Boards and Committees

Planning Commission and Land Use & Planning

Planning Commission

In a broad sense the Planning Commission is responsible for thinking ahead, with the help of Middlesex residents—for envisioning what we all want our town to be like in the future and then helping to make that happen.

In addition to drafting the Town Plan and zoning bylaws, the Planning Commission reviews site plans of zoning applications for “allowed” uses (except one- or two- family residential uses and agricultural uses). The Commission can use this review to request certain conditions relative to the layout of roads and driveways, traffic flow, landscaping and screening and erosion control measures. (Zoning applications for uses defined as “conditional” are referred to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for consideration.)

In addition, the Planning Commission may study and make recommendations on land development, transportation, energy conservation, and many other related matters.

The Planning Commission makes a concerted effort to contact town residents about meetings where citizens can provide input by posting agendas on this website, HERE, and on Front Porch Forum.

The Commission is made up of five members, elected for staggered three-year terms. The group always welcomes people who want to get involved, and encourages you to contact them with questions or comments. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month, usually starting at 6:30 p.m. During the COVID shut down, all meetings are being held via ZOOM. Please check the agenda for log-in information. 

Land Use and Planning

Planning is the process of designing a community’s future.

Zoning is the process of regulating proposed uses of property, so as to fit with the plan that the town designed.

In Middlesex, the Town Plan is developed by the volunteer Planning Commission, with input from citizens. After a public hearing, the plan is then referred to the Select Board, which also holds a hearing. In towns that so choose (and Middlesex has been one), the Select Board then sends the plan to the voters for approval. The Town Plan may include recommendations for both voluntary and regulatory actions. It is also used as a benchmark in certain Act 250 proceedings. The plan is updated and readopted every five years. The Planning Commission is also charged with preparing Zoning Bylaws or amendments to implement the town plan, which are adopted in a similar fashion.  There is a specific process for Zoning Bylaws or amendments (Planning Commission Reporting Form for Municipal Bylaw Amendments).

Here is a copy of the 2019-2027 Middlesex Town Plan. It is updated every seven years, so if there’s something in it you’d like to see written differently, there are regular opportunities to change it.

Conservation Commission

The Middlesex Conservation Commission’s mission is to conserve the town’s natural and cultural resources. The Conservation Commission works with the town’s other governmental entities and the public to identify and assess resources, to offer the town and landowners guidance on planning for the conservation of these resources, and to educate the residents of Middlesex as to why conserving these resources is so important.  Updates on the Commission’s work appear regularly in the Middlesex Monthly.

The Conservation Commission’s nine volunteer members are appointed by the Middlesex Selectboard for staggered terms of four years. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. During the COVID shut down, all meetings are being held via ZOOM. Please check the agenda for log-in information. 

Town Meeting Solutions Committee

The Town Meeting Solutions Committee

Since mid-2001, the Town Meeting Solutions Committee has come together once a month to research, discuss and take action to increase and improve participation in Middlesex’s Town Meeting. This ad hoc group was not appointed, but simply gathered at the request of the Select Board.

Projects have included surveying citizens, hosting discussions, and collaborating with other town and school groups to find ways to increase citizens’ interest in Town Meeting and, by extension, Middlesex civic affairs in general. The Committee created this “Middlesex Operator’s Manual.”

All Middlesex residents are welcome to join this diverse committee! the group meets monthly. All levels of participation are welcome. You can simply receive minutes, attend meetings, or be involved in specific projects. (See Contacts)

Photo: The Town Meeting Solutions Committee enjoys the magical balancing act of local democracy. Some of the members, above: (l-r): Susan Clark, Kelly Ault, Greg Whitchurch, Wilson Brett, Dave Shepard, Barb Whitchurch. Photo by Mark Bushnell.