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ZBA: Marlborough Needs a City Planner

Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman and a former member continue to voice the need for a city planner.

Members of the Planning Board continue to voice the need for a city planner.

"We have some expertise, but a city planner — that is his background," said ZBA Chairman James Natale.

The issue came up following the a 225 unit apartment complex. The need for a city planner initially came up during a discussion of where the development fit in the long-term for the city.

Following the approval of the development, two board members resigned. In her resignation letter, Lynn Faust stated that the city needs a planner.

"Because of the lack of a city planner and the resignation of Building
Commissioner Steve Reid, it is very difficult as a ZBA member to obtain enough data to confidently vote on matters before the ZBA," said Faust in her resignation letter.

Faust had pushed for a review of the project and housing needs by Metropolitan Area Planning Council that is contracted by the city to review development issues in lieu of a City Planner.

"Unless city boards and departments use sound planning data to guide their actions, the city is bound to make mistakes that harm taxpayers for the benefit of a few," wrote Faust.

resident January 02, 2013 at 03:15 PM
"Unless city boards and departments use sound planning data to guide their actions, the city is bound to make mistakes" This sounds exactly like what is happening at Ward Park! The Recreation Commission gave away park land for the proposed construction of a 13,000 sq ft building. No doubt there was little or no sound planning data to guide them. Without a clear plan (especially one that considers how the children will be affected) how can they be sure it is the right action and not big mistake for the city?
Neil Licht January 02, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Planning must reflect the moves and directions desired by our citizens. How does that get accomplished? Perhaps we should continue to rely on organized citizens to guide us. The downtown villiage group has done that quite well. Adding another level of paid "expert" might help us with the technicals for accurately assessing what adding the required services and its impact, cost might be but the "community" in which we all live has been better served by citizen involvement. We have had umpteen city planning public sessions, untold number of master plans now sitting on some shelf somewhere all sponsored by our local government. None of that ever led to implementation of anything actually. Citizens discussing and pushing for change has led to action however. If you have joined into the various citizen groups you see that it works and that it gets changes that reflect us citizens. Forget the city planner and its beaurocracy because it seems never to have worked here. Maybe its time to act as if we are a town and let the Townies decide what we want to plan for and make happen in much the way an annual town meeting does.
Chrissy January 02, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Let's just get organized! No City Planner? No Capital Plan? Businesses in & out of downtown's Main Street? Marlborough needs to regroup, focus and climb up - stop reaching in back pockets to get things done one step at a time.
Neil Licht January 02, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Chrissy - How will you make your own suggestions actually happen? Its a great idea re the regroup-refocus but what has stopped us in the past is nobody making the idea into a reality. How would you do that? Folks, what citizen groups exist now? Does anyone have a list, way to learn more, way to join in? That surely would be quite helpful re forging alliances around common interests so "we the people" could help make things happen here in marlborough.

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