Planning Commission helps to shape the landscape and character of the town

The following letter appeared in the Westerly Sun and is printed here with the permission of the authors.
On November 6, Charlestown residents will go to the polls to vote for Planning Commission candidates. We ask that you consider how you envision the future development of Charlestown to protect our fragile natural resources.  The Commission writes and updates the town’s Comprehensive Plan and Subdivision Regulations.  The Commission helps to shape the landscape and character of the town, now and into the future.

State law requires that land subdivision plans be presented to the Commission for their approval with the Commission determining if the subdivision follows Town Regulations and the Comprehensive Plan. The Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) Commission candidate slate is proud of the accomplishments of the current Planning Commission, including incumbent candidates Chairwoman Ruth Platner and member Gordon Foer, along with George Tremblay who is a CCA endorsed candidate running for Town Council. Over the past two years, the Planning Commission:

  • Wrote an ordinance for installation of residential-sized wind turbines for homeowners interested in wind energy. The ordinance protects neighbors, but allows minimum setbacks, which are, in fact, the most generous to homeowners of any published in the region.
  • Assisted businesses by transferring some regulatory controls from zoning ordinances, which are strictly set by law, to subdivision regulations, allowing flexibility for reasonable accommodations that deviate from the letter of the regulation.
  • Supported an in-depth analysis of the performance of the Affordable Housing law in the Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton, and Exeter, including an examination of the economic and demographic characteristics of the populations in these towns served by the law.
  • Rewrote the Subdivision Regulations and Zoning Ordinance for Low Impact Development to accommodate growth while reducing the environmental impact of site development.
  • Worked on creative solutions to the state requirement for affordable housing, proposing solutions that will help our neediest citizens afford to stay in Charlestown and discourage the proposals of for-profit developers who use the law to circumvent local environmental regulation and do not build truly affordable housing
  • Wrote a lighting ordinance that protects Charlestown’s beautiful night sky with minimal demands on current businesses for compliance, but that requires equal compliance from state and local government.

Commission members Platner and Foer are joined on the ticket by Connie Baker, Peter Herstein and Jan Knost, who have extensive professional and community experience and are solid additions to the Planning Commission.  We ask for your vote on November 6. The polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Thank you for your support!


Connie Baker, Gordon Foer, Peter Herstein, Jan Knost, and Ruth Platner