After about 45 minutes of discussion and public comment, the motion to expand the Planning Commission from seven members to nine members failed by at 2-3 vote at the Selectboard meeting on May 9. See: SB Agenda: Expansion Of PC By Two Seats. Selectboard members Brochu and Cook voted for expansion. Selectboard member Layton who first floated the proposal on April 25, voted against expansion after listening to the various comments
The discussion basically addressed two issues. The primary issue being whether a need existed to add different voices to the Planning Commission. Three PC members said that the commission members did not agree on everything. Residents raised concerns, however, that on the mega development on Route 5 South, Planning Commission members were all on the same page favoring development. Two Selectboard members pushed back, saying the Planning Commission had backed down on that proposal after listening to the public.
The other issue raised that an expanded board might have difficulty in attaining a quorum to conduct business. With seven seats, the quorum is four, which the Planning Commission apparently does not always get. However, one resident aptly observed that perhaps members who can not regularly make meetings should think about stepping down from the Planning Commission.
Selectboard member Brochu raised a pragmatic point in favor of expansion. She said we have two qualified candidates seeking appointment to one seat. It makes sense to expand the commission rather than lose a good candidate.