Mark Your Calendar: March 29, 2022

The Charter Review Committee will be holding a pubic hearing on their Town Warrant Article to change the Millbury Planning Board from an elected board to an appointed board (appointed by the Town Manager) at the Board of Selectmen‘s Meeting on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at 6:00 PM at the Millbury Town Hall at 127 Elm Street in Millbury, Massachusetts.

This proposed change from elected to appointed positions is a reactionary decision to “make the Planning Board more professional”. If this Town Warrant Article is approved by the Millbury Board of Selectmen, then it would move to Town Meeting on May 3, 2022, where two-thirds of the voters present would vote to either adopt or reject the change.

The Town Warrant Article was as a result of a recommendation of Selectmen Christopher J. Naff, and then a series of targeted “opinion” pieces in the Millbury Sutton Chronicle written by Jeffrey D. Raymond (the chairperson of the Charter Review Committee) attacking the Millbury Planning Board and its individual members that were filled with a lot of opinions and some misinformation. This has the appearance of attempting to manipulate decisions in the Town of Millbury and take control of the Millbury Planning Board, and should be rejected by the Millbury Board of Selectmen and the majority of residents at the Town Meeting.

During one of the Charter Review Committee, Jeffrey D. Raymond questioned whether or not the Charter Review Committee even had the authority to bring such a recommendation forward.

If you follow the timeline of events, it is interesting that Selectmen Christopher J. Naff brought the idea to the Charter Review Committee, they discussed it at the next meeting and rejected it, and then at the very next meeting did a 180-degree turn and voted to bring a Town Warrant Article to Town Meeting.

Their whole stated premise is to make the Millbury Planning Board more “professional,” however, being elected or appointed does not make anyone a professional. If you look at appointed boards in Millbury, some don’t even want to communicate with residents and have no contact information available on the town’s website. The town residents need to have control over its representatives, especially a board that has such transformational power (i.e., the tax base, the look and feel, the character, the livability, and whether the town is financially sustainable).

This is a bad reactionary idea that needs to be rejected by the Millbury Board of Selectmen and not included in the Town Warrant Articles. People need to attend the Millbury Board of Selectmen‘s Meeting and provide their input on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 6:00 PM.

The Millbury Planning Board, like other boards in town, will resolve their issues over time, just like other boards have, either together or by the voters electing different representatives. We should support our Millbury Planning Board and provide them the guidance and tools to be successful. Their success is our success. Throughout the initial proposed Rice Pond Village project permitting process, some Millbury Planning Board members listened to advice given, made some changes to the “business as usual mentality”, and ultimately rendered the correct decision of rejecting the project due to public safety concerns and incomplete information provided by the developers. The Millbury Planning Board‘s decision was researched and reviewed by Millbury’s Town Counsel and was not appealed by the developers, signifying the strength of their denial decision.