MBTS Board Members: Relevant Learnings Available Now, For You (And Anyone Else)


To the Editor,

The leadership of the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the ZBA should convene their members to participate in the series of webinars being presented by the Citizen Planner Training Collaborative beginning in November (here’s the link: bit.ly/31RAkzr)

The workshops–with experts and board members from towns all over the state – cover subjects such as zoning changes, land use decisions, housing, design review, special permits and more, topics that deal with the really complex policy and regulatory frameworks we work under. 

At no time has strong technical and regulatory knowledge by our Manchester volunteers been more important.  The Town is faced with major revisions of Zoning By-Laws and critical land use decisions that will affect the look-and-feel of the Town and its finances for years. 

Many of these decisions -- like the 40B process that is now absorbing the energies of the ZBA --involve Byzantine regulatory frameworks that are beyond the capacities of mere mortals.  That’s the challenge to our volunteer boards, and the Town.

The webinar series is an example of the in-service training that should be required of each board member to orient them to relevant legal processes.  This doesn’t mean they have to be experts but they should be able to make well-informed decisions that are both politically palatable and legally defensible and thus serve the best interests of the town.

Attending these webinars also wouldn’t hurt those of us citizens not serving on Boards but who are busy forming opinions and making decisions without being familiar with the intricacies of the policy and regulatory frameworks we have to work with.

And finally, to all of the board and committee volunteers undertaking this often contentious work, thanks for your service to the Town.

Axel Magnuson


axel magnuson, board of selectmen, planning board, citizen planner training collaborative, bit.ly/31rakzr, 40b