Election 2018 Q and A: Planning Board Candidates Reveal What They Would Like To See More Of, Or Less Of, In Tewksbury
Apr 06, 2018 01:49AM
● By Bill Gilman
We will publish the questions individually, along with the answers provided by all three candidates, so that voters can compare them. Our goal is to provide voters with as much information as possible to help them make an informed decision.
Question 4Is there a specific category of development you would like to see more of, or less of, and how would you use your position on the Planning Board to try and make that happen?
In reading through the housing production plan there is growth in the senior sector of the population. I know the couple that sold to us moved out of state but found their way back to Tewksbury. I know fixed incomes have not increased with cost of living and taxes and people who have lived their lives in Tewksbury have had to move. Affordable Senior Housing would allow people to remain close to their family, friends and support systems. First I would use my position make sure to gain support from the other members of the Planning Board and then I would reach out for advice from both the Council on Aging and the Housing Partnership to put together a framework that could be presented to the Board of Selectmen.
I would like to see the renovations and occupancy of vacant retail along route 38 before new construction is performed. Finding incentives to attract small-privately owned business should be explored. If large chain companies are interested in developing in Tewksbury, adequate parking and traffic need to be a priority. In addition, promoting safe pedestrian access should continue to be addressed. Tewksbury goes above and beyond with creating opportunities for youth organized sports. However, through my discussion with residents, a concern has been raised to create more low-cost opportunities and activities. A potential solution would be to establish a Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
I personally would like to see more commercial development to ease the burden of the residential tax payer and to give more opportunities for those living in town to patron and spend their money locally rather than to travel outside the town to do so. We do not need anymore apartments or large residential complexes. The Planning Board’s responsibility is for reviewing proposed development projects and making decisions on them in accordance with state statutes and local bylaws and regulations. We are to act on what is in the best interest of the town by thoroughly researching every proposed project, collaborating with town departments and weighing heavily the concerns of impacted residents. However, there is a misconception that the Plannimg Board’s role is to solicit and attract new development such as new businesses to Route 38. This is not the case. That is the function of the Community Development Department and not the Planning Board.