November 18, 2009

Acton Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee

NOVEMBER 18, 2009


A - ROLL CALL - 7pm

Members present: Thomas Cashin – Chairman

                                               John Moore – Vice-Chairman

Rob Meyer

Virginia Deboer

Members absent: Roy Trafton

Gregory Martin


October 7, 2009 – A Motion was made and seconded to approve the Minutes of October 7, 2009 as submitted. Moore/Meyer – Unanimous


1. Delineation of District Boundaries – While the Committee didn’t discuss the last draft of the boundaries for the Village and Transition Districts, Mr. Moore advised that, in his opinion, where an area is built out the setback should be 500’ from the center of the road. He also felt that if an area is developed, the district designation should be Rural rather than Critical Rural since attempting to save certain types of areas in those districts would be a moot point [since they already are built out. Mr. Cashin pointed out that on County Road the State has identified a wild fowl and wading bird habitat and even though the area is wet, there are dwellings there.

To Mr. Moore’s question of what difference did it make if the area is built out, Mr. Cashin said he would bring in the “Beginning With Habitat” material for the next Meeting.

Mr. Moore asked Mr. Cashin if he is saying that if there are wetlands in an area nothing could be constructed there and if there is a 1,000’ setback nothing can be done anyway. He felt that would be sufficient area for an animal to cross the road.

To Mr. Cashin’s question of how many roads did he want to extend into the Critical Rural District, Mr. Moore said if the area can be developed on the lot, there shouldn’t be any restriction.

To Mr. Cashin’s comment that there was no restriction on building if the property owner has a larger lot size and asked how quickly did he want the Town to grow, Mr. Moore pointed out it can’t grow if the land cannot be developed.

Mr. Cashin stated he is talking about density in a sensitive area. He stated he would like to postpone this discussion until the all the Members are present. He asked what “Goals” of the Comprehensive Plan would be accomplished if the Town continues to make in-roads into frontage in the Critical Rural buffers. He mentioned that the Committee has already permitted 30% more growth and the residents who wanted to see that occur never addressed the tax issue.

Mr. Moore advised that Dennis Long, a Selectman, advised him that the Assessor never implemented the 2008 version of the Zoning Ordinance revisions into the property assessments, therefore, the frontage in the Rural District remained at 250’ for assessment purposes so the assessed values of the properties never changed to the 300’ frontage requirement.

Mr. Cashin mentioned that during the Committee’s Meeting with the Assessor in the spring of 2008, they were told that nothing would change until the properties are developed and the Assessor also recommended at that time that there be no changes made to the assessments until the properties are sold or re-assessed. He stated with regard to County Road, he had hoped that the voters would not revert to the two acre lot sizes.

Mr. Moore pointed out that he is referring to already developed lots which are now in the Critical Rural District.

Mr. Cashin reiterated that he will bring in the “Beginning With Habitat” information at the next Meeting. He stated he had hoped to have the voters reconsider rezoning for that district.

To Mr. Moore’s question about the property on H Road that Ms DeBoer had mentioned, Ms DeBoer said she was also talking about property that has already been developed so she said she doesn’t understand why that type of area was included.

To Mr. Moore’s comment he didn’t think the Committee followed the Comprehensive Plan for that area, Mr. Cashin mentioned that this discussion has only come up since Ms DeBoer has been a Member of the Committee.

Mr. Moore disagreed and stated Ms DeBoer mentioned this situation before she became a Member of the Committee and when he checked the Comprehensive Plan, he discovered that the Committee’s work was not in compliance with that document. He referenced the zoning map in the Plan and pointed out that the area being discussed at this time is light green and not dark green. He reiterated that the Committee’s work does not comply with the Plan.

To Mr. Cashin’s comment that the maps were not “cast in stone”, Mr. Moore felt that was an accurate statement, but questioned why the Committee adhered to the Comprehensive Plan in other area.

To Ms DeBoer’s question whether the map was a misprint, Mr. Cashin replied that it wasn’t.

Mr. Moore reiterated that the group should vote on this matter at the next Meeting. He said the property owners in the Critical Rural District could come into a Meeting and discuss this matter with the Committee. He said he would like to revisit that district and amend it so that it will reflect what the residents want.

Mr. Cashin stated that the Comprehensive Plan was devised to fulfill the goals of the entire Town and not necessarily individual properties. He felt that the Committee needs to support the “Goals” of the Plan.

Ms DeBoer pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2005 and since the adoption of the amended zoning in 2008, the property owners now understand the ramifications of those revisions which is why there are problems.

Mr. Moore stated he thinks it was an oversight on the Committee’s part because when Ms DeBoer brought the situation to their attention, she was told it was too late to change it because the maps were printed.

Mr. Cashin agreed with that statement and stated the fact that seven people amended what was adopted in 2005 doesn’t make it wrong simply because a Committee Member feels it isn’t right. He stated what was done was done to support reasonable land use values.

To Mr. Cashin’s comment that he didn’t understand why what was designated in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan on Old Shapleigh Road was done, Mr. Moore advised that was done as a buffer because it was supposed to take development into consideration.

Mr. Cashin reiterated his comment that this is not a topic to discuss this evening since not all of the Committee Members are present. He stated if there are any grievances to support a request for a change in the “Goals” and “Policy Statements” in the Comprehensive Plan it should be discussed rather than saying someone doesn’t like it. He said he doesn’t agree with changing it because it was discussed previously on April 15, 2009 [and the Committee made a decision at that time].

Mr. Moore advised he is talking about places such as Acton Ridge Road because it is already built out and not areas that aren’t developed and can’t be because they are too wet.

Mr. Moore didn’t think there was a need to revise the Comprehensive Plan because the Town has the map. He stated he would be unable to complete the Rural District criteria until this topic is resolved.


Next Meeting Agenda - The Committee set the agenda for the December 2, 2009 Meeting as follows:

1. Discuss Revisions to the June 10, 2008 Zoning Map

2. Review Boundary Designations for the Village and Transition Districts.


SMRPC – A Motion was made and seconded to approve the statement from SMRPC in the amount of $120 for services rendered on September 24, 2009. Moore/DeBoer – Unanimous.


The Meeting was adjourned at .

Respectfully submitted,


Recording Secretary