Was Planning Board Snubbed on Complete Streets? Some Think So


Monday night’s Planning Board meeting went off script at the end, during a final public comment period.

Jane Callaway-Tripp, long-time resident and current candidate for Town Council, took to the microphone with a “question.” She said she had done some research about the process by which the town (the Town Council) adopted a state initiative called “Complete Streets” earlier in the year. That program has many facets, including sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, but its most visible manifestation is where existing roads have parking or lanes removed to make room for more crosswalks and bike lanes.

This, Callaway-Tripp said, is going to have a huge impact on residents and was accomplished with little or no public input. Her “question,” she noted, was how the Planning Board feels about it since they apparently never reviewed the matter or voted on it.

Surprisingly, Planning Board Chair Tony Padula agreed. “Last week is the first I had heard of it when I read about it in the Franklin Observer,” he said.

Town Engineer, Mike Maglio interjected that the Complete Streets program is just a state program, not a specific project, and doesn’t require review. But Padula disagreed.

“The Planning Board is supposed to be in charge of all ways, sidewalks, etc., that is what we are here for,” he said. Beside reviewing plans of builders and developers, “we are the people who represent the public in reviewing roads under subdivision regulations.” And, he noted, if you read the bottom of those regulations, as accepted by the town, “we are in charge of all roadways and ways, so if there are going to be any changes made...or if the town goes in and narrows the road or changes the drainage that was originally approved, they should go back to the Board,” he said.

“The public [through the Planning Board] should have a bite at the apple,” he added.

Callaway-Tripp said she agreed. “Each committee and each board has a job, if not, we aren’t running a functional town – and this is not how the town used to run,” she said. “It’s time to go back,” she added

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