Chair’s Sudden Resignation Has Planning Board Scrambling for New Member

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Photo: Mike Battista (right) and current Selectman Sami Baghdady.

The sudden and unexpected resignation of the popular chair of the Belmont Planning Board has town officials scrambling to fill that slot just as the board tackles several high-profile tasks.

The departure of Mike Battista on Nov. 11 is a significant loss to the board as he takes half a decade of experience and institutional history with him, having been on the board since 2010 and chair since 2013.

“I enjoyed my time as a member and as chair, I got to work with amazing people, both my colleagues on the Board as well as Town Staff and Residents. Giving back to a great Town was worthwhile and fulfilling. I leave with wonderful memories knowing the Board is in good hands,” he said, as former Warrant Committee Chair Elizabeth Allison temporarily takes over the board’s reins.

“Five years is longer than I hoped to be involved and I felt it was a perfect time to move on. My travel and work schedules are more demanding leaving less time for the important business of the Planning Board,” said the president of Moniques Bath Showroom in Watertown.

Battista leaves as the board is working to establish a sweeping town-wide zoning realignment for residential structures while shepherding the long-delayed Cushing Village complex towards a conclusion.

To fill this critical post, the Belmont Board of Selectmen is seeking volunteers interested in serving on the Board for the remainder of Battista’s term that will expire on June 30, 2016.

The primary objective of the Planning Board is to protect and preserve the character and the quality of life that defines Belmont. The Board addresses numerous issues that will likely have an impact on Belmont’s future, such as:

  • drafting zoning proposals,
  • studying land-use patterns,
  • reviewing traffic concerns, and
  • evaluating specific development projects.

There is no set criteria for membership and those with a variety of backgrounds will be considered. Residents with a knowledge and experience in the areas of land use, planning, and related law are highly encouraged to apply.

To apply, residents must complete a Community Volunteer Interest Form and submit it to the Office of the Board of Selectmen along with the requested supporting documents.

Interest forms can be obtained on the Selectmen’s page of the Town website or by visiting the office during regular business hours. The Office of the Board of Selectman is located in Town Hall; forms can be submitted via e-mail to selectmen@belmont-ma.gov.

The deadline for applying for the position is Wednesday, Dec. 9.

 

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