people attended the Community Forum. We’ve heard from relatively few people between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. We’ve also heard very little from Fitzwilliam’s summer community. We want to hear from everybody! Please provide feedback to the overview provided in this report in order to help us ensure that we are capturing everyone’s ideas and intentions. Feedback can include whether you agree or disagree with our findings, but please be specific, please be constructive, and please be respectful.

There is still time to contribute to this discussion if you haven’t yet had the chance. The Comprehensive Survey will remain available online through June 2022. You can take the survey by accessing this link:

The survey link is also available on the Town of Fitzwilliam website. Results of the survey are regularly tabulated and available on the town’s website as well. To contact the Steering Committee with questions, ideas or concerns, please reach out to Lori Nolan, Fitzwilliam’s Land Use Coordinator, at

Thank you!

Fitzwilliam Master Plan Steering Committee.


The Steering Committee for the Town of Fitzwilliam Master Plan is excited to announce the launch of the 2021/22 Master Plan Reimagining process. While not quite as infrequent as the arrival of noisy swarms of cicadas, the Town of Fitzwilliam Master Plan is updated about every ten years and is an event to be celebrated. This is our opportunity to reassess our collective vision for our town, set goals, and develop plans for implementing changes and improvements that are important to everyone. Above all, this is intended to be an inclusive process. 

The Town of Fitzwilliam Master Plan is updated about every ten years. The plan sets out goals and principles related to land use, zoning, the physical character of the community, environmental stewardship, infrastructure, community services, and economic development. In short, it's a long range plan.

The Steering Committee, with the support of the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board, will be hosting events and reaching out individually to our neighbors and a variety of stakeholder groups to gather ideas and assemble the first draft of our renewed vision statement. We hope that you will help contribute.

The Steering Committee meets every couple of weeks at the Town Hall - times to be published. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. We will provide regular updates through this column, so stay tuned!

To contact the Steering Committee with questions, ideas or concerns, please reach out to Lori Nolan, Fitzwilliam's Land Use Coordinator, at