The Rochester Board of Selectmen voted on Tuesday to authorize Town Administrator Richard LaCamera to enter into a contract with the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic District, opening the door for the organization to provide planning services to the town in the wake of John Charbonneau’s departure.
Charbonneau, who had worked as part-time planner for Rochester and Wareham, recently accepted a full-time position in Raynham.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Naida Parker said that SRPEDD will charge the town for planning consultation, but that upward of the first 40 hours would be free. In addition, Parker said, grants and other funding could pay for more.
Parker, LaCamera and Planning Board Chairman Arnold Johnson recently met with SRPEDD Executive Director Steve Smith.
Selectman Bradford Morse said that is there no timetable for a permanent replacement for Charbonneau, and that the arrangement with SRPEDD will “buy us time.” Morse added that sharing a planner with Wareham – which Parker called “informal regionalization” – has worked well for Rochester.
Elsewhere on the agenda, the Selectmen signed off on annual renewal of the “Dog Warrant,” giving the Rochester Police Department greater enforcement powers against residents with unlicensed dogs. Parker estimated that there are as many as 100 to 200 unlicensed dogs in the town, and that while Animal Control’s enforcement ability is limited, the police can “take whatever legal action necessary.”
The next Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for September 23 – when there will be more discussion of dogs during a public hearing – with future meetings taking place on October 7 and October 21.
By Shawn Badgley