Election 2016: Stephen Johnson, Planning Board Incumbent, Releases Candidate Statement
Mar 27, 2016 07:33AM
By Bill Gilman
Stephen Johnson, candidate for re-election to the Planning Board: Experience, Expertise and a Common Sense Approach:
Over that last six years, I have had the pleasure of serving on the Planning Board. During that time I have learned that nothing that the Board does happens because of any one person. Everything the Board does is made possible by what each member contributes to the Board. What I believe I bring to the Board is experience, expertise, and a common sense approach to decision making.
I have over 13 years of experience as an attorney focusing in the areas of zoning, land use, development, real estate and business. Added to that, my six years on the Planning Board, the last year as Chairman. I am also the Board’s representative to the Economic Development Committee and the Town Center Master Plan Committee.
I know that not every Board decision is easy or popular with everyone. That is the nature of decision making. You must weigh all the options and try to reach a decision that is in the best interest of the Town. I have tried to combine my knowledge as an attorney, along with my experience on the Board, to make decisions that are within the framework of the Town’s By-laws and with a common sense approach to reaching decisions that are always in the best interest of Tewksbury. If I am re-elected to the Board, I will continue to bring this balanced approach to every decision I make, and ensure that both the short and long term best interests of Tewksbury are always the primary and overriding basis for all my decisions.
The Board has made many important decisions over the past several years that I believe have had positive effects on the town. The Board has passed by-laws that implement building design standards, increased landscaping requirements and encourage the preservation of open space. Several Board decisions were specifically highlighted as part of the basis for Standard & Poor’s decision to upgrade Tewksbury’s GO Bond Rating to AA+ this past November. Board decisions have also helped produce economic development in the Town by make it possible for new businesses to come to Tewksbury, such as Wamesit Lanes, Merrimack Valley Pavilion, Children of America, and Thermo Fisher Scientific, to name a few. The Board is also nearing completion of a new Master Plan for the town that should be unveiled soon and take us through the next decade.
There are many more important decisions on the horizon that will continue to shape Tewksbury in the future. The likely complete overhaul and rewriting of the town Zoning By-laws, the potential for one or two new elementary schools and what should happen to the sites of the closed schools, the future of the Town Center, a new central fire station, and the efforts of the town to meet its affordable housing goals. The Planning Board will likely play a vital part in each of these important matters.
Tewksbury deserves to have dedicated people, who have the experience, expertise, and a common sense approach to address these important issues. I believe that I am one of those people and for that reason I am confident that I am the best candidate to serve on the Planning Board. I ask for your support and more importantly for your vote on April 2nd.