Guidebook to Involvement in Your Community

Shaping the Future of Your Community

A Citizen’s Guide to Involvement in Community Planning, Land Protection, and Project Review

This plain-language guide provides citizens with an understanding of how land-use decisions are made in Massachusetts, and how you can play a role in your own community's plans for land development and protection. Become an active advocate by learning how to take steps toward effective action!

Shaping the Future Guidebook Cover
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We also have a workshop series on these topics. Please contact us if you would like to have a workshop in your area. 

Chapter 1: How To Be an Effective Advocate

Tips on maximizing your impact, from brushing up on land-use laws to working with local boards and organizing with other concerned citizens.

Chapter 2: Who’s Who of Local, Regional, State, Federal Management and Environmental Agencies

A guide to the government groups involved in land-use planning.  

Chapter 3: Local Land Use Planning and Conservation Strategies

Understanding how to successfully balance development with open space protection.  

Chapter 4: Zoning, Regulatory Land Use Controls, and Incentives

You get what you zone for: familiarize yourself with terminology and innovative land use tools.

Chapter 5: Land Protection

A crash course in some of the most common techniques and funding sources for preserving natural spaces.

Chapter 6: Project Review and Permitting

Before development can begin, a project must go through review and receive a permit. Find out what steps are involved and how you can participate to improve results. 

Chart of Federal, State and Local Environmental and Land Use Laws and Regulations

A short summary of each law, its legal citation (number), who administers it, and what it pertains to.

Download This Guide

Individual Chapters
StF Guidebook Ch 1 578.99 kB
StF Guidebook Ch 5 738.68 kB
StF Guidebook Ch 2 405.11 kB
StF Guidebook Ch 6 902.28 kB
StF Guidebook Ch 3 550.98 kB
StF Guidebook Ch 4 493.16 kB