Charlestown Begins Comprehensive Plan Rewrite Process
The following update on the Comprehensive Plan rewrite is provided by George C. Tremblay. Mr. Tremblay is a member of the Charlestown Town Council and Town Council Liaison to the Planning Commission.
At the 23 July meeting of the Planning Commission, David Westcott and Nancy Letendre of Mason & Associates introduced their strategy and timeline for revising our Comprehensive Plan.
They informed us that, for the first time, our Comp Plan will carry the weight of an ordinance. They advised that, accordingly, we must be especially careful to clearly define our terms and clearly specify our objectives. Future regulatory decisions will have to be compatible with what is approved for our Comp Plan by Statewide Planning.
We were advised, first and foremost, to focus on searching out what our citizenry judges to be best for our town. The Comp Plan is intended to reflect consensus on the vision Charlestown residents hold for the future of their town.
However, Statewide Planning does specify key elements to be included in the Comp Plan. We were advised that identifying priorities among these key elements is now at our discretion, and that we can introduce additional priorities deemed of local importance. In exercising this discretion, we must clearly specify our objectives. Where the Statewide key elements appear to conflict with local interests, the consultants assured us they will work with Statewide Planning for resolution. The consultants advised that, in their experience, such conflicts are more often rooted in language than intent, and Statewide Planning is not opposed to conceding language to the community involved in the dispute.
The consultants distributed a tentative project schedule that included:
- Review of drafts by the Planning Commission in Aug and Nov, 2014,
- Review of draft by Statewide Planning in Jan 2015,
- A preliminary deliverable to the Town Council in early spring, 2015,
- Final document to Statewide Planning projected for May, 2015,
- Public Hearings in May and July, 2015
- Product approved by Statewide Planning to be submitted to Town Council for its approval in Sept, 2015.
Don’t be surprised if the consultants show up at your summer BBQ. They are determined to get a good cross section of public opinion.