Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors: A History, 1961 – 1991

Compiled by Bob Mitchell, FAICP in a memo to the Board dated May 17, 2000.


  • 1st meeting of a group of planners was held on April 12, 1961, at the Faculty Club at MIT. They discussed the merits of establishing a planning directors group to: “strengthen communication, share common problems and promote common interests”.
  • There were 17 communities in the State and 14 were represented at the meeting. Planners from Cambridge, Boston, Brookline, QUincy, Medford, Fall River, Worcester, New Bedford, Brockton, Lowell, Haverhill, Maiden, Springfield, Lexington and the Mass. Dept. of Commerce were in attendance. The planning positions in Pittsfield and Lynn were vacant and the planner from Holyoke had car problems on the Pike (water in the gas tank).
  • Jim Lee from Quincy was selected to Chair the group and it was agreed that the MIT Faculty Club would be the regular meeting location.
  • It was agreed to informally call the group the Conference of Massachusetts Planning Directors.
  • The Mass. Dept. of Commerce agreed to do the administrative and clerical work for the organization.
  • June 21, 1961, meeting of CMPD. It was agreed to expand the membership to include planning consultants and to become a more formal organization by developing bylaws.
  • The group agrees to be advisors to the Mass. Transportation Commission’s development of a Metropolitan Boston Transportation Plan.


  • September – The group formally adopted the Articles of Incorporation by which the organization officially became The Conference of Massachusetts Planning Directors (CMPD).
  • October — It was agreed to establish subcommittees on legislation and open space.
  • April 26, 1962 – lst Annual Meeting – election of officers and review of findings of the Metropolitan Transportation Study.


  • The meetings this year generally consisted of planning directors from 1 or 2 cities reporting on their planning efforts.
  • December – For the first time, the group did not meet at the MIT Faculty Club (it was closed) and met instead at the Brookline Motor Hotel.
  • February – It was officially voted to include planning consultants as members.
  • May 3 – Second Annual Meeting.


  • Membership this year totalled 20 people. All meetings were held at the MIT Faculty Club and meetings were held throughout the summer months.


  • September – the group discussed the newly established Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
  • April – 4th Annual Meeting – election of officers and discussion of the Mass. Special Commission on Low-Income Housing Report.


  • May – the program included the Worcester Planning Board and James Wheeler, writer for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette who won the ASPO Award for Outstanding Journalism for the Advancement of City Planning.
  • Summer meetings were cancelled.
  • November – For the 2nd time, the meeting was not held at the MIT Faculty Club, instead being held at the Brandeis University Faculty Club.


  • For the first time, meetings were regularly at locations other than the MIT Faculty Club, but were still held in and around Boston.
  • A continuing discussion throughout the year concerned the question of whether to charge dues.


  • October – the Amherst Town Manager, Planning Board Chair and Charles Downe, consultant, present Amherst PUD Bylaw and information on Echo Hill in Amherst, first PUD in New England.


  • (No records found for this year.)


  • Because of financial difficulties, the club began charging members who made reservations for lunch but did not attend the lunch. (some problems are eternal)
  • March – Meeting held at the University of Massachusetts to review the curriculum for the new Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.


  • Due to continuing financial difficulties, the Executive Committee recommended the implementation of dues.
  • February – $25 membership fee is adopted.
  • March – joint meeting with the Boston Chapter of A1? to discuss legislative issues.


  • February – Staff from the Division of Community Services, Dept. of Community Affairs, presented annual review of bills filed for the current legislative session.
  • May — The Executive Committee sends a survey to members in order to compile a bibliography of reports of the member communities.


  • September – CMPD agrees to act in an advisory role to the Dept. of Community Affairs’ Statewide Housing Needs Study.
  • March – CMPD votes to oppose a bill filed on behalf of the Mass. Society of State Engineers Inc. to require registration of professional planners.
  • May – members instruct the Executive Committee to study the question of who could be a member and to make any other appropriate revisions to the Bylaws. In addition, because of a conflict in the Bylaws as to how many people were to be on the Executive Committee (5 versus 6) an at-large member was elected until the conflict was resolved.
  • May – a salary survey of members was completed for use by the membership.


  • It was agreed to hold at least two meetings a year outside of the Boston area.
  • November – Co-sponsored a two day conference in Worcester with the New England Chapter of AIP.
  • December – held the first CMPD Christmas Party.
  • April – voted a revised set of Articles of Organization which established the Executive Committee as a 5 member committee.


  • A policy was established to hold each monthly meeting at a different location.
  • Dues remained $25.
  • December – the meeting was held at the Chateau DeVille in Framingham to see “This was Burlesque” dinner show.
  • March – CMPD and NE Chapter of MP held a joint all day session at the Parker House with State legislators.
  • April – a subcommittee is appointed to study the future ro1e and direction of CMPD.


  • CMPD reviews the “State Growth and Development Policy for Mass.” bill filed in the legislature.
  • December – all day session co—sponsored by CMPD, LHV, AIP, AIA, ASLA, ACCE, held to review the Growth and Development Policy bill.
  • April — the subcommittee studying the Conference makes recommendations regarding renaming the group, establish a permanent legislative committee, holding joint meetings with other Planning groups, establishing a bibliography of planning reports and sponsoring training sessions.
  • June – it is voted to increase the dues to $45. Also voted were instructions to investigate renaming CHPD.


  • December – reviewed the new act regarding Chapter 808, revisions to the Zoning Act.
  • February – Executive Committee reviewed alternative names for the organization. Suggestions included Mass. Assoc. of Planning Directors, Mass. Federation of Planning Directors, Mass. Planners’ Assoc., Planning Directors of Mass., Mass. Municipal Planners Assoc.
  • June – the organization voted to change its name to the Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors.


  • As a result of members’ suggestions, MAPD investigated the possibility of contracting services with the Mass. League of Cities and Towns. The League would provide: a) review of legislation, b) liaison with other municipal organizations on legislative issues, c) attendance at 5 legislative hearings on behalf of MAPD, d) subscriptions to the Beacon to MAPD members.
  • June – the Executive Committee recommends signing a contract with Mass. League of Cities and Towns.
  • June – annual meeting held in Gloucester – proclaimed as “1st Annual Clambake”.


  • MAPD signs contract with Mass. League of Cities & Towns for $500. MLC&T agrees to provide legislative services and that the Chair of MAPD can participate in the Executive Committee of the League.
  • February – MAPD meets with the new Secretary of EOCD, Byron Matthews.


  • March – MAPD sponsored an all day workshop on “Implementing Housing Rehabilitation”.


  • September – heid a joint meeting with APA, Mass Section, on the CARD program of EOCD.
  • April – MAPD held a reception at the Sheraton Boston for planners and community development directors attending the APA National Conference.
  • June – discussed a proposal to have MAPD provide short term technical assistance to communities. A report on the pros and cons was prepared.


  • March – MAPD printed a 20 page Publication Directory, which listed the planning publications of member agencies and firms.
  • March – Met at Harvard with Professor James Brown, Chair of the City and Regional Planning Dept., to review the Harvard planning program.
  • April – imposed a $5 penance fee for members who make lunch reservations but don’t show up. (the continuation of an eternal problem)


  • Dues are raised from $45 to $50.
  • October – MAPD submits a list of questions to the candidates for governor (Michael Dukakis & John Sears). Dukakis replies.
  • Nov./Dec. – MAPD members offered tours of the Red Line construction between Harvard Square and Porter Square.
  • April – met with Amy Anthony, new Secretary of EOCD.
  • May – co-sponsored a “Computers in Planning“ session with NECAPA.


  • October – co-sponsored a “Land Use Law” conference in Falmouth with NECAPA.


  • March – co-sponsored an “Open Space – Our Common Wealth” conference with MACC, MFPB, MARPA, held at Holy Cross in Worcester.
  • March – reestablished a Legislative subcommittee.
  • May – co-sponsored a “Route 128: Moving Toward the Year 2000” in Burlington, with NECAPA, ITE, LWV, NAIOP, MAPC, EOTC, MDPW.


  • October – legislative subcommittee held an organizational meeting.
  • October – MAPD agrees to appoint a representative to the Statewide Outdoor Comprehensive Recreation Plan (SCORP) Technical Committee.
  • May – co-sponsored a “Flexible Zoning” conference at Wheaton College with NECAPA.
  • June – annual meeting includes a harbor cruise out of Gloucester.


  • February – MAPD, MARPA, Mass Section of APA hold joint legislative issues meeting.
  • March – 1st Legislators’ Breakfast held.
  • April – co-sponsored a “Professional in Planning – Not For Professionals Only” conference in Worcester, with NECAPA, EOCD, MARPA.


  • January – 1st Annual Retreat held, at UMass at Amherst.
  • Legislative committee becomes more active and establishes subcommittees by topic area.
  • May – 2nd Legislators’ Breakfast held, co-sponsored with NECAPA.
  • MAPD conducts salary survey of members and produces report on the survey.
  • June – annual meeting held on the Boston Harbor.


  • April – 3rd Annual Legislators’ Breakfast.
  • April – 2nd Annual Retreat, held at Woods Hole.
  • June – voted amendments to the Bylaws regarding financial matters in order to obtain non-profit status with the IRS.


  • March – 4th Annual Legislators’ Breakfast.
  • March – 3rd Annual Retreat, held at UMass at Amherst.


  • January – meeting devoted to discussion on proposed comprehensive planning legislation.
  • Feb./March – MAPD & its members protest the proposed elimination of EOCD’s Office of Planning and Management.
  • March – 4th Annual Legislators’ Breakfast.
  • April – 3rd Annual Retreat, held in Hyannis.