May 21 Election for Planning Board
There are 4 Planning Board positions open for election this year.
There is one - One year seat, one - Two year seat, and two - Three year seats.
All of those seats are contested.
All Candidates have been asked to submit a "Candidate Profile" to the Beacon.
These profiles will be posted to the Beacon Website and printed in the Beacon print version as well.
We will post them here as they become available.
On May 9th a Candidates Forum was held.
You can view the full video here: Forum Video.mpg
Or, you can view just the closing statements here: Closing Statements.mpg
Candidates for One Year Position: Pick One
Cindy Markowitz, candidate for Boxborough Planning Board
As a 27-year resident of Boxborough, I have been privileged to raise my family in a town that has maintained its rural feel despite the increased suburbanization of this area. As a member of the Planning Board, I will bring my 30+ years of experience as a professional environmental consultant to address changes in our zoning bylaws to help stimulate economic growth, while protecting the character of the town. While economic pressures and limited available land push towns toward more commercial and housing development, I want to ensure that new development and re-development of existing properties is done with intention. Careful planning and zoning should result in desired development that benefits the town as a whole. By using the appropriate zoning tools and well-crafted zoning bylaw changes, we can stimulate the kind of development that meets the needs of commercial entities, while protecting our environment and the health and safety of our residents.
Three of the most pressing issues facing Boxborough are:
Tim Rudolph, candidate for Boxborough Planning Board
I love Boxborough. This is a special town. I care about all the residents of Boxborough, including fixed income families today and a future where my daughters and the next generation can possibly live here. We can shape that future.
I first volunteered on Town Government Study Committee in 1998 and was elected as a Selectman to champion those reforms. I formed the Town Center Visioning Committee, including 15 land use/resource boards representatives and dedicated at-large members. I started and served on the Design Review Board for many years.
I was called back, literally, for the Boxborough 2030 Master Plan defined Economic Development Committee, established to address the emergency of declining non-residential tax revenue and also our unfriendliness to businesses, large and small. I also returned to the Design Review Board to provide important feedback on Town Center impacts. Facts, principles, and action are important.
The Planning Board addresses many projects which cannot be addressed arbitrarily based on feelings. An approach to go slow, change nothing and then be surprised with unfortunate outcomes (many of which had decades to be fixed) is reactionary and unproductive. Zoning can proactively address impacts and benefits. The rights of landowners can be respected, and they must be good accountable partners recognizing needed safeguards (e.g., large setbacks from residences and protection of natural resources) while increasing the non-residential tax revenue.
Increased dialogue must be inclusive (like our town visioning). Affordable expertise can help (like with UMass 20 years ago). People can ignore my years and hundreds of hours spent to protect the character of the town, but we still must do better than doing nothing. We can protect character, protect residents and be “forward thinking.” THAT is what the Planning in Planning Board is all about.
Facts. Principles. Action.
Candidates for Two Year Position: Pick One
Rebecca Verner, candidate for Boxborough Planning Board
My family moved to Boxborough in 2008 because it was important to me to raise my children in a rural community, with open space, abundant natural resources, and a good school system. With over twenty years practicing as a Landscape Architect on projects around the world, I still feel fortunate to call Boxborough home.
My professional experience includes working with a variety of jurisdictions and town agencies on projects that include downtown redevelopments, institutional landscapes, and environmental restorations. Specialize in site planning, I understand the complex development challenges and opportunities currently facing Boxborough.
Responsible, healthy growth, requires due diligence and a well-informed process. Every site is unique, and shortcutting the process can cause irrevocable harm to the community, and the environment. Information gathering, combined with an in-depth understanding of existing conditions and zoning parameters, is required to determine project feasibility – and predict success. With proper planning, and with a vision of long-term sustainability, a community can be economically, environmentally, functionally and aesthetically enhanced.
As Boxborough contemplates growth and development opportunities, our most pressing challenges are centered around how best to revitalize unused office space and allow for additional infrastructure improvements, while protecting the environmental assets that enhance our rural community.
I want to be more active and more meaningfully involved in our community, and this is why I would like to be considered as a candidate for the Boxborough Planning Board. With my knowledge and experience, I can encourage appropriate land use, guide informed decisions that benefit our citizens, and safeguard our natural resources for the enjoyment of future generations.
Candidates for Three Year Position: Pick Two
Mark Barbadoro, candidate for Boxborough planning board
I began my career as a residential builder in and around Acton and Boxborough, which is also where I grew up. Following my 20 years in construction, I qualified as a Building Commissioner, and have worked in municipal government ever since. My first position was in Acton, from there to Martha’s Vineyard (Oak Bluffs and Aquinnah), and for the last two years as Building Commissioner in Fitchburg.
The reason I would like to serve on the Planning Board is that I have seen the best - and the worst - that development can bring. Boxborough’s immediate development concerns are how best to repurpose the empty office buildings in town, and utilize the undeveloped land at 700 – 800 Mass. Ave. We need to balance both challenges with protecting our water resource (a vital necessity), and preserving open space for the future.
My experience working for communities with diverse characteristics and needs has given me the knowledge to help Boxborough grow through responsible development. With thoughtful planning, and by implementing the right codes, we can shape future development to be in harmony with the rural nature of the town.
My wife and I moved to Boxborough 15 years ago because we loved its rural feel, the open space, and wildlife, as well as the small-town community. I want to see our town develop at a measured pace; one that allows for affordable housing and retail, without damaging the town’s character.
With planning, you get one chance to get it right – and I want Boxborough to be a healthy, thriving community, where future generations will love to live - as I do.
Abby Reip, candidate for Boxborough Planning Board
I am energized by helping others, and I feel very committed to serving Boxborough citizens which is why I am running for a second term for Planning Board. I have a deep resume of volunteer efforts dating back 20 years: I have been a literacy volunteer; screened and reference-checked applicants for cat shelters; knocked doors for political campaigns; held leadership roles and ran fund-raising activities for the Blanchard Band and ABRHS Band. In Boxborough, I have served on the Recreation Commission, Energy Committee, Town Meeting Study Committee, and the Complete Streets Committee. I am currently serving as the Planning Board Chair, and I represent the Planning Board on the Community Preservation Committee and the Boxborough Building Committee.
I am not running because of a personal agenda or because I think I know everything about zoning or site plan approval; I have learned on the job and have realized that the most important qualification for serving on the Planning Board, or any other elected or volunteer position in Town, is the willingness to learn and to listen to others.
Boxborough’s issues are not unique. While our FinCom and Select Board have done a remarkable job holding the line on property taxes, we need to take a long view on how we will sustain our fiscal health and quality of life. The Planning Board’s role in helping the Town must be proactive, not reactive; the Board must look at the current zoning bylaw and explore ways to update the use tables to embrace the need for affordable housing and 21st-century businesses.
My hope for Boxborough is that citizens will work with town boards to solve problems with civility and kindness, something that has been sorely lacking in the recent discourse.
Nathaniel Stuntz, candidate for Boxborough Planning Board
I am running for a 3-year seat on the Boxborough Planning Board. I am currently an appointed member of the Board and am looking to continue my service. In the 12-plus years I have lived in Boxborough, I have served on numerous other boards and committees. I have always truly enjoyed working with all the wonderful people in town to further our shared goals. On the Planning Board I have learned a lot and truly enjoy working with all the different people in town to get the best outcome on the issues before the board.
I see the Planning Board as having two distinct roles.
The first is to apply the zoning as set forth by Town Meeting to any development in town. I do my best to apply the rules as they are written and intended for any proposal before the Board. I believe that collaboration between the Board, residents of the town, and the landowner is the best way to get consensus and intentional growth for the town.
The second role the Board has is to guide any zoning changes through inception, refinement, and approval. This requires a board that can work and listen extensively to many different needs of the town from the desire for open space and the concern about burdensome taxes, for the needs of the town to the traffic issues. This needs a board with members who are consensus-driven to help guide the processes.
In the past four months on the Planning Board, I have learned a great deal about site plan approval and special permits. While I don’t know it all, I look forward to using this knowledge and learning more to make Boxborough a wonderful place to live and raise children now and well into the future.
Mark White, candidate for Boxborough Planning Board
I am running for Planning Board because Boxborough is at a crossroads, and I am concerned for our future. Our Master Plan values rural character, protecting landscape and environment, maintaining quality public services and schools.
Yet we almost passed zoning changes that would have brought over a million square feet of warehousing to Boxborough with little consideration of the impacts. Many people had no idea this was even taking place. I cannot reconcile this with the Master Plan.
Office parks are emptying and revenues are down - but we should explore the possibilities before we make a decision.
I am a 47-year resident, a Boxborough business owner, a licensed contractor, have served on the Finance Committee, Select Board, Economic Development Committee, and currently, the Zoning Board of Appeals. I understand how town government works, and doesn’t. If elected to the Planning Board, I will use my experience to help update and better align our bylaws to meet our community’s goals. I would work to create a more open and fair zoning process; one that solicits input, is respectful to each person involved, and that seeks growth that will maintain our Town’s character.
Boxborough is a great place to live. For the record, I am not anti or pro-development,
I am pro-Boxborough.
If elected, I will work hard to keep this A Rural, Engaged Community for All.