Hazard & Climate Planning - Williamstown, MA
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Community Resilience: Hazard Mitigation & Climate Change

During the winter and spring of 2018, with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Town of Williamstown began a planning process to assess the impacts that natural hazards, like severe weather, have had on the Town and to develop strategies to become a more resilient community. The Town established an advisory committee and hired the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to aid them in developing a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness & Hazard Mitigation Plan. Approval of the plan by federal and state agencies will enable the Town to become eligible to apply for funding to implement the various hazard mitigation measures identified through the process.


The Williamstown Advisory Committee is holding a series of meeting to assemble data on the Town’s infrastructure, identify known hazards to residents, including seasonal visitors and property owners, and review existing plans, procedures, bylaws and protections already in place. In addition, one-on-one interviews are being conducted with key Town personnel and main stakeholders identified by the committee. The responses and collective wisdom received are being used to guide committee meeting discussions and mapping activities.


On May 21, 2018 an all-day Community Resilience-Building Workshop, attended by thirty-two town officials, residents and other stakeholders, was held at the Milne Public Library. The central objective of the workshop was to review regional weather events from the past and climate change data and projections, collect local data from attendees, and create a climate-related Natural Hazard Risk Matrix for the Town, including a written Summary Report that:


– Defines the top natural and climate-related hazards in Williamstown;
– Identifies existing vulnerabilities and strengths;
– Develops a set of prioritized Actions for Town departments to take, working with the broader stakeholder network; and
– Identify opportunities to collaboratively advance actions to increase resilience and reduce risk to persons, property and the natural environment, both now and in the future.
– Identify opportunities to collaboratively advance actions to increase resilience and reduce risk to persons, property and the natural environment, both now and in the future.


On Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. the Town of Williamstown invites the public to an information and listening session at Town Hall, to display the results from the May 21st workshop and gain additional knowledge and insight. The completed Risk Matrices with prioritized actions and mapped areas of concern, will be available for review. Residents will have the opportunity to make comments or ask questions about the findings so far. Residents are welcome to offer comments at the listening session or submit them via email to Andrew Groff: agroff@williamstownma.gov. The comments will help to inform the strategies that the Advisory Committee and the Town of Williamstown develop as part of the planning process.


You can follow along with the planning process by checking back here for the latest documents, maps, and updated plan drafts. Link in the button below.