LANCASTER – After an extended vacancy, Lancaster finally has a new planning director.

Three finalists selected by the search committee were interviewed by the Selectboard at their regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 1, with Jasmin Farinacci chosen to fill the vacancy. The other finalists were Chris Sullivan and Marc Resnick.

Farinacci has been in planning for eight years. She started in a civil engineering firm learning about planning from the applicant’s end. She then ended up turning an administrative position in Wareham to the “unofficial assistant to the planning director” before being hired in her current role in Bridgewater as an assistant planner.  Additionally, she is currently attending Arizona State University for a graduate degree in urban planning.

Lancaster is beautiful with a lot of open space, Farinacci said, suggesting the town bring in functional green spaces with small mixed use development such as in the center village area with housing and small restaurants, as well as mixing green and residential infrastructure. She said would encourage commercial growth in the small areas zoned for it and thinks a 40R affordable housing development at the former Atlantic Union College campus would be innovative.

“Open space and green space are not the same thing,” Farinacci said.

Farinacci has been instrumental in securing grants and recodifying zoning.

Sullivan has been in various types of planning for 20 years in New Hampshire, including environmental planner and park planner.  With a landscape architecture degree, he’s been designing pools during the pandemic, but wants to return to planning.

Resnick also left planning for the last five to six years, pausing his multi-decade planning career in municipalities like Foxboro, Salisbury, and Brockton to follow his boyhood dream of flipping houses.

After so many months of searching, “I want them all,” Selectman Alix Turner said.

As she said she would be happy with any of the three, Turner chose to defer to her fellow Selectboard members and not vote.

While he said he would be happy to vote for any of them, Selectman Jason Allison said one of the candidates had separated themselves from the pack. He said Farinacci aligns with creating the next Lancaster and working as a team.

Selectman Jay Moody also ranked Farinacci first, citing her “freshness and drive.”

Farinacci said her main role is as a public servant and she has an “open door policy” to the residents as well as boards and departments that she’ll be working with.

“Always feel free to call or email,” she said, encouraging people to also stop by.

Town meeting

The autumn town meeting will take place this winter.

Several public comments were against a special town meeting this fall, due to it being too cold to meet outdoors, but too risky to meet indoors during a pandemic.

However, Allison made a motion for a Feb. 15 town meeting.

Turner said the Board of Health and SLCTV “have played a critical role” in planning recent town meetings and the Selectboard should make sure they can continue.  She said voting on the DCAMM property might require an earlier town meeting.

“The board needs to decide whether it’s a board of action or inaction,” Allison said.

Although Moody said it was a problem that they didn’t know where town meeting would take place, he voted with Allison to secure the February date.

Source Google News – Read the original article

Lancaster – finally – hires a planning director; fall town meeting put off to February – Worcester Telegram
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