West Concord Task Force Charge

General Purpose


As authorized by the 2008 Annual Town Meeting, the Select Board are appointing the West Concord Task Force to develop recommendations on how best to address issues facing West Concord, to prepare relevant updates to the 2005 Comprehensive Long Range Plan, and to work toward implementation of action items in the Long Range Plan. The Task Force shall seek to ways to maintain and enhance the village scale and historic identity of West Concord village, improve traffic circulation and public transportation, and protect and promote the enjoyment of natural resources.

Project Scope


The core area of "West Concord" shall consist of the area bounded by Routes 2 and 2A to the north, the Assabet River to the south, the Acton Town line on the west and Baker Avenue to the east. Where appropriate, the Task Force will consider impacts on this core area from other parts of the Town.

Objectives


The objectives of the Task Force shall include the following:
  1. Review of past reports prepared by town committees, town officials, state agencies and consultants, including the Comprehensive Long Range Plan and Village Overlay study. The Task Force shall seek the input of West Concord residents, business owners, property owners and others as required. It is also expected that the task Force will hold citizen information meetings to elicit public comments and input.
  2. Analysis of the current Zoning By-law, Sign By-aw and Planning Board Regulations and consideration of amendments to each.
  3. Analysis of the impact of recent, planned and potential housing developments in West Concord.
  4. Analysis of alternative real property development scenarios relative to density, mixed use, accessory use, site plan approval, circulation issues and other concerns.
  5. Identify transportation issues to provide a framework for use in improving transportation. The framework should address pedestrian movement, bicycle links, walking trails, sidewalks, streetscapes and traffic signals, and identify circulation, parking and access (including handicap access) problems. The following areas deserve special attention:
    • The Bradford Street and Beharrell Street areas
    • Railroad crossing at Church Street and Commonwealth Avenue
    • Plans for redesigning the Route 2 Rotary
    • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) parking, alternative plans for Baker Avenue and Conant Street crossings
    • Main Street and Baker Avenue
    • Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
  6. Set priorities to address immediate and short-term transportation issues, as well as provide a long-term plan for future transportation actions.
  7. Make recommendations to protect and provide physical and visual access to the Assabet River, Warner's Pond and Nashoba Brook.
  8. Make recommendations regarding protection and expansion of open space areas.
  9. Make recommendations regarding open space corridors and trails between existing open space areas.
  10. Generally to identify key issues and needs, analyze alternative solutions, and make recommendations, both short term and long term, within the overall purpose of the Task Force. The Task Force should make action-oriented recommendations which will positively affect the future development of West Concord, as outlined in the Call for Action.

Resources


The Task Force will be supported, as appropriate, by Town staff and departments, including Planning and Land Management, Natural Resources, Public Works and police and fire departments. Requests for Town staff assistance should be made through the Town Manager. In addition, the Task Force should cooperate with other Town committees, including the Select Board, Planning Board, Public Works Commission and Natural Resources Commission, Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Committee and Historical and Historic Districts Commissions. The Task Force may also consult, as necessary, with the MBTA, Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Massachusetts Highway, Emerson Hospital and public officials such as Representative Cory Atkins and State Senator Susan Fargo. Finally, paid planning consultants may be retained to assist the task Force with the approval of the Town Manager and Select Board.

Membership


In making appointments to the Task Force, the Select Board intends to identify qualified candidates who represent a variety of backgrounds and interests, with a majority of the individuals having a tie to West Concord. Members shall be appointed for a term of two years subject to reappointment at the discretion of the Board. The Task Force shall consist of 13 persons, including the following:
  • Town Manager (coordination and oversight) (non-voting)
  • Selectmen representative (non-voting)
  • Architect/Planner with background in urban design or planning
  • Planning Board representative qualified in planning and zoning issues
  • West Concord person with natural resources experience
  • West Concord business owners
  • West Concord residents
  • West Concord Resident/Overlay Committee representative
It is expected that other interested citizens will also be asked to assist with various assignments related to the mission of the Task Force.

Target Time Frame


  • Charge and appointment of Task Force July 1, 2008
  • Development of work plan October 1, 2008
  • Initial presentation of findings, goals, objectives to Selectmen November, 2008
  • Warrant article to Town Meeting for funding April, 2009
  • Adoption of CLRP Updates by Planning Board June, 2009
  • Target for project completion, and adoption of recommendations by appropriate Town Boards no later than December, 2012

Other Considerations


The Task Force should elect a chair, who will preside at meetings, and a clerk, who will be responsible for maintaining the record of the Task Force discussions, votes, and actions. All meetings will be conducted in conformance with the Open Meeting Law, including the proper notice and posting of meetings, and all records will be maintained in conformance with the Public Records Law. Requests for staff assistance or operating expenses will be made through the Town Manager who will endeavor to comply with reasonable requests.

A stewardship committee may be appointed by the Select Board at the termination of the Task Force to provide long-term guidance for West Concord.