On Thursday, two members were ill, and with only four members on the Board, a three-person quorum could not be reached.
The 5-member Board has had just four members since Planning Board member Stephanie Mercandetti, 42, died after a battle with cancer on January 14.
Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer mentioned Mercandetti in her State of the City address on February 5, but she has yet to advertise to fill Mercandetti’s position on the 5-member Planning Board.
Mercandetti was first elected to the Framingham Planning Board in 2012, as a write-in candidate.
Under the City of Framingham charter, Planning Board members are no longer elected, but appointed by the Mayor.
Both the term of Mercandetti’s and Thomas Mahoney, the longest-serving member of the Planning Board, were up in 2018. Mahoney has served on the Planning Board, including several stints as chair, since 1999.
If Framingham had not transitioned to a City from a Town, Mercandetti and Mahoney would have had to run for re-election in the spring of 2018. The City Clerk’s office considers the terms up on April 1, 2018.
The City of Framingham website has been updated, since Mercandetti’s passing to show only 4 members currently serving on the Framingham Planning Board.
When asked by Framingham Source about the open Planning Board position, the Mayor released the following statement, through her spokesperson – “Ms. Mercandetti’s passing has had a tremendous impact on Framingham. There would have been two vacant seats up for re-election in April of 2018, we are preparing to advertise the two open seats for the Planning Board in the near future.”
Although the Planning Board now has four members and not five, a vote of three members is still needed for any project to be approved.
While it is possible to get a 3-0 vote on a project, there is also the possibility of 2-2 tie votes, which would mean a proposal or project could be rejected.
On January 18, the Framingham Planning Board voted 3-0 to approve 258 apartments at 59 Fountain Street. Planning Board Vice Chair Lew Colten recused himself from the vote. Voting in favor was Planning Board chair Christine Long, Victor Ortiz, and Mahoney.
On March 1, the Planning Board will hold a public hearing on a proposal to modify the transfer of development rights zoning bylaw. A vote by the Planning Board is expected later this spring.
The Planning Board also has four projects that were filed in 2017, pending a vote, including a development on Grove Street and a planning housing development at the former Millwood golf course.
And the Planning Board has five projects filed in 2018 facing a vote, including a proposed apartment project on Flutie pass.
Once the Mayor advertises for the Framingham Planning Board opening, candidates will likely have 30 days to apply.
After the application process closes, the Mayor will select a candidate to replace Mercandetti and submit that person’s name to the 11-member Framingham City Council.
The City Council has 30 days to approve the candidate.
The Council most likely would send any name for possible appointment to the Planning Board to its subcommittee on appointments. That subcommittee would likely review the candidate, and take a vote to either recommend or not recommend the full Council support the candidate.
Six votes of the 11-member City Council is needed to approve a mayoral appointment to a committee or board.
If the Council takes no action, with 30 days after the name is submitted, the individual is automatically approved.