The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 31, 2003


Planning board initiates new community development plan

On Monday night the planning board launched a major progam to produce a new community development plan for Carlisle. This effort will be supported by planning services and funds provided by the state's Executive Order 418, "Assisting Communities in Addressing the Housing Shortage," whose purpose is to increase the housing supply throughout the Commonwealth in all ranges of incomes. Communities are expected to address the need for housing while balancing economic development, transportation infra-structure and open space preservation.

Board chair Kate Reid stated, "We are very excited and want to have broad town involvement."

As part of this program, com-munities must submit existing plans and planning efforts from the past five years for the state to determine what required areas have been met. In Carlisle's case, the state was satisfied with the Open Space and Recreation Plan but required the preparation of a plan covering housing , economic development and the mapping of open space and storm water management.

To assist with a "visioning" and planning effort, the executive order provides funding for state•approved planning consultant services to communities in Massachusetts. In December the planning board hired two consultants, Carol Thomas of Thomas Planning Services and Ezra Glenn of McGregor & Associates, who together have master planning experience in the towns of Groton, Boxford, Lunenburg, Grafton, Hanson and Sherborn, among many others. Each participating town is eligible for up to $30,000 to defray the cost of this lengthy process.

The consultants have have outlined a process to develop a plan whose primary focus is on housing and creating "a concise vision statement." They will review Carlisle's past master plans, speak with town boards and committees, conduct a series of focus groups, carry out a survey and hold a town-wide meeting to understand how people feel about the town, their values, hopes and priorities. The board expects to complete the public participation phase prior to the summer. Board member David Freedman expects the process to "report back on a common vision."

Reid affirmed "We want to be clear that we are not directing but letting the townspeople ask the questions. We want to let the voices of the people be heard, not the same old, same old."

Residents can learn more about Executive Order 418 by checking out the state's web site:

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