Friday, March 22, 2013
With Town Meeting rapidly drawing closer, Board unable to resolve last few changes to proposed bylaw
The Westford Planning Board voted unanimously at Monday evening’s meeting to recommend temporary dismissal of Article 20, which amends the town’s Zoning Bylaws concerning sign regulations, from the Town Meeting agenda. With the annual Town Meeting looming a mere five days from its meeting, the Board reached the difficult decision after two months of public hearings. Director of Land Use Management Chris Kluchman again provided Board members a revised draft of the proposed amendment that differentiated between the existing and proposed sign bylaws. Some of the more challenging issues that have left the Board at a standstill involve portable signs and the reduction in size of wall signs. Incorporating those changes without drawing the ire …
Saturday, March 16, 2013
While Angus Jennings cast a long shadow in town, there are probably few people more ready to fill his shoes than his replacement.
When entering a new job, one often hears of a "learning curve." For for Chris Kluchman, that curve is more a straight line...from her old desk approximately ten feet away. Earlier this year, the town said good bye to Westford Director of Land Use Planning Angus Jennings, but was able to quickly find a replacement in Kluchman, who served frequently alongside Jennings as Westford's Town Planner. Until Town Meeting next week, Kluchman will continue to do both jobs, although due to her two years of direct experience with many of the issues she will now face, she expects a smooth transition. "It's certainly easier coming into the job knowing several boards relating to development, knowing the development community and knowing town staff," …
Monday, March 11, 2013
Board will continue debate about restaurant drive-thrus
On Monday evening the Westford Planning Board voted to recommend two of the three Zoning Bylaw amendment warrant articles it previously continued from the February 19 meeting. The first warrant article, Article 21-Sidewalk Funding, grants the Planning Board the authority to waive the required sidewalk construction associated with land development projects in lieu of the developer making a financial contribution to the town. Westford has historically done this for over 20 years on projects where constructing sidewalks wouldn’t make practical sense. The contributions are deposited into a fund for the purpose of building sidewalks in higher priority areas or fixing sidewalks in dire need of repair. When the Board does waive construction in …
Friday, March 8, 2013
Board running out of time to approve proposed sign regulations before Town Meeting
Fresh off its informal working session, the Westford Planning Board undertook once again the arduous task of amending the section of town’s Zoning Bylaws that deals with sign regulations. Director of Land Use Management Chris Kluchman provided the Board with a revised amendment that incorporated comments from the working session meeting. A common theme of the revision process has been how best to manage the advertising needs of the business community with the town’s desire to maintain a certain character common to Westford along with safety and visibility aspects. Under the proposed amendment, the size of wall signs will decrease from one and a half times the square footage of linear building frontage to being equal to the square footage …
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Current Planner Chris Kluchman to fill vacant Director of Land Use Management Position while Chairman Kevin Borselli declines to run for re-election
When the Westford Planning Board convened on Monday evening for the first of its two monthly meetings in March, the focus was on an agenda packed with items. The Board was scheduled to hear cases ranging from multiple amendments to the town’s Zoning Bylaws to a multi-family apartment building to a four-lot residential subdivision. But the spotlight quickly turned to a couple of surprising announcements. Current Town Planner Chris Kluchman has been appointed to be the new Director of Land Use Management. The position became vacant when the former director, Angus Jennings, announced his resignation back in January. After receiving congratulations from the Board, Kluchman informed the Board and those in the audience that the town is now …
Monday, March 4, 2013
With Town Meeting on the horizon, Board works to prepare bylaw amendment for approval
As the 2013 Annual Town Meeting creeps closer, the Westford Planning Board held an informal working session on Wednesday night to continue discussing the proposed amendment to the town’s sign regulations. Town Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 23rd. With only two regularly scheduled Planning Board meetings before then, the Board is aiming to approve the pending amendments so that they can be voted upon. Chris Kluchman, the Town Planner, and Board members Mike Green and Matt Lewin, along with several residents, met at the Police Training Facility on Main Street. Everyone in attendance received handouts of the existing sign regulations, a draft of the proposed sign regulations, and a draft of revised definitions related to signs. …
Monday, February 11, 2013
Board members navigating potential impacts on local businesses
On Monday evening, the Westford Planning Board met to continue the review process of amending the sign regulations contained in the town’s bylaws. The proposed amendment, previously discussed at the January 22nd meeting, is geared toward not only simplifying the process of obtaining a sign permit, but also clarifying the criteria for allowed display area on signs. When the Board opened the meeting to the public, Scott MacKay, owner of MacKay Hardware and Rental, located at 224 Littleton Road, spoke. MacKay, accompanied by a notepad fill with comments, began his presentation by recalling how the sign dynamics have changed over the past couple of decades. He indicated how signs have evolved from “mom and pop signs” to standard signs …
Monday, January 28, 2013
The issue of sign bylaws continued at last week's Planning Board meeting.
After receiving feedback from residents earlier this year and approving measures at Fall Town Meeting in 2011, the issue of signs and the bylaws governing them in Westford came before the Planning Board last week. Town Planner Chris Kluchman compared and contrasted the major differences between the old Bylaw and the proposed one for the Board members using a 26-page summary that detailed said differences, with some significant differences including. More information on the proposed bylaw is available on the Sign Bylaw page of the Town website.