PROVINCETOWN — Thaddeus Soulé, the new town planner, said that he’s out to cast a wide net and bring as many people as possible into Provincetown planning. In a recent interview, Soulé emphasized inclusionary and consensus-driven planning.
“I think everyone is a planner,” he said. “Everyone has the capacity to provide input and help shape the community and what they want to see here, whether that’s protecting what’s here now or creating something new and different.”
Soulé also emphasized his role as a facilitator, supporter, and liaison for various volunteer-driven boards.
“I don’t make the rules or enforce them,” he said. “But I do help to make sure the volunteer citizens who are appointed to these boards have everything they need to make their decisions.”
Soulé comes to Provincetown after being the town planner and conservation agent in Chelmsford, a town of more than 30,000 next to Lowell, and an engineering consultant in Southborough. Soulé said he had spent weekends in Provincetown, often staying at the Coastal Acres campground on Bayberry Avenue, but had never lived here before accepting the job. He found winter quarters in a cottage at Beach Point and is currently applying to live at Harbor Hill, the former timeshare complex that is now town-owned market-rate rental apartments.
“Provincetown is a community that matches my ideals,” said Soulé. “It’s a small town with big opportunities, and it’s such a great place to live and work and play.” The natural beauty of Provincetown’s bike trails and the West End breakwater also helped draw him in.
“I have so much to learn,” Soulé noted. “I’m really looking forward to meeting my boards, finding out what their needs are and how I can assist the work that they’re doing.”
The town planner is the primary staff support and liaison for the planning board, the zoning board of appeals, and the local comprehensive plan committee. Collectively, these committees develop and apply many of the rules about what can be built here.
Asked about climate change, Soulé said that increasingly powerful storm and wave action “are going to cause a change to our approach to the built environment. It’s going to be townwide.”
He added, “I like to say that we don’t have problems, we have challenges. Climate change, changes to FEMA rules — it’s a really interesting challenge.”