I was honored to be nominated by town caucus for the Planning Board's three-year term. I previously served on the PB from 2005-2012. During that time, we were able to build a record of accomplishment that benefited the town as a whole and with your support, I look forward to serving on the Planning Board again.
In the two years I served as chair, we passed zoning bylaws that enabled Harvard to become a Green Community, providing the required framework for the town to apply for and secure $140,000 in grant money in the first year alone. Working with the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, we passed a bylaw to permit accessory apartments that expanded our affordable housing stock in a very low-impact way that will benefit residents and the town's bottom line for years to come. In parallel to a Devens Economic Analysis Team review, the Planning Board conducted a thorough impact analysis of the redevelopment proposal for Vicksburg Square and recommended the town vote against it, which it did, avoiding costly budget increases and other impacts. We also worked collaboratively with the Economic Development Committee to permit an increase in the size of signs in the commercial district, allowing greater visibility for business owners while preserving town character.
I care deeply about Harvard and am concerned about the many planning challenges it faces, including shepherding economic development along Ayer Road that broadens the tax base and generates much needed revenue but also mitigates the potential impact development could have on safety, traffic, and pollution (light, air and noise) on surrounding neighborhoods and throughout Harvard. The Planning Board must also engage the community to complete and implement the town's Master Plan, a vital planning tool that will provide the blueprint for the town's growth over the next decade.
I believe my experience, institutional knowledge and record of working cooperatively with other town boards will enable the Planning Board and the town to successfully meet these and other challenges together. I respectfully ask for your vote on April 30. Thank you.