New Southborough Town Planner to start this month

The Planning Board has hired a new Town Planner. Karina G. Quinn of Upton accepted the position.

The new hire will replace outgoing Town Planner Jyothi Grama. Grama is relocating with her family to New York. According to Grama, Quinn will start this month.

Quinn is a Professional Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from UMass Amherst. She began working professionally in the field in 1985 for the City of Worcester. Most recently, she has been been working for a Civil Engineering firm based in Whitinsville. You can see her resume here.

The new Planner will likely be asked to hit the ground running. Planning is expected to provide input to the St. Mark’s Golf Course Master Plan Committee at their January 25th meeting. Plus, the board is working with the Historical Commission on a new bylaw in time for Annual Town Meeting.

(Planning had also announced plans to write another bylaw. But I don’t have confirmation that is going forward this spring.)

Historical and Planning shared the bylaw plans at Special Town Meeting in October. They were responses to arguments against eliminating Use Variances. After hearing the concepts, voters approved removing the Zoning Board of Appeals’ right to grant Use Variances.

Grama had been charged with helping the board research and write a new bylaw for “overlay districts”. The intent is to allow businesses sited in business/commercial/industrial zones to build septic systems on abutting residentially zoned land.

In the past, businesses had to apply for a Use Variance if there wasn’t enough commercially zoned land available to handle their property’s septic. It was one of the main arguments proponents of Use Variances gave at (and leading up to) the Special Town Meeting.

Though work on the bylaw has begun, a draft has yet to be publicly shared. And it wasn’t included in the most recent draft of the Town Warrant shared at last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

The other bylaw has already been publicly shared by the Historical Commission. It would allow “adaptive re-use” of historical buildings. The Planning Board held a discussion on the bylaw with Historical last month and is hosting a Public Hearing on Monday, January 9th. (Stay tuned for more on that.)

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