Bourne Planning Board member Douglas H. Shearer has stepped down from his position with the board.
Mr. Shearer made the announcement during the Thursday, July 10, board meeting. He presented a letter of resignation to planning board chairman Christopher J. Farrell and said that it was effective as of the following day.
Mr. Shearer said that he was leaving the board because of a change of residency that made him no longer eligible to sit on the board. After 11 years in Bourne, Mr. Shearer recently moved back to his hometown of Falmouth.
The owner of Paine’s Patio on MacArthur Boulevard, Mr. Shearer was appointed to the planning board in November 2007 to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation that year of board member Charles F. Cahill. A graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Mr. Shearer holds a degree in marine transportation. He initially resisted his family’s 173-year history in the furniture retail business, but then opened Paine’s Patio in 2002.
Mr. Farrell thanked Mr. Shearer for his service and said that the board would miss his experience and perspective, especially as a store owner.
“This board and the town should be very thankful to you for having that insight that a business owner has,” he said.
In announcing his resignation, Mr. Shearer encouraged the board, when making decisions on projects brought before them, to adhere to the town’s established building policies and zoning regulations.
“It’s simple. You either have the right as a property owner to do something, or you don’t,” he said.
He added that even after 11 years living in Bourne he still felt like “an outsider,” so he considered himself an ideal candidate to serve on the planning board because he could be impartial. He suggested that too often in the last several years, personal feelings have entered into the business of the board, with individual members coming to the table with their own agenda. On more than one occasion, Mr. Shearer has criticized fellow member Elmer I. Clegg for taking an opposing position on any project brought before planners by recently elected board member, developer Vincent P. Michienzi.
Mr. Shearer advised the board to approach their decisions, as he said he has, in a pragmatic and non-prejudiced manner.
“Take the politics out of it, take the feelings out of it, take who your buddy is out of it,” he said.
He said his hope is that when the board begins the process of selecting a candidate to replace him, they will choose someone who approaches issues as neutrally as he has.
“I hope when you guys do replace me that you can find somebody that isn’t biased, that can simply follow the rules,” he said.
Mr. Shearer called his time on the planning board “fun, enjoyable and a huge learning experience.”
“I thank each and every one of you, if I have agreed with you, or not agreed with you,” he said.
He also took time to thank the staff of the town planning department, specifically town planner Coreen V. Moore, engineering technician Dody Adkins-Perry and administrative assistant Ann T. Gratis. He said that all three “truly go above and beyond every single day for the good of the town.”
“Everybody out there has to know how incredible the staff that supports us actually is,” he said.
Although he has resigned from the planning board, Mr. Shearer will continue to serve on the town’s Design Review Committee, to which he was appointed.
“So you’re not going to get rid of me completely,” he said.