Planning Board Annual Report for 1999 - January 12, 2000

The Planning Board welcomes Anthony Batista to the Board. He was elected in April 1999 replacing Scott Boudreau who had resigned.

The Board received no new applications under subdivision control in 1999. The subdivision at Bayberry Hills on Nash Road was completed in early 1999 and the Planning Board brought five roads before the Annual Town Meeting for acceptance. All were approved.

The Board also oversaw warrant articles to discontinue portions of Watatic Mountain Road at two Town Meetings. Watatic Mountain Road now provides adequate access to the residents along it as well as public access to land recently acquired by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. The Board would like to thank the Highway Superintendent for bringing this to our attention and working with us and the abutting landowners, as well as for his assistance in inspecting and approving the new town roads.

The Open Space Committee under the joint leadership of the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission worked hard to create a draft Open Space and Recreation Plan. We are very pleased at the citizen involvement with this project. The Committee sent out a town wide survey with a 10% response rate (very good), and the Committee itself had approximately 20 active participants. The Plan describes our Town and outlines critical open space areas to study for preservation as well as actions the Town can take to assist private landowners in maintaining and preserving their land. We expect to bring the completed plan before the 2000 Annual Town Meeting.

The Planning Board and the Board of Assessors continue to maintain a close working relationship to provide the Town with the most accurate mapping and the most complete land use data to date. We appreciate this effective collaboration.

Growth continues to be an issue for the Town. There is a continuing trend of increasing development and the demand for increased sophistication in our zoning bylaws. The Annual Town Meeting voted to create a lot width bylaw, which requires lots to maintain their dimensional integrity. Town Meeting also approved a modification in our commercial district, which would limit the types of establishments that are allowed in the center of town, in order to maintain the historic authenticity there. We are continuing to study other zoning tools that may be useful in managing growth in a way that maintains our town's rural nature and supports viable agriculture. In particular, we are discussing backlot zoning, large acreage-reduced frontage zoning, watershed protection zoning and open space zoning. We welcome your participation in this effort.

The members of the Planning Board are saddened by the loss of John Brodie, a Planning Board veteran of 19 years. John was instrumental in the creation of Ashby’s original zoning bylaw in 1978. He lent a valuable perspective to the Board and his years of experience are irreplaceable. He brought to meetings his outlandish humor and colorful stories, and his forceful advocacy for his positions. He attended our meetings to the end and we miss him. His legacy will be felt by Ashby residents for years to come

James Hargraves, Chairman Alan Pease, Clerk

Anthony Batista

Wayne Stacy Jean Lindquist