The Harvard Planning Board is a five member elected board with one appointed voting associate member, with specific statutory requirements. The Board reviews and approves the division of land under the State Subdivision Control Law (MGL. Ch. 41) and the Harvard Subdivision Controls (Chapter 130); serves as a special permit granting authority under the State Zoning Act (MGL. Ch. 40A) and the Harvard Protective (Zoning) Bylaw (Chapter 125); and guides the process of Zoning Bylaw amendments under the State Zoning Act (MGL. Ch. 40A). Members are elected to three-year term, except for associate member, who is appointed annually.
Under State Law, the Board is charged with the responsibility of protecting the health, safety and welfare of Harvard's residents. Guided by the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Harvard Protective (Zoning) Bylaw, the 2016 Harvard Master Plan and citizen's comments and concerns, the Board strives to preserve and enhance the integrity of Harvard's rural character through the use of these regulatory tools, while safeguarding property owners' rights. The Board recommends and specifies changes to development proposals to achieve these goals. Board members and staff strive to work with both project proponents and citizens to help shape projects so as to minimize the impact to the community.