Wellesley Planning Director Don McCauley retiring

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about Don McCauley stepping down from something in Wellesley, but that will happen when your involvement in town government is so pervasive. McCauley, who has served in many roles for the town, this week officially announced plans to retire as Planning Director come -mid-November (see Wellesley Media recording of the Sept. 20 Planning Board meeting at about the 2-hour, 3-minute mark).

This will wrap up three years leading the Wellesley Planning Department for McCauley, who succeeded Michael Zehner. McCauley vowed to leave the department and board with lots of things to think about regarding town bylaws and regulations.

The Planning Director previously had been on the Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, and Advisory Committee, among other town bodies. He’s served as both a Town Meeting member and as moderator for that group (in fact, when McCauley stepped down as moderator we prematurely wrote in 2019: “A seasoned pro at Town politics, we’ve seen him retire before when in 2015 he stepped down from Advisory. McCauley got pulled back into the life in 2017, but now it looks like he’s he’s leaving for good.”)

McCauley is half of a Wellesley power couple with wife Ann Marie, public health nurse supervisor with the town. The well-respected McCauley was recognized as a Townsman 10 recipient in 2015 after his children nominated him.

The Planning Director said he’s a bit worn out from the grind of working the past 40 years, including in the legal and energy fields. He’s worked with his team to make a number of hires over the past year or so to ensure the department can carry on with its complicated work involving everything from zoning bylaws to large house reviews.

Planning Board Chair Jim Roberti touted McCauley’s leadership during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “You did such a wonderful job of leading us through a time when people didn’t know what end was up. We didn’t miss a deadline and we got everything we needed to get done.”

Roberti recalled the Planning Board’s successful 2022 Annual Town Meeting, where nearly a dozen articles it sponsored, such as a new accessory dwelling unit provision, were passed.

“You deserve the right to get a pair of sneakers, a baseball hat, and one of those windbreakers and just hang out and do what you want instead of getting up at X hours and show up,” Roberti said.