Planning Commission sends advisory to Town Council for selection of a Consultant to rewrite Comprehensive Plan

The following post was submitted by George C. Tremblay. Mr. Tremblay is a member of the Charlestown Town Council and Town Council Liaison to the Planning Commission.

George C. Tremblay
George Tremblay

Most Planning Commission meetings don’t hold my full attention for the entire three hour duration.  Last night’s meeting was an exception.  The two respondents to the RFP gave very informative sequential presentations of their strategies for recruiting the information needed to meet the requirements for a well received comprehensive plan.  Both respondents represented themselves well in answering the series of questions prepared by the Planning Commission in advance.  A pivotal response may have been to the question: “What is the most important aspect of the comprehensive planning process?”  Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc answered that implementation was most important, and that their focus would be on designing a plan that the town would find itself eager and capable of implementing.  Mason et al answered that public outreach and participation was most important, and that their focus would be to engage the public as strategies for doing so evolve from their outreach effort.  Public outreach is a prime priority of the Planning Commission, and I think the more spontaneous, less structured, entertaining, and personal touch of Mason et al inspired confidence in their ability to do so in a way that would reflect the character of the community. 

After lengthy discussion of the impressive and favorable qualities of both applicants, it was decided to vote by ballot, to avoid one voice vote from influencing the next.  That’s how difficult it was to choose.  The Oscar went to Mason and Associates, by a vote of 4 to1.  This vote will be forwarded to the Town Council as the advisory from the Planning Commission.