The following rules of procedure are established and
shall be adhered to as delineated below:
1.0 Proceedings: All proceedings of the Board shall comply
with applicable State and local statutes and by-laws.
2.0 Open Meetings: All meetings shall comply with provisions
of the Open Meeting Law. Meetings generally fall into one of the
following two categories:
2.1 Public Hearings: Public hearings are formal meetings at
which petitioners seek approval of variances, site plans, special
permits or combinations thereof. Public hearings shall be duly
advertised and noticed as prescribed by State and local statutes. They
shall follow generally the following format:
a. Petitioner or authorized agent shall present the facts of
b. The Board shall ask any questions deemed feasible and seek
clarification of issues.
c. Those in the assembly who wish to speak in favor of the
petition shall be allowed to do so.
d. Those in the assembly who wish to speak in opposition to the
petition shall be allowed to do so.
e. A general discussion period may follow during which
additional questions may be asked, or clarifications and rebuttals
or arguments may be entertained.
f. There shall be no specific time limit set for discussions;
however, the Chairman shall reserve the right to guide and limit
discussions with reasonable legal constraints and duration. When,
in the opinion of the Board, an issue has been adequately
addressed, and where redundancy will not add significantly to the
meeting, the Chairman may so indicate and terminate further
discussion regarding that item.
2.2 Business Meetings: The Board shall meet at times and
dates to be determined for the conduct of normal business, including
but not necessarily limited to:
a. Review and deciding on petitions.
b. Discussions of budgets and Board finances.
c. Decision writing, signing and distribution.
d. Informal discussions with other boards , agencies,
commissions, petitioners or interested parties regarding past or
e. Any other pertinent business.
These meetings shall be duly posted in the office of the Town Clerk
and, if desired, in any other properly conspicuous place, with the
statutory time preceding such meeting.
3.0 Notices: All notices prescribed by State and local
statute shall be posted before and after each hearing.
4.0 Decisions: A written decision shall be prepared
describing the pertinent facts regarding each decision and shall
include the Board’s decision and reasons for such decision. Copies
shall be distributed to, but not necessarily limited to, the Town
Clerk (original), Selectmen, Building Commissioner, Planning Board and
Petitioner. In addition, two copies shall be retained in the Board’s
file and copies may be distributed to other Town agencies, such as the
Department of Public Works, Board of Health, Town Counsel, etc., when
deemed feasible by the Board. Copies may be included upon request for
agencies other than the Town boards or commissions such as the
Industrial Development Commission, Canton Association of Industries,
civic groups or citizens.
5.0 Field Trips: The Board may, at its discretion, and with
prior posted notice, visit sites for the purpose of first hand
observation of lands, buildings or other related items having bearing
on the ultimate decision by the Board. The Board may invite anyone to
join in the visit who, in its opinion, can provide information
regarding the locus or other items having a bearing on the case.
6.0 Use of Experts: The Board, at its discretion, may seek
the assistance of experts in specific areas where deemed necessary in
the process of making decisions, for the clarification of issues,
points of law, or other technical input.
7.0 Minutes: Minutes of all meetings and field trips shall
be recorded by the Clerk of the Board, or the Secretary of the Board,
or both. Copies shall be maintained in a file established by each
petition and shall be kept in the Board’s files.
8.0 Member’s Responsibilities: The chairman shall conduct
all meetings and may call meetings at his discretion subject to
requirements for open meeting law. In the absence of the Chairman, the
Clerk shall assume responsibilities thereof. In the absence of both
the Chairman and the Clerk, the other regular members of the Board
shall assume the responsibilities of both.
9.0 Associate Members: In the absence of one or more regular
members, any alternate(s) shall be seated at regular hearings. He/she
shall assume the full responsibilities and duties of a regular member
for the duration of the case.
10.0 Approval of Bills: Signatures of one member of the
Board are required to authorize payment of bills and fees.
11.0 Annual Report: An annual report shall be provided for
the inclusion in the Town Report. It shall include all significant
events occurring during the preceding year.
12.0 Meeting Schedule: Petitions for variances, special
permits, site plan approvals or combinations thereof shall be
scheduled for public hearings on the second and fourth Thursdays of
each month or on any other legal date at the discretion of the Board.
Business meetings are generally scheduled on alternate Thursdays.
Field trips may be taken at random at the discretion of the Board. The
Board reserves the right to change, modify or amend its schedule of
meetings at its discretion all subject to the requirements of the open
13.0 Meeting Times: Formal hearings regarding petitions for
variances, site plan approvals and special permits are generally
scheduled at fifteen minute intervals commencing at 7:15 p.m. Business
meetings, informal conferences and field trips may begin at times to
be determined by the Board. The Board reserves the right to modify,
amend, change or establish meetings at its discretion, subject to the
posting of statutory notice.
These rules of procedure are hereby adopted effective this day of