Town Manager Paul Bockelman is seeking volunteers to serve on town boards and committees. The town has over 30 boards and committees supporting the work of town government and each has multiple residents who are members. Terms of service are typically three years; some may be shorter. Members typically serve for two terms. Members with terms expiring who have served one term may be seeking reappointment.
Boards and committees that have or may have vacancies include the African Heritage Reparation Assembly, Agricultural Commission, Affordable Housing Trust, Board of License Commissioners, CDBG Advisory Committee, Community Preservation Act Committee, Community Safety and Social Justice Committee, Conservation Commission, Council on Aging, Design Review Board, Disability Access Advisory Committee, Energy and Climate Action Committee, Human Rights Commission, Local Historic District Commission, Public Art Commission, Public Shade Tree Committee, Recreation Commission, and Transportation Advisory Committee.
- African Heritage Reparation Assembly: The committee has a mission to study and develop reparation proposals for People of African Heritage in Amherst. The seven-member committee will include six Black residents, at least two of whom are current or former members of elected bodies in Amherst. One member shall be a representative from Reparations For Amherst. The AHRA is charged with developing a Municipal Reparations Plan that includes both a reparations fund and a community-wide process of reconciliation and repair for harms against Black people. The plan will include:
- A plan for developing ongoing funding streams to repair past harms committed by the town against Black people.
- An allocation plan including eligibility criteria, which will be determined and approved by the broader Amherst Black community through a census and community feedback process.
- Additional means of repair for anti-Black structural and communal racism, including public events and activities that prioritize truth telling and reconciliation.
- The AHRA will also coordinate with other groups working toward racial equity in Amherst to ensure collaboration.
- Agricultural Commission: The Agricultural Commission’s purpose is to support commercial agriculture and other farming activities in the town. The Commission’s duties include: promoting agricultural-based economic opportunities; acting as mediators, advocates, educators, and/or negotiators on farming issues; working for the preservation of agricultural lands; pursuing all initiatives appropriate to creating a sustainable agricultural community; reviewing and advising on development proposed in farmland areas, as may be permitted under zoning and other development regulations.
- Affordable Housing Trust: The Trust’s mission, as an instrument of town government, is to promote the town’s affordable housing priorities as determined through the most recent town housing plan, particularly to create safe, decent, and affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations. The Trust meets monthly.
- Board of License Commissioners: The Board of License Commissioners issues licenses for innholders or common victuallers, grants licenses relating to alcoholic beverages under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 138, and those licenses under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140 which are not, by the provisions of said Chapter, placed within the jurisdiction of another town officer or agency. NOTE: There is one member whose terms will be expiring and there is the expectation that they will seek to be reappointed.
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Advisory Committee: The CDBG Committee makes recommendations to the town Manager regarding the town’s CDBG program that includes both social service and non-social service community development activities. CDBG funds – $825,000 in FY19 – are awarded to projects, programs, and services that improve the lives of Amherst’s low- and moderate-income residents and/or increase the accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
- Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee: The CPA Committee studies the needs and resources of the town regarding community preservation; makes recommendations to the town Council annually for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, for the acquisition and preservation of historic resources, for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use, for the creation, preservation and support of community housing and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, historic resources, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in the Community Preservation Act.
- Community Safety and Social Justice Committee: The Committee will work to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and community safety in Amherst. The Committee will have seven voting members. Two of the initial appointments shall have been members of the Community Safety Working Group. No fewer than five of the seven voting members shall represent Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or other historically marginalized communities. Appointments shall strive to represent a broad range of the town’s socio-economic diversity. To that end, financial stipends (to be determined) will be provided to support the work of Committee members. The Committee will incorporate and continue the work of the Community Safety Working Group. Included in its charge will be support for the work of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department; support of the Community Responders for Equity, Safety, and Service program; and working to address the needs of BIPOC and other marginalized groups including the disabled, immigrants, and LGBTQ.
- Conservation Commission: The Conservation Commission is a seven-member board appointed by the town Manager and charged with ensuring the protection of the town’s natural resources and conservation areas. The Commission is responsible for administering and enforcing both the state Wetlands Protection Act and the town of Amherst Wetlands Protection Bylaw, which involves reviewing and permitting projects within and near wetlands. The Commission also works closely with the Conservation Department on management of conservation land, including over 80 miles of trails, and establishing environmental policy such as updating the Open Space and Recreation Plan.
- Council on Aging: The Council acts as an advocate for the elderly of Amherst before local, state, and national bodies. The Council works with the Director of Senior Services to promote and support the efforts of the Director and Senior Center.
- Design Review Board: The Design Review Board (DRB) is to preserve and enhance the town’s cultural, economic and historical resources by providing for a detailed review of all changes in land use, the appearance of structures and the appearance of sites which may affect these resources. The DRB exercises this responsibility by providing design review and recommendations to private applicants and permit granting boards within specific overlay zoning districts in the town Center–the Design Review (DR) overlay district and the town Common Design Review (TCDR) overlay district. Design Review is also provided for town departments and permit granting boards with respect to town projects anywhere in Amherst “which will result in substantial alteration to the form or appearance of a structure or site.
- Disability Access Advisory Committee: The Disability Access Advisory Committee serves the town as an advisory committee on issues of physical, programmatic, and employment accessibility, and works to ensure equal access for people with disabilities. The town is currently updating its ADA self-evaluation and transition plan.
- Energy and Climate Action Committee: The Committee is building on the efforts of the town to address climate change at the municipal level and broaden those efforts to include the greater community. The Committee is responsible for recommending long-term climate action goals that focus on reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and building adaptation and resilience within and across the town’s residential, commercial, and municipal sectors. It will also guide the town in establishing and meeting its climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience goals.
- Human Rights Commission: The Human Rights Commission promotes the town’s Human Rights Policy to insure that no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, affectional or sexual preference, lifestyle, or age for all persons coming within the town of Amherst.
- Local Historic District Commission: The Commission administers and regulates the construction and alteration of any structures or buildings within the town’s historic districts as set forth by the town’s bylaw. There is one seat for a resident of one of the town’s local historic districts.
- Recreation Commission: The Recreation Commission assists the Recreation Department by advising on recreational facilities and a variety of leisure and recreational programs and supplemental education classes. The Commission develops policies, rules and regulations governing the operation of the facilities and the delivery of Recreation programs. The Commission also advises on public playgrounds, parks, and athletic facilities.
- Public Art Commission: The Public Art Commission fosters a greater community awareness of the interaction with public art, and through public art, promotes cultural diversity and an improved quality of life for Amherst’s residents.
- Public Shade Tree Committee: The Public Shade Tree Committee preserves, protects, and promotes town shade trees and works in conjunction with the Tree Warden. The Committee advises the Tree Warden and town Manager to ensure the values of shade trees are taken into consideration when policies are set. The committee also educates the public about the importance and benefits of town shade trees and has regular tree planting activities.
- Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC): TAC is advisory committee on transportation matters. The TAC seeks to address specific transportation matters in a comprehensive and holistic manner. The TAC provides advice on current and proposed transportation regulations, policies, initiatives, and improvement projects.
A complete list of all boards and committees can be found here.
The manager seeks residents who have relevant expertise or experience. We are especially seeking individuals of diverse backgrounds to serve on all boards, committees, and commissions.
If you are interested in volunteering to serve, please fill out a Community Activity Form at: https://www.amherstma.gov/caf
If you have questions, reach out to our Community Participation Officers at GetInvolved@AmherstMA.gov