By John Anderson
The Board of Selectmen charged Town Manager Julie Jacobson with accomplishing two monumental tasks: Updating the Town’s Master Plan and Reviewing the Town’s Zoning By Laws. Both efforts will be performed by committees, and Jacobson has defined each.
The Master Plan Committee will be a sub-committee of the Planning Board and will consist of a representative from the board along with one each from the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Conservation Commission, the Open Space Committee and Economic Development. Additionally, up to four citizens will be needed.
Citizens serving on the Committee should have an interest in issues related to the growth, development and preservation of the Town. Applications must be submitted by November 27th and are available at www.auburnguide.com or at the Town Manager’s office. Questions can be answered by the Planning Division at 508-832-7704.
The Master Plan was last updated in 2006, and it is good practice to update every 10 years. This update will incorporate the new charter and government changes that have occurred since 2006. The town has applied for grants to get assistance in certain areas from the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, and the entire process is expected to take about 2 years.
With local By Laws now updated and approved by the Attorney General’s Office, it is time to update the Zoning By Laws. Up to 4 citizens will join representatives from the town’s regulatory boards, and the application process is the same as with the Master Plan Committee.
The current Zoning By Laws document is 113 pages long with 18 chapters. The Committee will reorganize the document if needed and then review each By Law to make sure it conforms with state laws, building codes, and other regulations. Every change will be vetted through Town Counsel, and there will be public hearings, reviews, and finally approval by the Attorney General’s Office.
This task is expected to take up to 3 years, although the frequency of meetings will be determined by committee members. Town Manager Julie Jacobson told Auburn Mass Daily, “These are major efforts, but it’s an exciting challenge that has to be done.”