Members Sought for City of Cambridge Planning Board

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking Cambridge residents interested in serving on the Planning Board. Board members are volunteers who serve five-year terms.
The Planning Board reviews proposals for urban development under the special permit provisions of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws, makes recommendations to the City Council on proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, and engages in general planning related to land use and development in the city.

A goal of the city is to expand and deepen community engagement with a focus to strengthen the diversity and inclusion of its various boards and commissions, and to work and interact effectively with individuals and groups with a variety of identities, cultures, backgrounds, and ideologies. 

Serving on the Planning Board is a meaningful way to participate in important decision making that shapes the future of the City of Cambridge.

Planning Board members’ responsibilities include:

  • Meeting most Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. for 3-4 hours. Meetings are open to the public and are video and audio recorded. The Board hears testimony from applicants and petitioners, members of the public, and others before making decisions or recommendations.
    NOTE: Normally, meetings take place in a City building, and light food and beverages are provided to Board members. However, due to COVID-19 safety protocols, meetings are currently being held remotely via the Zoom platform.
  • Prior to the meetings, members should review materials such as development plans, impact studies, current or proposed provisions in the Zoning Ordinance, information from city departments, written comments from the public, and other documents. The Board typically reviews 1-3 cases at each meeting.
  • Occasionally, representatives of the Planning Board may be appointed to other city working groups and committees.
  • Participating in occasional training and education sessions.

The Board has seven full members and two associate members, who participate in general business discussions and may be appointed to act on special permit cases in place of full board members.

The following qualities are desired for Planning Board members:

  • Strong sense of fairness and responsibility to act on behalf of the city.
  • Strong attentiveness and ability to listen to different points of view.
  • Ability to work toward group consensus, with the ability to reach an individual conclusion where consensus cannot be achieved.
  • Ability to prepare well-organized, well-reasoned questions and comments upon reviewing a proposal, and to communicate them clearly in a public setting.
  • Ability to learn legal codes and procedures and act in accordance with them.
  • Though no specific technical background is required, it is helpful for Planning Board members to have some familiarity with planning studies, building and site plans, zoning codes, and/or related materials.

For more information, visit: www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/zoninganddevelopment/planningboard.

The application deadline is Friday, June 25, 2021. Applications can be submitted at www.Cambridgema.gov/apply. A letter of interest and a resume or other description of applicable experience can also be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. Please note that appointments are currently required due to COVID-19 safety protocols. To make an appointment to pick up an application, please contact the City Manager's Office at 617-349-4300 or email fgaines@Cambridgema.gov.

Page was posted on 5/24/2021 7:45 PM
Page was last modified on 5/24/2021 7:46 PM
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