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Need for Town Planner/Grant Writer

The town administrator has recently stated the need for a town planner.  Several well informed residents of Stoneham have stated the need in the past in Patch and at official meetings in town. 
Some of the elements for such an individual that should be considered are as follows: 

The salary has been mentioned from $63000 to $73000. For a decent planner.   My thoughts are that possibly the town should consider a Town Planner/Grant Writer thereby making such individual cost effective.

 

·      The town of Stoneham is in need of a Town Planner /Grant Writer

 

·      The need has become increasingly evident with the recent issue of the prospective development of The Commons at Weiss Farm.   We should have learned our lesson from the failing of the Ravine Rd development in the past.

 

·      We are in need of a Town Planner well versed in Chapter 40B, Chapter 40R and fully aware of all grants and funds available for our community by State and Federal agencies.

 

·      The planner must be capable of bringing economic development to our community but still maintain the quality of life we are all accustomed to in our town.

 

·      The planner must be well versed in seeking and writing proposals for funds successfully from State and Federal coffers. 

·      Planners do a great variety of things. The most important role for a planner in Stoneham is to work with the public to identify a community's goals, and then help to marshal resources-community organizations, developers, and elected officials-to accomplish them

 

·      A planner will shape the physical layout of Stoneham by zoning specific areas for different types and intensity of development (residential, commercial, industrial; high-rise, low-rise) and working with engineers and architects to plan for the location of major public facilities

 

·      Planners also work to preserve and improve the spatial and visual character of places.

 

 

·      A planner will review and recommend what Stoneham needs to grow and prosper

 

·      They aim to balance the conflicting demands of housing, industrial development, agriculture, recreation, transport and the environment, in order to allow appropriate development to take place.

 

·      Planners are at the heart of regeneration within towns, taking into account the often-competing views of business and local communities.

 

·      They must ensure that development is sustainable and that the right balance of development is achieved to preserve the town.

 

·      Develop creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties

 

·      Consult with stakeholders and other interested parties and negotiating with developers and other professionals, such as surveyors and architects

 

·      Assess planning applications and enforcing and monitoring outcomes as necessary;

 

·      Research and design planning policies to guide development;

 

·      Research and analyze data to help inform strategic developments, such as increases in affordable housing provision;

 

·      Design layouts and drafting design statements

·      using information technology systems such as CAD (computer-aided design) or GIS (geographical information systems)

 

·      Attend and present at planning boards and appeals and at public inquiries

 

·      Keep up to date with legislation associated with land use

·      Promote environmental education and awareness

 That's my 2 cents on this seriously needed position in town.

 

 

 

Paula B Sarno January 31, 2014 at 09:57 AM
Reminder the Selectmen will have next Tuesday on the agenda the item about hiring a Town Planner. Worth it to go and say what all of you think.
Melisa Passanisi Thorne January 31, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Stoneham needs a resource or committee focused on Planning and Community Development. Their mission should be able discern the public interest, think about land development and redevelopment and how it fits into the over-all vision of Stoneham. A planner should anticipate needs and problems that a development, or population change, or change in economic conditions may bring and determine methods to meet the needs. A good planner will solicit public participation to set goals and will continuously communicate the long-term shared vision. A good planner will develop and drive a municipal master plan, something that Stoneham does not have. At least if it exists it's not public. The master plan is to serve as Stoneham's policy for future development or redevelopement in our town. Also, it is a fact that communities with master plans have better bond ratings, get bonus points on grants, and attract businesses. The plan should be revisited and revised on a regular basis to observe current trends relative to land use, economy, demographics, public services, housing, public transportation, open spaces. recreation, and etc. Based on the passionate posts on the Patch it is obvious that we are not content to sit back and react. Sitting back and reacting to development decisions creates anxiety, mistrust, and suspicion when change occurs. Change on public and private property happens, whether we like it or not. Planning will help us anticipate and guide change to keep what’s great about Stoneham and also to build and grow our community to one that is desirable for people to live in and invest in.
Paula B Sarno January 31, 2014 at 04:45 PM
Excellent comments Melissa. Just hope our elected town officials read this and seriously consider when job applicants come for interviews. Totally agree that a committee consisting of residents of our community who have the dedication, talent and acumen to invest time step up and help our town prosper.
Angelo January 31, 2014 at 09:53 PM
Agreed on all the above - but do we really think we are going to attract a suitable candidate for 60k a year? How about throwing some incentives such as a 10k bonus for every 500k in grants recieved or something along those lines?
Paul John Maisano February 01, 2014 at 07:24 AM
Its wonderful to read each of your comments regarding the need to comprehensively design the future of the real estate tax base in Stoneham. My hope is that you attend the Annual Town Meeting to support the proposed budget warrant article discussion that supports the funding of a new Community Development Office and Planning. The proposal is within the new budget according to Town Administrator David Ragucci. Additionally, we have the possibility of a couple of zoning articles. These articles shall be presented to the townspeople allowing them the opportunity to become pro-active, rather than re-active, to the growth direction of their neighborhoods including the commercial, and residential sections of their community. Please consider attending the Annual Town Meeting to remain informed in the management and planning the future of your community.
Cindy Hemenway February 02, 2014 at 07:18 AM
I concur with the above comments regarding the need for a town planner and grant writer. The town manager, board of selectmen, and finance committee need to work together to find the funds for a town planner and grant writer. I would imagine these two positions would also require staff to assist them, perhaps a secretary to be shared by the two of them. In order to bring more money into the town, we have to commit to spending some. Let's see if we can find a way to make it happen for the betterment of Stoneham.
Mario Perrett February 02, 2014 at 01:53 PM
When I first moved to Stoneham there was a gentleman who was working as a grant writer. Where is he now? When was he let go? I believe the Town lost out on some much needed funds in his absence. I do agree strongly that we need someone with the proper skill set and experience to do that task. As far as a town planner I am surprised to learn we do not have one.
Mary Lou Bracciotti February 02, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Angelo, you are right. While we're desperate, you do get what you pay for. You have a good idea and this is not the time for rookie! For once, can we do it right?
Luigi Baccala February 03, 2014 at 07:09 AM
We need a real go getter, with experience and passion for this town. We gravely need to get our school system and local business environment on the up!! Look at reading melrose Winchester for how to class up the infrastructure of your town, and let's go get it.
Paula B Sarno February 03, 2014 at 08:36 AM
Great to hear all these comments, Now please make a difference and come to the Selectmen meeting tomorrow night to listen and state your views about Weiss Farm and a position for economic development and grant writing in our town. We need possibly to establish a selection committee of residence to review candidates and pick out the top 3 for the Selectmen to choose from and also to establish a job description with all above comments included.
Paula B Sarno February 03, 2014 at 08:40 AM
Mario initially a group of us established a grant writing committee and wrote grants for the town and later a professional grant writer was hired to push through our initial attempts to secure a grant for the building of the Senior Center which he did and later due to budget constraints his job was eliminated. Prior to the grant writing committee being defunct we had written several grants for the police department and did 2 failed attempts to secure funding for the Senior Center. That was when the grant writer was hired.

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