A team is officially in place to ensure an updated master plan is developed in the Town of Easton.
Earlier this month, town officials approved a charge and a list of members for the Master Plan Steering Committee, which will develop a Master Plan to "provide the basis for guidance, coordination and accountability to future decision makers regarding the long term physical development and growth of the community."
The Town's Master Plan hasn't been updated since 1971.
The committee will be headed by Planning Board Chair Gregory Strange and Cathy Adler. Altogether, selectmen and planning board members appointed 14 people to the committee.
- Craig Binney
- Christopher Kone
- Beth Shapiro
- Edmunds Hands
- Patti Groebe
- Keith Graveline
- Brian Hoffman
- Peter Buhl
- Catherine Adler
- Paul Prew
- Dawn Boynton
- Walter Mirrione
- Majid Lashkari
- Ellen Barlow
"These individuals represent varied backgrounds, areas of interest and expertise to assist in the Town's vision for a Master Plan," Planning Board Chair Gregory Strange wrote in a Dec. 11 memo to Selectmen.
The process of developing a Master Plan will be two years, with the committee meeting at least once monthly. Town Voters approved a warrant article last May allowing for $50,000 to be spent on consulting work for developing the plan. Officials said at the time that more money is expected to be dedicated to the process next year for the second half of the process.
Below is the approved charge for the Master Plan Steering Committee:
The Planning Board, under the requirements of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 41 Section 81D is charged with making a Master Plan for the Town of Easton. Such plans are designed to provide the basis for guidance, coordination and accountability to future decision makers regarding the long term physical development and growth of the community. As such, the Planning Board will request the Board of Selectmen appoint a Master Plan Steering Committee to oversee development of a Comprehensive Master Plan for Easton. This Committee will work under the direction and oversight of the Planning Board throughout the process of developing the Master Plan and will present the Board with drafts of the Plan for review and the final plan for review and adoption.
To build consensus around a comprehensive strategy for Easton’s future by engaging public input and directing the process of developing a Comprehensive Master Plan for Easton. The Master Plan Steering Committee will direct the development of the Comprehensive Master Plan working with the Planning and Zoning Board, the Planning Department and the consultant selected to prepare the Master Plan. The Committee shall formally and publically report its activities to the Planning and Zoning Board at least bi-monthly. Reports shall be made to the Board of Selectmen upon request of the Selectmen or Planning Board.
The Board of Selectmen shall solicit the community for volunteers to serve on the Steering Committee and refer for a recommendation all applications to the Planning Board. The Selectmen and Planning Board shall endeavor to construct a committee that is representative of the community at-large and consists of no more than sixteen (16) members. In making its recommendation the Planning Board may consider representation from the various elected and volunteer boards that serve the Town, as well as a minimum of four (4) atlarge members the purpose of which is to make sure important stakeholder groups are represented. These groups include, but are not limited to the commercial and industrial sector, the non-profit sector, civic organizations, veteran’s organizations, and religious organizations that operate in the Town and have a stake in its future. In addition to holding a seat on the Steering Committee they School Committee may name a student representative to sit as an associate member of the Steering Committee. All members shall be residents of Easton. The Selectmen may make exceptions to the residency requirement for the four at-large members if suitable Easton residents are unavailable.
Volunteer Committee Chairs, The Town Administrator and Department Heads shall be available to the steering committee as needed in an advisory capacity.
Working with the Master Plan Consultant, the Planning and Zoning Board and the Planning Department staff produce a draft Master Plan for the Town of Easton for review and approval of the Planning and Zoning Board.
It is important that a broad cross section of the community demographic provide input and comment throughout the process. Stakeholders should be representative of, but certainly not limited to, all age groups; ethnicities, various economic means, religious and secular associations, and family structures. The Steering Committee shall seek out the advice and counsel of elected officials such as the Board of Selectmen, Board of Health, Board of Assessors, Housing Authority, School Committee and Finance Committee. The Steering Committee shall seek out the advice and counsel of volunteer Boards and Committees including, but not limited to the following:
Zoning Board of Appeals Affordable Housing Trust Conservation Commission Historical Commission Agricultural Commission Cultural Council Historical Commission Green Communities Committee Council on Aging Commission on Disabilities Cemetery Commission
· Establish schedule of public involvement
· Conduct outreach
· Confirm milestones and deliverable due dates
· Ensure work is proceeding on schedule
· Convene from its membership and establishing guidelines for composition of subcommittees to study and report on specific topics
· Identifying obstacles and roadblocks to progress and helping to resolve or escalate as necessary for resolution
· Provide guidance for the creation and reviewing of data, findings, and draft documents and providing comment and input
Promotion and Buy-In
· Build interest, excitement and awareness of the process and its value
· Involve residents and stakeholders in the process
· Solicit input and comment from other municipal boards and departments
· Interface with stakeholders, other entities, public at large
· Ensure public guidance retains a key place in the comprehensive plan documents
· Build consensus. The Steering Committee shall strive, at all times, to reach a consensus among its members. Voting should not be the default position for the Committee and should only be undertaken in rare cases.
This Committee will perform its charge through the completion and adoption of the Master Plan or until such time as the Selectmen choose to end its job. Membership on the Committee will be by appointment of the Selectmen for a term of two (2) years. The Committee will meeting at least monthly at a regularly scheduled time. The schedule for meetings will be established by the Committee to suit the convenience of its members, consistent with its charge. At its first meeting the Committee will elect its own Chair and Vice- Chair and secretary. All meetings of the Committee will be public and will be posted and records kept of all Committees proceedings according to the Open Meeting law.