Home » Making plans for revival of town planning group

Making plans for revival of town planning group

SHARON — Plans are being made to change and adapt the Long-Range Planning Committee. Ideas were discussed at a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Jan. 17 that was attended by about 20 people.The planning committee had been brought back to life by First Selectman Malcolm Brown when he was in office a few years ago. Robert Loucks (who is now in his second term as first selectman) said by the time he took office interest in the committee seemed to have died down.At the Dec. 13, 2011, meeting of the selectmen, Jessica Fowler, who is chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee, made a plea for reestablishing the committee to a fully functioning town advisory board.The mission statement of the committee, when it was established by Brown, said, “The town of Sharon Long-Range Planning Committee will act in an advisory capacity to the selectmen of the town of Sharon and will evaluate and prioritize immediate and long-range issues.”Resident Margaret Keilty, speaking in favor of the committee, said, “Sharon needs to be proactive, not reactive.” Much discussion centered on the size of the committee. It had previously consisted of 15 people. Some town residents said they wanted a large committee, others felt a smaller committee could be more productive, especially in an advisory capacity. Loucks said, “Less is more. A smaller committee can usually accomplish more and in a shorter time.”After much passionate discussion on the pros and cons of a committee, Selectman John Perotti made a motion that the selectmen should meet with Fowler to explore ways to revive the committee. The motion passed.In an interview after the meeting, Loucks said, “When new ideas come up for the town they need to be prioritized. All projects require funding. Because we do not have the resources to do everything we would like at one time, new ideas have to be placed in a meaningful order of priority.”Loucks said one benefit of a Long-Range Planning Committee would be continuity. “Boards of selectmen change every two years, the selectmen come and go. By having a properly operating long-range planning group, each new administration would have a guide to follow and the plan would flow from one administration to the next. New administrations would not have to start from scratch.”

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