By Drew M. Bailey, Community Reporter
Northborough – The Board of Selectmen approved a request at its Jan. 9 meeting for the town to apply for a grant from the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC). The request was made by Town Planner Kathy Joubert.
The funds will be used to facilitate the aims of the 495/Metrowest Development Compact, an organization focused on increasing economic development in the I-495 area. The compact has already conducted studies examining both community and regional needs; this grant would expand upon that work and look at how its suggestions could be enacted. This includes a detailed examination of the town's zoning bylaws, housing needs, the permitting process for new businesses, and the role of town administrators, selectmen and planners in the development process. The town would also conduct public forums.
Joubert explained that the goal of the compact was not to “level the playing field,” or take away Northborough's competitive edge, but rather to build upon the strengths of each community, and to create a streamlined process for new business development. This process would also examine infrastructure projects that would have regional benefits, such as the improvement of roads or the development of a district-wide public transportation network.
Other matters discussed at the meeting included the board's acceptance of an external defibrillator device, which was donated to the Senior Center by the Rotary Club.
Rotary Club President Ken Golden and Foundation Committee Chair Skip Doyle addressed the board.
“Part of our founding tenet is to give back to the community,” Golden explained.
According to Doyle, the Rotary Club raised half of the money used to purchase the $2,000 device locally, and the regional Rotary District donated the other half.
The selectmen also discussed the Fiscal Year 2013 Legislative Priorities Process, in which town administrators develop a comprehensive letter to the local legislative delegates describing the town's position regarding state regulations and mandates, and how they believe they can best represent the community's interests. The legislators will appear before the board, and the selectmen can use the letter as a foundation for the discussion of the town's needs and goals. An examination of past letters, and the subsequent voting record of legislators may also be addressed.
In addition, Town Administrator John Coderre informed the board that, as expected, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse the town for 75 percent of expenditures related to the cleanup of debris following the Oct. 29, 2011, snow storm.