Northborough establishes Master Plan Implementation Committee

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By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

Northborough – Northborough’s Master Plan was accepted in the spring and the next step is the implementation process of that plan, which begins with the Board of Selectmen establishing a 13-member Implementation Committee. This was part of a discussion during the Board of Selectmen’s meeting held on Sept. 28.

The original proposed committee make up included one member each from Board of Selectmen, Financial Planning Committee, Historic District Commission, Recreation Commission, Open Space Committee and Council of Aging; two members of the Planning Board; and five citizens from the community with particular expertise.

Questions and a discussion were generated specific to why two of the 13 seats would be represented by the Planning Board, in comparison to the one seat to be held from other boards.

Selectman Tim Kaelin voiced his concern that there are other committees and boards in town or another resident whose representation on this committee would be beneficial and would bring a different perspective to the committee.

Selectman Leslie Rutan echoed the concern as to why one group would be represented more than another and commented it would be a good opportunity to get another person involved.

Selectman Julianne Hirsh viewed it differently.

“The two members of the Planning Board makes sense to me, as we have seen at town meeting the Planning Board understands best, I think, how the town requires zoning and other bylaws to make sure that all these things are implemented,” she said. “They are kind of key members on this committee.”

She suggested that if the numbers were a concern, that she would like to see 15 people on this committee and to also include a member of the disabled community.”

Board of Selectmen Chair Jason Perreault counteracted and said that “It is not advisable to earmark or designate specific slots among those positions for specific representation.”

The final vote was 4:1 in favor to keep the committee member number at 13, to include only one member of the Planning Board and add a sixth resident. Hirsh was not in favor.

Master Plan Steering Committee Chair Fran Bakstran said the citizens should bring something other than just interest in volunteering.

“It is a heavy lift,” she said. “It is not going to be an easy lift so you will have to be really committed and you have to be looking at this as to how this is going to be a positive impact on the town, not a way or means to say no to something. We really want to make sure that we have positive energy on this committee.”

Perreault acknowledged there have been concerns expressed about the difficulties businesses have been experiencing and the need to establish an Economic Development Committee. This is an area identified in the Master Plan for consideration and one that is anticipated to be a large focus for the Implementation Committee.

Information for residents interested in being considered for the committee can be found at  www.town.northborough.ma.us.