Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 3 of chapter 72 of the acts of 1986 is hereby amended by striking out paragraphs (b) and (c) and inserting in place thereof the following two paragraphs:-
(b) The board shall consist of seven members who shall be residents of the town of Amherst. The board members shall be appointed by the town manager and approved by the board of selectmen to serve without compensation. Three members shall be appointed to two year terms and two members shall be appointed to one year terms. Thereafter, as the terms of the appointed members expire, their successors shall be appointed to serve two year terms. Vacancies, other than by expiration of terms, shall be filled for the balance of the term by the town manager, with the approval of the board of selectmen. Every member, unless sooner removed, shall serve until the qualification of a successor. A panel of four board members shall be assigned to hear each petition, of whom only three shall preside and vote during the decision. The chair shall appoint the panelists in rotation and according to board members' schedules. If all four members have been present for the full hearing, upon closing the case, one member of the hearing panel shall be eliminated, by lottery, from the discussion of the findings and the vote on the decision.
(c) Five members of the board shall constitute a quorum for all board meetings except meetings of the board to deliberate and decide petitions after the close of the public hearing, for which three members of the panel as constituted pursuant to paragraph (b) shall constitute a quorum. Three members of said panel shall constitute a quorum for all public hearings.
SECTION 2. Clause (2) of paragraph (g) of said section 3 of said chapter 72 is hereby amended by inserting after the word "subsidy", in line 8, the words:- ; provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to exclude any unit from the jurisdiction of the board on the basis that the tenant, or tenants, of such unit receive subsidy from any governmental unit, agency, or authority under the guidelines set forth in the regulations of the relevant governmental unit, agency, or authority; and provided further, that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to exclude any unit from the jurisdiction of the board where such exclusion will result in the cancellation or withdrawal, by law, of any subsidy provided to the tenant, or tenants, of such unit by any governmental unit, agency, or authority.
SECTION 3. Section 5 of said chapter 72 is hereby amended by striking out paragraphs (d) and (e) and inserting in place thereof the following two paragraphs:-
(d) Every decision of the board shall be rendered within twenty-eight days of the close of the hearing. The decision shall be in writing, and parties to the proceedings shall be notified of the decision in person or by mail. A copy of the decision shall be filed with the town clerk.
(e) Any orders issued by the board shall remain in effect for a period of one year from the date of filing unless modified by the board. Orders shall be modified only upon a finding by the board of a significant change in circumstances or of new evidence which the petitioner could not have reasonably been expected to discover through reasonable diligence at the time of the hearing.