The establishment of municipal Planning Boards is authorized by Massachusetts General Law, chapter 41, section 81A. Among its many diverse roles, the Planning Board is charged with the following duties, paraphrased here from the Mass. General Law:
- Adopting a master plan and official map of the city or town
- Conducting studies, and, when necessary, preparing plans of the resources, possibilities and needs of the city or town for submittal to the Selectmen for their consideration.
- Serving as the local authority for the Subdivision Control Act; adopting Rules and Regulations governing the subdivision of land in the Town of Goshen; reviewing all preliminary and definitive plan submittals.
- Drafting and submitting zoning amendments for consideration by the municipality. When a zoning amendment has been put forward, the Planning Board holds the public hearing and may also report its recommendation to the local legislature;
- Serving, in some instances, as the special permit granting authority;
- Serving as Site Plan Review Authority for all Special Permits A-2 under consideration by the Zoning Board of Appeals;
- Is always the "party of interest" in administrative appeals, special permit applications, and variance petitions within the municipality and in adjacent cities and towns;
- Under Mass. Gen. L. ch. 40, 15C, the Scenic Roads Act, the Planning Board is enabled to recommend roads for municipal consideration, and empowers the planning board to oversee specified activities.