Select Board Policies
The Select Board adopt a number of important policies across a broad range of areas:
The Select Board has put together the following policy for review and commentary from the public regarding the warrant article requirements:
Select Board Warrant Article Guidelines Draft
- Policy on Federal Immigration Enforcement and Related Matters (PDF)
- Board of Selectmen Statement Concerning Communications with the Department of Homeland Security (PDF)
- Public Schools of Brookline School Committee statement affirming the district's core values
- Know Your Rights and Resources Brochure (PDF)
- Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations
STATEMENT OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN
February 7, 2017
The Brookline Board of Selectmen is deeply concerned by the Trump Administration’s recent statements and executive orders on immigration policy. While this Board, along with the rest of the world, continues to try to understand the implications of the administration’s unprecedented actions, we wish to reaffirm certain guiding moral principles that this Board believes Brookline values as they relate to the people who have been targeted by the President’s executive orders, which includes our commitment to providing welcome and sanctuary to all Brookline residents and visitors, regardless of immigration status.
Because of these principles, Brookline’s Board of Selectmen strives to protect the safety and well-being of all Brookline residents and visitors, regardless of immigration status, by supporting the health, mental health, well-being, safe haven, and sanctuary of refugees and immigrants, whether documented or not. We believe the actions of the Trump Administration in targeting and denigrating immigrants and refugees has created an atmosphere of fear and hatred in the country and, potentially, in Brookline. We also believe that an attack on one group will lead to attacks on other groups, as the increased incidence of anti-Semitic attacks in Massachusetts illustrates, and that attacks on immigrants, refugees, and other groups must be resisted and combated by all legal means.
We further reaffirm our support for the sentiments expressed in Town Meeting’s Warrant Article 24 voted at the November, 1985 Town Meeting and Warrant Article 26 voted at the November 2006 Town Meeting concerning safe sanctuary in Brookline for immigrants and refugees from all countries regardless of their immigration status.
In addition, the Town will respect the status of those who are lawful Permanent Residents and Visa holders.
The recent developments in Washington portend overreaching enforcement of existing immigration laws that threaten to violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including international treaties respecting immigrants and refugees that are a part of United States Federal law, and undoubtedly in violation of long established American moral principles. The likely aggressiveness of the new administration’s actions is evidenced by its threat to commandeer local police forces to perform immigration status checks and enforce immigration laws that are solely the responsibility of the Federal government. In response to these developments:
- The Board of Selectmen has initiated a review of the Police Department’s policies as they relate to responding to varying types of requests for assistance by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Board has elected to solicit the input of the Town’s Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations by asking the Commission to review the current policies and to recommend any changes it believes are warranted, especially changes related to the police department’s interactions with immigrants and refugees.
- Town services and resources will be made available to provide for the health, mental health, education, shelter, sustenance, and well-being of all of our residents and visitors, including immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, and refugees; no actions against any person within the Town of Brookline shall be based solely on that person’s status as an immigrant or refugee; and no Town employee shall ask for information on the immigration status of any person unless reasonably necessary for the provision of services by Town employees.
- The Board of Selectmen directs Town Counsel to work with other towns and cities and the State Attorney General to develop legal strategies and measures to protect Town actions and to defend against any punitive measures undertaken by the Federal government against state and local governmental entities.
- The Board of Selectmen further requests that Brookline civil society, including houses of worship, service organizations, political entities, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and individuals (1) learn about, (2) provide support, welcome, safe haven, and sanctuary to, and (3) help integrate into the fabric of our community, all resident or visiting immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, and all refugees.
Select Board’s Policy on Public Comment at Weekly Select Board’s Meetings
In accordance with state law, all meetings of the Select Board are open to the public, except for those portions of such meetings that may be conducted in Executive Session. While the law grants the public the right to observe, but not comment at, such meetings, the Select Board believes that the public should have the ability to provide it with comment on issues that affect the Town and are within the Board’s responsibilities.
Therefore, the Select Board sets aside a period at each Select Board meeting as a limited public forum for individuals to speak directly to the Board solely on topics that are within the Board’s jurisdiction to address. The Board shall refer to this portion of the meeting as Public Comment. The Select Board does not intend Public Comment to be a discussion, debate, or dialogue between or among speakers and the Select Board. Nor is it an unrestricted public forum to air opinions on matters beyond the Board’s purview. For comments on wider issues, members of the public are encouraged to email [email protected] or send letters to Select Board, 333 Washington Street, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445. The Select Board receives and carefully reviews mail sent to these addresses.
The Board and Town staff ordinarily will not respond to a speaker’s comments or questions posed at Public Comment. The Chair, as presiding officer of the meeting, may answer or request an answer to a question if the Chair deems it appropriate, however.
The following process will govern Public Comment at the Select Board meetings.
Within the beginning portion of each Select Board meeting, the Select Board will schedule one fifteen-minute Public Comment period. The Assistant Town Administrator for Operations or other Town staff designated by the Chair shall act as the Clerk and enforce compliance with these procedures.
The following guidelines shall apply:
1. Speakers may sign up by contacting the Select Board’s office no earlier than the Friday preceding the meeting. A sign-up sheet will also be available as people enter the meeting room. Speakers will speak in the order in which they sign up, with preference given to people who sign up in advance. If more than one person wishes to speak on a single topic, the Chair may call on them together. In order to ensure all members of the public have a fair opportunity to speak, individual members of the same organization wishing to speak on the same topic must share a single three-minute comment period to do so unless granted advance permission by the Chair.
2. Any person wishing to speak must begin their comment by identifying themselves with their full name, either their Brookline precinct number or street address, and the specific topic on which they wish to speak. The Board encourages, but does not require, that remote users turn their video on when commenting.
Individuals wishing to comment without providing this information may do so via electronic or regular mail at the addresses listed above. The Chair may, in their discretion, elect to hear from speakers who are Brookline residents before hearing from non-residents.
3. There will be a time limit of up to three minutes per person, which the Clerk will enforce. If the number of people wishing to speak exceeds fifteen minutes, the Chair may, at their discretion, limit individual comments to less than three minutes per person or authorize additional time for a speaker to offer comment if that request is made in advance of the meeting to the Clerk or the email address listed above.
4. If the Select Board believes that the Public Comment period requires more time than fifteen minutes, the Chair may defer some comments until after all other scheduled business of the Board at that meeting concludes. Alternatively, the Board may schedule a separate public hearing later.
5. We discourage the discussion of individual personnel issues or pending litigation. If any speaker raises such topics, the Chair will not permit a response from the Board or Town staff. While the Select Board cannot prohibit rude or obnoxious speech unless it falls within one of the categories set out in Rule 10 below, it strongly discourages ad hominem attacks and requests that commenters conduct themselves in a civil and respectful manner.
6. Individuals may not speak on items that will have a Public Hearing later in the meeting during Public Comment. Unless otherwise stated by the Chair at the outset of a Public Hearing, opportunities for members of the public to offer statements at Public Hearings will follow and be governed by these same policies and procedures, except that the Chair may in their discretion extend the time for statements beyond fifteen minutes during the Public Hearing rather than deferring additional comments until the end of the Select Board’s other business.
7. The Select Board will not take any votes during Public Comment.
8. Only the Chair of the meeting, or other members or Town staff (if recognized by the Chair), will respond to Public Comment.
9. On those issues that more appropriate staff can resolve, the Chair or Clerk may advise the speaker of the steps to take.
10. The Chair or Clerk may end any individual’s speaking time immediately for speech or conduct that (a) constitutes a true threat, incitement to imminent lawless conduct, or obscenity; (b) concerns a matter outside of the Select Board’s jurisdiction to address; or (c) exceeds the permissible time limit.
Adopted by vote of the Select Board on November 7, 2023.
The Select Board have authorized the use of remote participation subject to certain conditions and restrictions.
Please read the board’s vote and policy dated September 20, 2022 (below) and the related regulations promulgated by the Attorney General, 940 CMR 29.10. If you have any questions please contact Town Counsel at 617-730-2190 or by [email protected].
September 20, 2022
To allow remote participation for meetings of Town Boards, Committees and Commissions, including the School Committee and public bodies organized by the Schools in accordance with the requirements of the applicable regulations, 940 CMR 29.10 subject to the following:
By this vote, the Select Board intends to allow remote participation in meetings of public bodies, as contemplated by 940 CMR 29.10(2). This policy is separate and distinct from any state legislation or regulation allowing remote participation by all members of a public body, such as Section 20 of Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021, and shall survive any expiration of such legislation. Remote participation under this policy remains subject to the minimum requirements described in 940 CMR 29.10(4), including the requirement that a quorum of the body, including the Chair or other individual authorized to chair the meeting such as the Chair’s designee, be physically present at the meeting location.
In addition, pursuant to this Board's authority under 940 CMR 29.10(8) the Board adopts the following policy conditioning and limiting the use of remote/hybrid participation:
- Prior to using remote/hybrid participation, the Chair and any subsequent Chair as well as any staff person assigned to such Board, Committee or Commission shall be trained by the Information Technology Department and the Office of the Select Board or a designee to review the requirements of the regulations with respect to remote/hybrid participation; and
- Remote/hybrid participation shall be allowed in public buildings and public schools in rooms with town issued technology, as well as other devices, so as to ensure that members participating remotely are audible to all persons physically present at the meeting and joining remotely.
- A hybrid meeting must be booked in the relevant room with the relevant technology at least 24 hours in advance of the 48 hour posting deadline so that staff have enough time to accommodate the request and the public is notified properly. It is the responsibility of the Chair or staff to ensure the hybrid technology in the relevant room is functioning properly.
- If assistance is required prior to the meeting begins a reasonable amount of time must be provided for town staff or designee to assist. A reasonable amount of time shall be no less 24 hours during regular business hours prior to the start of the meeting to ensure the correct solution is achieved. On site hybrid/remote meeting support will be conducted by Town staff or designee, such as the Town’s community partner, the Brookline Interactive Group.
- This vote and policy applies to all Town and School public bodies that are subject to the Open Meeting Law.
CANNABIS SOCIAL EQUITY POLICY
Voted April 4, 2023
The Select Board seeks to further the public interest by encouraging diversity in the local cannabis industry. Toward that end, it adopts this Marijuana Establishment Equity Policy (“Policy”) in tandem with that effort.
This Policy is intended to provide opportunities for local and diverse applicants for Select Board Marijuana Establishment licenses who wish to establish a Marijuana Establishment within the Town of Brookline. Further, this Policy establishes the procedures for Equity Applicants to apply for a Host Community Agreement with the Select Board.
The purpose of this Policy is to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition.1
Marijuana Establishment: Any type of licensed Marijuana-related business, including, but not limited to, Storefront Marijuana Retailers, Marijuana Delivery Operators, Social Consumption Marijuana Retailers, and Marijuana Couriers, as those terms are defined in 935 CMR 500 et seq., as amended, and the General By-Laws of the Town of Brookline.
Equity Applicant: Individuals or entities that have received one of the following:
- CCC Economic Empowerment Status; or
- CCC Social Equity Status.
3. Host Community Agreements
For any available Marijuana Establishment license in any category, the Town will exclusively accept and consider applications for Host Community Agreements from Equity Applicants for the 3 years following the adoption of this policy.
To the extent allowed by law, preference will be given to applicants who have resided in the Town of Brookline for the five years preceding the date of the application, and who continue to do so at the time that application is approved.
4. Transfer and Changes in Ownership
An Equity Applicant for a Host Community Agreement under this Policy who undergoes a transfer or change in ownership to a non-Equity Applicant loses eligibility to proceed as an Equity Applicant in the event the transferee/successor company does not qualify for a Host Community Agreement under this Policy.
Following the posting of an available Marijuana Establishment license on the Town’s website, applicants are required to complete and submit the Request for Marijuana Retailer Host Community Agreement for Equity Applicants with the following required supporting documents:
- Evidence of CCC Social Equity/Economic Empowerment status
- Evidence of a zoning-compliant location for the proposed Marijuana Establishment (see the Town’s Zoning By-Law) and the applicant’s legal control of the premises, via:
- Lease, or
- Letter of intent signed by a property owner to enter into a lease with the applicant for the location, or
- Required operating policies and procedures
- Traffic Management Plan
- Security Plan
- Diversion Plan
- Diversity Plan
- Complete supporting documents include site plans and plan sets that are certified by a design professional such as an architect, engineer or land surveyor (and that show compliance regarding required zoning buffer zones) and floor plans that indicate square footage.
Marijuana Establishments will be allowed to minimize the square footage of their premises to the extent allowed by law.
1 GL c. 94G s 4(a½)(iv).
(a1/2) The commission shall, in accordance with chapter 30A, adopt regulations consistent with this chapter for the administration, clarification and enforcement of laws regulating and licensing marijuana establishments. The regulations shall include:
(iv) procedures and policies to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities;
The purpose of this policy is to provide clarity to the public about how and why the Select Board may, from time to time, install expressive outdoor fixtures such as flags, signs, and placards to convey a message to the public. The policy also maintains the principle that the Town of Brookline is itself a politically neutral entity that operates under the rules, constitution, and regulations of the United States of America and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
As used in this policy:
“Fixture” means any device, placard, poster, flag, structure, painted marking, or a portion of any of the foregoing, that is placed out of doors in order to convey a message or information, except: (1) public safety or traffic control items governed by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices required, maintained, or installed by a federal, state, or local governmental agency; (2) markers indicating factual information about the Town property, such as the name of publicly-owned building, the date of the building’s construction, historical information about a building, or incidental information about its operating hours or construction; (3) commonly-used informational emblems for municipal services, such as but not limited to those used to identify police, fire, or emergency services; (4) official logos and emblems of Town departments; and (5) lights or other illuminating devices.
“School Committee” means the School Committee of the Town.
“School Department” means the Public Schools of Brookline.
“Select Board” means the Select Board of the Town, previously known as and occasionally referred to in other laws and policies as the “Board of Selectmen.”
“Town” means the Town of Brookline.
“Town property” means property owned by the Town and under the regular care and control of Town departments, except for property under the care and control of the School Department or the Public Library of Brookline to the extent that jurisdiction for fixtures thereon is reserved to the School Committee or Library Trustees, respectively.
III. In General.
Only the Select Board may place or authorize the placement of fixtures on Town property, subject to this policy, the exceptions contained within, and the exceptions set forth in any applicable section of the Town’s general or zoning by-laws.
The Select Board may approve fixtures that express views supported by the government of the Town of Brookline and that do not violate other legal obligations of Town government. Such fixtures may not, however, express the following messages:
- Support of political parties or candidates for office, or flags associated with partisan political campaigns for messaging;
- Messages associated with advertising or marketing of corporate or for-profit organizations not associated with specific Town activities;
- Religious messaging which would implicate the Establishment or Free Exercise Clauses of the United States Constitution or any similar provisions under Massachusetts law;
- Content which would violate Town or applicable statewide policies, including but not limited to those involving conflicts of interest, discrimination, or expressions of violence; and
- Messages which are inconsistent with the adopted vision and mission statements of the Town.
A decision by the Select Board to adopt a message suggested by a community member or body for a fixture placed on public property does not obligate the Select Board to adopt or accept all such suggestions. The decision to place such a fixture, whether generated by others or the Select Board, remains the sole prerogative of Town government.
IV. Informational Fixtures.
Town departments may, with the written permission of a Department Head or the Town Administrator, place written or graphic fixtures related to health, safety, general welfare, opening and closing information, and School or Town events and ceremonies on Town property.
The School Department may, with the written permission of the Superintendent, place written or graphic fixtures related to any of the categories in the previous paragraph on Town property where such placement would be germane to School Department operations.
The only flags specifically authorized to be flown or placed on Town property without restriction are the United States Flag, Flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Brookline Town Flag, official flags of branches of the military, official flags of Town departments or the School Department, and flags advertising or commemorating events or celebrations that are listed on the Town calendar.
Flags not specifically authorized to be flown or placed on Town property may not be flown or placed there. No flag shall be approved or flown if, in the opinion of the Office of Town Counsel, it would tend to make a Town flagpole or area a “public forum” as defined in the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Shurtleff v. City of Boston, 526 U.S. ___ (2022).
VI. Designation of Forums.
1. Traditional Public Forums.
Traditional public forums are a category of public property that is historically open for public assembly and expression. Traditional public forums typically include: (a) public ways; (b) sidewalks on public ways; and (c) Town-owned and operated parks, to the extent not otherwise controlled by other laws, rules, or regulations. The use of traditional public forums for permitted temporary expressive activities (such as rallies or protests) does not authorize users to place fixtures on or around such forums.
2. Designated Public Forums.
The government may designate public forums for open speech and expression by intentionally opening government property for public expressive activity and discourse, even though the property was not traditionally used for those purposes.
The Select Board has not designated any outdoor area of Town property as a designated public forum.
3. Limited Public Forums.
Limited public forums are only open for use by certain groups or dedicated solely to the discussion of certain subjects. In limited public forums, the Town may limit speech to only certain genres or subjects and impose blanket restrictions on the discussion of other topics.
The Select Board has not designated any outdoor area of Town property as a limited public forum.
4. Non-Public Forums
A non-public forum is any Town property that has not been traditionally used or designated for use as a forum for expressive activity. In non-public forums, the Town may limit all private speech or selectively allow certain speech for proprietary purposes, such as generating revenue.
All Town property not previously designated as another type of forum by this policy or any applicable law is a non-public forum. For example, the following Town properties are non-public forums: (a) school grounds; (b) the grounds of all police and fire stations; (c) polling stations during early voting and on Election Day; (d) trees and shrubbery in a public park; (e) utility poles within the layout of a public way; (f) proprietary Town ventures, such as golf courses and swimming pools; (g) public rotaries, traffic islands, and tree lawns; and (h) any area near a particular residence where focused residence picketing occurs, consistent with Article 8.17 of the Town’s bylaws.
Unless otherwise stated in the authorization to post it, fixtures authorized under this policy may stay in place for no longer than thirty (30) days.
Adopted by vote of the Select Board on December 5, 2023.