Town of Brewster, Massachusetts


Section II - General Government: 1751 Planning

Mission Statement

The Planning Department is responsible for coordinating the Town’s planning activities and providing staff support to the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Vision Planning Committee. The Planning Department serves as a steward of the Town’s land, environment, water, air, and energy by providing guidance, performing project review, conducting research, and making policy recommendations.

Accomplishments for FY2022

  • Planning Department staff completed a reorganization of all department files moving from the old map and lot numbering system to the new map and lot numbering system. The reorganization allows for more efficient retrieval of Planning Department files.
  • Planning Department staff assisted with completion of the Hazard Mitigation Plan which has been reviewed by MEMA and submitted to FEMA for review.
  • The Planning Board developed a new general bylaw for Stormwater Management to comply with the state’s MS4 permit requirements. The Planning Board has also drafted stormwater management regulations which are pending review by Town Counsel.
  • The Planning Board completed revisions to the Floodplain District zoning bylaw. Revisions were necessary for town residents to maintain coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • The Planning Board completed revisions to the Water Quality Protection District zoning bylaw. Revisions were necessary due to the new stormwater management bylaw. Additional housekeeping revisions were included in the update.
  • The Zoning Board of Appeals experienced an uptick in applications (2019=39; 2020=17; 2021=27) which were both more complex and time-consuming. In 2019, the ZBA conducted 46 public hearings on the applications received. In 2020, the ZBA conducted 28 public hearings on the applications received. In 2021, the ZBA conducted 57 public hearings on the applications received.
  • The Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously granted approval for a 40B Comprehensive Permit to Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod, Inc. to build two affordable single-family dwellings, each with three bedrooms. One of the affordable dwellings will be a “Veterans Preference” dwelling.
  • The Vision Planning Committee aligned the Vision Plan with the Cape Cod Regional Policy Plan.
  • The Vision Planning Committee fostered outreach by working closely with Town staff and the Community to begin the development of the Local Comprehensive Plan based on the Vision Plan goals.

Goals & Initiatives for FY2023

  • Review current Planning Department staffing model and fill Town Planner position.
  • Implement Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness projects that support climate change.
  • Planning Board to finalize stormwater management regulations.
  • Fill vacant Zoning Board of Appeal positions.
  • Vision Planning Committee to continue to implement the Vision Plan and develop a Local Comprehensive Plan for adoption at the Town meeting and certification by the Cape Cod Commission.
  • Continue training and education for the Planning Board and staff on the new stormwater management general bylaw.
  • Continue to provide training and guidance to the members of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Vision Planning Committee.

Budget Highlights

  • The budget represents a $24,924 (13.73%) increase over the FY22 budget.
  • An increase of $8,115.01 in part-time staff hours is provided to allow for more adequate and efficient coverage of the Planning Department, including handling phone calls, e-mail requests, and in person requests.
  • The remaining increase in personnel services reflects contractual obligations and the implementation of the Compensation and Class Study, including the hire of a new town planner.