Concord Planning Board
Concord Public School and
CCHS Regional School Committees
CCHS Building Committee, Chair
Carlisle Planning Board
Carlisle Community Preservation Committee, Chair
I have always been interested in Town Planning and good stewardship of town resources and land. I have learned a lot during my participation of the Planning Boards of both Concord and Carlisle.
Serving on the School Committees during a period of contracting budgets under the newly enacted Prop. 2 1/2 was excellent experience in managing scarce resources.
I shepherded the 1992 renovation of the High School through the process from initial feasibility studies to completion. This gave me experience in negotiating with various Town Boards and Committees including Selectmen, Finance Committee members, Faculty and State Offices.
During my tenure on the Carlisle Planning Board, I actively promoted the adoption of the Community Preservation Act surcharge to ensure that Carlisle would have the tools it needed to fulfill its Master and Open Space Plans.
Things are not all black and white. The needs of children and their schools do not have to be in opposition to the needs of the elderly and their senior centers.
For example, Adult Education classes have been typically offered at night to accommodate working adults. Seniors, who perhaps do not want to go out in the evening for various reasons, often find themselves with lots of free time in the morning and afternoon. They have precious few options for classes that would offer the kind of stimulation and recreation they are seeking during the day. The Adult Education program has to scrounge for appropriate spaces for these classes to take place during school hours. Currently, they are using the conference rooms in the two Concord libraries, and the Thoreau Farm on Virginia Road. Parking is limited, and can be awkward and distant from the venue. The spaces are nice, but are too small for any “active” class such as yoga and tap dance which are often held in the Town House and in local church basements. Why can’t the Recreation Commission, Council on Aging and the School Committees work in cooperation to support a Community Center that would offer spaces for all ages and activities?
As Selectman, I would work to create opportunities for these three entities and indeed for all Town Boards and Committees to cooperatively find creative solutions to satisfy our town’s needs and desires without breaking the bank.
I stand for affordable housing on our own terms. When I was on the Concord Planning Board, I helped draft a comprehensive, inclusive zoning bylaw in Concord in collaboration with one of the selectmen in an effort to shape developments coming into town.
As a Carlisle Selectman, I would be prepared to work with the State to seek solutions to some of the problems that communities such as ours encounter in navigating the 40B Comprehensive Permit Projects.
In addition, I am a strong advocate for good master planning so that we are never taking decisions in the dark. It is important to know what all our goals are in advance so that we may steer our course no matter what situation may come up.
Certainly, it will be important to revisit our previous, and excellent, open space plan. In it, various parcels of land were identified and prioritized for acquisition should they become available. It made it possible to quickly make a decision and act when parcels such as the Benfield land came up.
The plan titled “Open Space and Recreation Plan” was produced in 2005 and included initiatives and goals for 5 years through 2010. It is now seven years later and we have not produced any new goals or significantly updated the plan. It is time to do so.
But Master Plans are not just about land use. Our last general plan, entitled “A Study Plan for the Town of Carlisle” is dated 1995. The Select Board should consider revisiting this study as well and plan for all Town functions. Things have changed, things are changing.
For example, in 1995 when the last plan was written, I do not think many people had even heard about the concept of Climate Change. Sustainability, likewise was not a buzzword. I believe we need to look at our old plan through the lens of our more up to date understanding.
Furthermore, in the last few years we have seen significant increases in traffic volume. The Greater Boston Area is increasing in population at a rapid rate. Carlisle is not protected by a sea wall and when the tide of population hits our shores, we should be prepared to accommodate and absorb the various demands which will come to us from all directions. A robust Master Plan will help us do that.
As Selectman, I would work toward producing a new Study Plan for the Town.
At the same time that I think it is necessary for us to update our vision, I am also a fierce defender of our Town Meeting form of government. We are extremely fortunate to live in a community where we can vote directly for our own taxes, programs and values. Nowhere else in our experience of government can we do that. I believe it is important for us to cling to this gift and to not abrogate our privilege. Each citizen in town has the right to come and represent him or herself. What greater freedom can be offered to anyone?
As Selectman, I would work hard to be a good steward of our scarce resources to ensure that we get as much value for our hard earned money as possible by following best practices and by trying to shelter those who might be on fixed incomes or who are in other straightened circumstances.