08/18/2022 Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

August 18, 2022 Braintree Planning Commission Minutes

Town office: Jen P., Nate C., Jackson E., and Paul K.

Regrets:  Malcom

Nathan called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. 

No public Comment

The goal to have the changes and summary to be completed by our August meeting and ready for the Public hearing on 10/13/22.  The mailing to our surrounding towns and RPC and interested parties would need to be sent out 30 days in advance no later than 9/13/22.   The public hearing notice to be published must go out no later than 9/22/22 with the notice being provided by Tuesday 9/20/22 to the Herald to be published. 

Town Plan Adoption

A handy adoption checklist for plans and bylaws is found here. There are two parts of the checklist (one for plans and one for bylaws).

  • Planning Commission Hearing
    • 30 days after the Town Plan Mailing
    • 15 days after the Hearing Notice
    • Major changes at the PC level do not trigger another PC hearing as they send it along to the SB.
    • Procedural Tips for Hearings here
  • Planning Commission Mailing: 30-day physical notice is required (certified mail) to surrounding municipal planning commissions, the regional planning commission and interested groups who request the notice in writing.  The packet must include the following materials and a template is available at the end of the adoption checklist.  An electronic copy of the packet must also be emailed to the Department of Housing and Community Development.
    • town plan text
    • full set of maps
    • Town Planning Commission report on the Plan
    • hearing notice with chapter headings and a solicitation for comments.
  • Hearing Notice: a 15-day notice must be published in the local newspaper for the planning commission hearing and placed in three physical locations around the community.  TRORC has templates of this notice.  After the hearing, the PC formally sends the plan to the selectboard.  The notice must include:
    • date, time, place
    • purpose of the hearing
    • summary of the Town Plan with a statement of purpose, geographic areas affected
    • table of contents of Plan
    • description of the place within the municipality where the full text and/or maps may be examined
    • On notices, you can only count the day it is printed or the hearing date, but not both in your 15-day calculation.
  • Selectboard Hearing:
    • If a community has a population of 2,500 people or more, the selectboard must hold two public hearings. Anything less than 2,500 only one hearing must be held (at a minimum).
    • No less than 30 nor more than 120 days after the planning commission hearing may the selectboard hold their first public hearing with a required 15-day notice in the newspaper and posted physically around the community.
    • Once the selectboard has their hearings, they have up to one year from the date of final planning commission hearing to adopt the town plan by selectboard vote or at a town meeting.
    • Major changes at the SB level do trigger another SB hearing.
    • It does not have to be sent back to the PC for another hearing.  Just a copy needs to be sent back to the PC for their comments.  
  • Hearing Notice:  The notice requirements are the same as the planning commission hearing notice.  There is no mailing at the SB level.  
  • Adoption: Adopted plans are effective on the date of adoption and must be sent to the regional planning commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development to be recorded.
  • Adoption versus Amendment: TRORC recommends to treat all amended, adopted, or readopted processes as the same.
  • Regional Approval and Confirmation (optional, but recommended): If a municipality wishes its plan or plan amendment to be eligible for approval under the provisions of §4350 of this title, it shall request approval. The request for approval may be before or after the adoption of the plan by the municipality, at the option of the municipality. Any such requests should be in writing and accompanied by a copy of the adopted or draft plan (by mail or electronically to TRORC).  The TRORC Board of Directors holds the final decision on Town Plan approvals and confirmations.  When requested, the regional planning commission shall review the municipal plan to determine if the document is consistent with the State’s planning goals, the Regional Plan and the approved plans of other municipalities in the region.  Please see our town plan approval page for more information.  The RPC will carry out and conduct all related and necessary reviews, hearings, and processes. 

Need to complete summary of changes. 

Need to ask commissions in town for comments.  Possibly have PC attend individual meetings to seek comments prior to the formal public hearing. 

PC discussed how to complete the summary of changes needed.  First paragraph of our town plan includes need for the changes. 

Jen has gone through and created notes of identified changes.  She noted that forest fragmentation and height above floodplain was not in our new town plan.  PC members to review and add to these notes and review.  Goal now is to have a completed summary by or at our 0ctober 13th meeting. 

Nathan to send updated maps provided by TRORC to PC for review and comments prior to September meeting.  We also need to work on the summary of changes made to this updated town plan and review and approve at September meeting.  Nathan to ask TRORC to assist with the summary of changes.

Other Business

Nathan to look into the grant opportunity to support the updating of our zoning bylaw to support new housing in designated areas.  TRORC request cost estimate for zoning update to help inform us, also seek a sample RFP to support the potential application for a grant to hire a consultant to help with zoning update.  PC would like to develop an RFP for the service needed. 

Request to the DRB to provide language to the PC that would help us understand what definitions in the Zoning bylaws that the DRB wants to edit in an attempt to clarify. 

  • Meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.