Planning Process Study Committee

Charge

The Planning Process Study Committee is charged with developing a timeline, work program, budget and scope for an inclusive, community-driven planning and zoning reform process.

The Committee, in consultation with the Department of Planning and Community Development and the Town Administrator, is charged with developing a timeline, work program, budget and scope for an inclusive, community-driven planning and zoning reform process. Specifically, the Committee should:

  1. Summarize why the Town needs to update their Comprehensive Plan now. In other words, what is the risk for Brookline if the Comprehensive Plan is not updated?  
  2. Review best practices for modern Comprehensive Plans, including but not limited to other community Comprehensive Plans and the regional Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s regional plan to identify what would be appropriate for Brookline’s Comprehensive Plan. For example, although state law defines elements (e.g., Land Use, Circulation, etc.) that should be included when a Master Plan is completed, many modern Comprehensive Plans are organized across these segmented elements so that a cohesive, prioritized Town policy directive is laid out.  
  3. Review prior planning studies and make a recommendation on which of these should be incorporated, rather than duplicated, during the overall planning process. 
  4. Outline a Comprehensive Planning process that includes, but is not limited to:
    1. incorporates perspectives from a full spectrum of stakeholders;
    2. develops a shared fact-base of existing conditions (local and regional), including qualitative and quantitative measurements of current and potential (i.e. build-out) land use, inequities, public services, infrastructure, and community assets compared to peer communities;
    3. creates and analyzes a variety of demographic (local and regional) and land-use projections, including a “no zoning change” scenario;
    4. inventories public infrastructure capacities and future needs;
    5. identifies implementation priorities and other potential tasks across all Town Departments and the Public Schools of Brookline;
    6. takes into account a set of Town goals and priorities developed by the Select Board and Town Administrator;
    7. develops a statement of Town-wide values;
    8. identifies benchmarks for the Town and Public Schools of Brookline that reflect Town-wide values and performance metrics for Town services and facilities; 
    9. explores a variety of planning and zoning tools and techniques including form-based zoning; and 
    10. results in a planning document that can be the basis for a Zoning Reform process, including regulations that: incentivize desired outcomes as defined in the Comprehensive Plan process, adjust regulatory processes towards more predictable outcomes for all participants, and make recommendations regarding enforcement related to use, development and construction (e.g., processes, staffing, enforcement fines).
  5. Scope & Budget Development
    1. Recommends to the Planning Board and Select Board a detailed scope and budget for the Comprehensive Planning process, including staff and volunteer time
    2. Recommends to the Select Board an estimated budget for the Zoning Reform process, including staff and volunteer time, which will need to be updated once the Comprehensive Planning process is complete.