Mashpee Planning Board will wait to see plans from Mashpee Commons before making any decisions about expanding the board’s negotiating team, planning board chairwoman Mary Waygan told selectmen Monday, August 19.
The town has agreed to enter a trilateral development agreement with Mashpee Commons, the Cape Cod Commission and the planning board.
Selectmen on Monday asked that the planning board, which is charged by the town’s charter with negotiating on behalf of the town, consider expanding its negotiating team to include members from other regulatory boards to speed up the process.
“All we’re suggesting is, whenever the process gets kicked off, have a broader group at the table to be able to initiate that conversation, rather than wait to be reactive to it,” said Andrew R. Gottlieb, chairman of the selectmen.
The planning board chairman clarified the board's response to the selectmen’s request, saying that the committee hopes to solicit comments from relevant town boards and committees once the Commons submits a development agreement application, but that expanding the negotiating team preemptively was unnecessary.
“I’d really like to see what they’re offering first,” Ms. Waygan said.
She said the planning board has been very clear with Mashpee Commons about what an acceptable plan would look like and that she hopes that the Commons will incorporate past comments into any plans it presents to the town and planning board.
“I’m hoping that we don’t need to do much negotiation,” she said.
Though both the board of selectmen and planning board have approved the development agreement, the chairmen of the two boards disagreed about the purpose of the agreement on Monday night.
“The purpose behind the development agreement process is to engage at an earlier stage and not be reactive because reactive engagements don’t end up being productive, or they haven’t been in this regard,” Mr. Gottlieb argued.
“I disagree with that,” Ms. Waygan said. “The tool of a development agreement is to have a three-party process for review so that when something comes in as a development regional impact, the commission, the project proponent and the planning board can meet together and do the review ensemble.”
Ms. Waygan argued that increasing the size of the negotiating board before considering what the Commons is proposing could make the negotiating team large and unwieldy, slowing the process.
“If you put a person on for each one of [the items listed in the town’s local comprehensive plan], you end up with a team of 15,” Ms. Waygan said, “that’s not a negotiating team, that’s a team that’s not going to get anywhere.”
It is unclear whether the planning board would consider increasing the size of the negotiating team once a development agreement application has been submitted by the Mashpee Commons but, at least until that time, the negotiating team will not be expanded past the five planning board members.