Medway’s Business Future… by Design

The design of Medway’s business future was in the forefront at the Medway Business Council’s meeting at Restaurant 45 on February 17. Tom Gay, Clerk of the Medway Planning and Economic Development Board (PEDB) and representative to the Design Review Committee (DRC), presented an overview of the recently updated Design Review Guidelines. The Guidelines establish and define minimum expectations for the aesthetics and functionality of building and site design for development in Medway.

Gay’s bird’s-eye view of the updated Guidelines included showing off their enhanced ease of use through a strong use of graphics. This allows users to see examples of the desired outcomes of planning, not just read verbal descriptions the way the previous guidelines had been done. Many of these graphic images show properties already existing in Medway and elsewhere that serve to illuminate the discussions leading to the finalization of the Guidelines. The discussions were the mission of a task force expressly formed for this purpose, and composed of citizens and representatives of the PEDB, DRC and Town of Medway staff. The discussions were guided by the Cecil Group, a Boston-based urban design consulting firm with extensive experience developing community design guidelines and standards.

In a sense, the face of Medway future is its past. Early in the process, the task force was charged with creating a definition of “New England Style.” Descriptive words such as “brick, village, green, farm, fieldstone, clapboard, walkable” were used along with images of typical signs and architecture. Worst and best examples were chosen to help depict site requirements to potential users, and designated for the town’s zoning districts – Commercial/retail, Industrial, or Residential Special Permit. The site of a designed facility also includes its integration with the surrounding land. Details such as distance from the street, plantings, size and layout of parking areas are outlined, again referring to New England Style standards as defined. Users of the new Guidelines will also find a Glossary of Terms, checklists of established processes and information about what to expect when awaiting findings, feedback, and conclusions.

An important goal of the DRC was to bring the Guidelines into accord with two other documents crucial to Town planning – the Master Plan and the Bylaws. The Bylaws are also scheduled for updating in the near future.

The updated Guidelines are now available for viewing and downloading on the Town of Medway’s website.

Wrapping up the Medway Business Council (MBC)’s meeting was the unveiling of the MBC’s newly updated website, developed by John Haddad, owner of Bisinet Technologies, in cooperation with members of the MBC board of directors.

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