What do you think about RKG not taking public input for Plymouth’s master plan?
Jam session is an opinion forum offering comments on issues from a group of Plymouth residents. It appears on the Forum pages in the Weekend edition of the OCM.
The newspaper poses a question to the group each week, and participants choose whether to comment. This column is designed to bring the voices of well-informed residents into the Forum page to address issues, one at a time.
Participants cross the local political spectrum and live throughout the town. Some are current or past Town Meeting representatives, and all are active in the community. We hope their diverse points of view will encourage discussion of the issues Plymouth faces.
What do you think about RKG not taking public input for Plymouth’s master plan?
RKG, the firm hired by the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation to come up with a long-term economic development master plan for the town, apparently is not taking public input. In fact, “there are no surveys or community engagement meetings in RKG’s contract,” according to the Foundation’s new executive director, a former RKG employee. So who is RKG getting input from? What do you think about this process?
In the past RKG reports, the many community meetings and the input from the residents of all Plymouth’s villages were integral to the final report. The Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation is funding $25,000 of the RKG survey. The Foundation states on its website, “Our overarching purpose is to help business locate or expand in Plymouth and the surrounding area.” In the RKG memo, there appears to be an “overarching” effort to change zoning or swap conservation land, all for the sake of expanding development. The very specific reasons for placing the lands in conservation do not go away with a zoning change or a land swap. Without the input from all community stakeholders the RKG report is incomplete.
Pat Adelmann has been a Plymouth resident since 1977and is a mother of five Plymouth Public School graduates, a proud grandmother of 12, a former School Committee member and a former Town Meeting representative.
So, how much are we taxpayers paying this firm?
RKG may or may not have a plan already in mind. They are working for the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation. Speaking for myself it’s my opinion that government plans don’t often work out well.
Ahhh, I went to the website of the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation and looked up their Mission and Strategic Plan. I saw, “In progress – check back soon!” So, if the PREDF doesn’t have a plan that how in God’s name can RKG have one, who was hired by them?
Please don’t tell me we’ve spent any money on this yet.
Let the private sector prevail. I want industry in our industrial park (that’s why we call it an “industrial” park), and I want “real” affordable housing, meaning small houses on small lots that working families can afford. Just like we used to build.
Just my opinion, but no one asked especially RKG.
Jay Beauregard, born and raised in Plymouth, served four years in the Marine Corps and has worked for 37 years at a local company. He is a Libertarian who served three terms as a Town Meeting rep from Precinct 6.
This is a bowl of something brown, hot, and steamy, and it ain’t heated ice cream. It stinks and I abhor it. Since when do the people (whose taxes pay Plymouth employees and paid appointees/contractors) not deserve input into what the town is doing regarding economic development? I believe 100 percent that Plymouth taxpayers deserve input into this because they are not the idiots that “PREDF” seems to think they are and because they do have lots of great ideas, if only someone would bother to listen.
I also don’t like the relationship between PREDF and RKG. The whole thing stinks. In my humble opinion the Board of Selectmen should fire the new chairman, abolish the PREDF, and find a way to nullify the RKG contract. If it smells like you-know-what, then that’s exactly what it is. But this is worse. That, at least, has value as fertilizer. This preliminary recommendation is stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and 100 percent pointless vacuous tripe. RKG makes the case against itself for being remarkably and totally unprepared to do this. It never even mentions the long dormant 1,000 acre parcel in South Plymouth that has enormous potential if the town only bothered to prioritize clearing titles.
A Plymouth resident for more than 40 years, Jeff Berger is founder and owner of JMB Communications / websitesthatworkusa.com and everythingsxm.com as well as Northeast Ambassador for SkyMed International, www.getskymed.com. He is a former chairman of Plymouth’s Nuclear Matters Committee and its Cable Advisory Committee.
I have watched the PACTV broadcast of the RKG initial report. The presentation was professional and showed some good research had been done. The select persons asked some questions but overall seemed disinterested.
I have no knowledge of the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation, its politics or agenda. I believe they want the town to think strategically and long-term.
Tom Wallace may have been one of The Pinehills founders but that is a good thing and I believe he has good intentions.
Lack of a town-wide survey along with other input is definitely a concern. Lack of transparency is business as usual here in Plymouth.
Five weeks until town meeting and important facts and figures are still unavailable.
We can and should do better.
Rick Caproni is a Town Meeting representative from Precinct 15, a retired equipment leasing executive and a self described political activist.
It seems to me, after reading the supportive article, that RKG may have been a poor choice. Perhaps it was the RFP, but at any rate, a professional company would have looked beyond the strict guidelines of the RFP to create a complete and concise report.
The lack of research into Plymouth history, master plan, steering committees, environmental, etc. etc. is amateurish. Much of what they recommend flies in the face of what has been a clear direction, by various groups and town centers, i.e.; Manomet, West Plymouth, Downtown, North Plymouth, South Plymouth, etc. and is also contrary to what most of us anticipated.
Their lack of communication with all parties concerned makes me wonder if it was created in some office, without the realistic approach of talking with all factions of the community who will be affected by the recommendations. My opinion? Thanks, but no thanks.
Mike Landers is a Town Meeting representative and is the founder and producer of Project Arts of Plymouth. He is also the owner of Nightlife Music Company and is a performing musician.
The RKG report was seriously short on community knowledge, and that’s a problem because without giving the town a chance to provide guidance or to refocus RKG, they will continue spending our money putting properties on the table that are not developable or ones burdened with irremediable problems. Perhaps they were asked to find every possible location regardless of whether appropriate or even doable. That’s a waste. They will continue now spending time, and our money, on things that the town could say no to; time could be better focused on digging deeper on real or likely prospects. For example, why include the 200 acres at Clark and Long Pond roads that was put in conservation as part of the original Pinehills deal? The strong restrictions would require Beacon Hill legislation to break which then unleashes hundreds of land trusts worried that their protected lands are in jeopardy for commercial development. Pinehills consent is also required as they have retained a restriction. RKG employees could have ascertained that, they are supposed experts and I expect better analysis and coordination with town officials. The report should prioritize the list in some fashion so the town doesn’t now have to do much of the sorting out of chaff.
Ed Russell is an attorney and a Precinct 12 Town Meeting representative, and he serves on a number of town committees.
Why do we continue to dump tax payers money on consultants like RKG? A total waste of money when we have a town planner and a planning board and way too many town committees. We need their advice like we need a hole in our heads. Dump them, and let our paid employees figure it out!
Roger Silva is a former five-term Plymouth selectman who began public service as an elected Town Meeting member. He has served on the Advisory and Finance Committee and two charter commissions.