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ABOUT TOWN: If You Fail to Plan ... You Plan to Fail

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e-mail to pmpco@aol.com.

A MASTER PLAN UNDERWAY: The Stoughton Town Master Plan "Public Education and Visioning" is now under way. You might remember that voted to add $75,000 to the Planning Board budget to help pay for the Town's Master Plan.

$50,000 was included in the 2012 budget for it, and Town Planner Noreen O'Toole said that they were contracting soon for Phase I and needed more money for Phase II of the Master Plan in the 2013 budget. O'Toole said that Phase I was "Public Education and Visioning." Phase II is a variety of components, and the final step of the plan is implementing those components.

For those who don't know, the Master Plan is the Holy Grail for the Town of Stoughton. The town's newest Selectmen, Robert O'Regan, ran on a platform of developing a Master Plan.

O'Toole said the last Master Plan for Stoughton was done between 1968-1970, more than 40 years ago. This plan gave a good synopsis of the town back then, but didn't give a vision for where it was going, and didn't have a business component. O'Toole added: "a master plan done 40 years ago is not relevant today."

Interim Town Manager Joseph P. Feaster, Jr. said at the time, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Town Meeting member Barry Crimmins  had added, "It is a lack of a Master Plan that has allowed the downtown and other areas to deteriorate."

So, now, on the front page of the town's website, is this message:

The consultants working with the Stoughton Master Plan Committee have created a web site to provide information to interested parties during the master planning process. The web site can be accessed at the following address:

http://www.stoughtonmasterplan.org/

If you have an interest in being part of the process, go to the website, or contact Noreen O'Toole at 781-341-2016.

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HAVE AN IDEA TO IMPROVE TOWN MEETING? A meeting will be held in Great Hall on the third floor of Town Hall TONIGHT (Thursday, July 19) at 7 p.m. It will be chaired by Selectmen Cynthia Walsh and Bob O'Regan, and deal with policies and procedures Selectmen may take on improving Town Meeting.

O'Regan met with Walsh, and a small group of interested residents, . The two selectmen are the only members of the Town Meeting Subcommittee.

They propose to collect information about the reason for the large number of warrant article and slow process of Town Meeting, and recommend improvements by a deadline of September 1, 2012.

They also intend to identify deficiencies in how information is presented to town meeting; draft guidelines for submission of proposed articles by Department Heads; and recommend procedures for improving presentation of information on petitioned articles.

If YOU have an idea you'd like to share, then head to Town Hall and SPEAK UP!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Suzanne Barrett, daughter of retired DPW Superintendent Larry Barrett, and husband of Jonathan Beder, DPW Superintendent in the Town of Plymouth.

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