SOUTHWICK — The Planning Board appointed the first five members of the Master Plan Advisory Committee on Sept. 21, accounting for nearly one-third of the seats on the volunteer panel.
The Planning Board chose Dorrie Boyd, Roz Terry, Jessica Whitmore-Parker, and David Massai as the four residents at large on the Master Plan board, out of a pool of 20 applicants. Scott Lamon, owner of Tynic Landscaping, was selected to be the business representative on the committee. Lamon was the only business owner to apply.
The committee will guide the creation of a master plan for Southwick, a document that details the town’s current land-use patterns and community assets, and sets priorities for future development or bylaw changes. At the end of their work, members of the Master Plan Advisory Committee will put the proposed plan to a Town Meeting vote. If accepted, the plan would become a statement of the community’s vision for the future. Its contents would serve as recommendations for actions that town boards and Town Meeting could take in the future.
The planning process is expected to last at least two years, and will employ an outside consultant in addition to the volunteer committee.
Apart from the five appointed by the Planning Board this week, members of the Master Plan Advisory Committee will represent other boards in town government.
The Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School Committee is expected to formally choose its pick for the master plan committee on Oct. 5. Later that evening, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will host a seminar on how master plans are developed and what they actually accomplish. Southwick has not updated its Master Plan since 1967. It was nearly updated in the 1990s, but the plan that was put forward ended up being rejected.
The committee was originally supposed to have 15 members, but it was increased to 16 to better accommodate more boards and commissions in Southwick. The Agricultural Commission and Conservation Commission were originally going to share a single representative, but Conservation Commission Chair Chris Pratt said that he would like a member of each board to be represented on the master plan committee.
Planning Board Chair Michael Doherty initially had reservations about adding another person because of how difficult it can be to conduct a meeting or gather a quorum with 15 people. Planning Board Vice Chair Marcus Phelps pointed out that raising the cap to 16 wouldn’t impact the necessary quorum, which would remain eight members.
Pratt indicated that David MacWilliams would represent the Conservation Commission, as he was the only person to express interest besides Maryssa Cook-Obregon, who is also on the Agricultural Commission.
The remaining members of the committee are expected to come from the Planning Board itself, with two members, and one each from the Select Board, the Department of Public Works, the Finance Committee, and the Economic Development Commission.