Gerry’s League of Women Voters Interview

If you could achieve one major improvement for our town, what would it be and how would you accomplish it?

I would like to see the long abandoned former Big M site in our hamlet developed with a service (food store, coffee shop, deli, etc) that will benefit our residents.

This site is privately owned. Development may be possible if the present owner can be convinced that his participation would be of benefit to him and a great value to our town. I would appoint a citizens group and also include the property owner to brainstorm for possible solutions to try to make development a reality.

What are your views on housing issues such as affordable housing, code enforcement, and zoning?

Our population is aging. Younger people do not settle here. We do not have a sufficient stock of affordable housing to accommodate either group. Taxes must be kept in control to prevent the further escalation of cost to reside here.

Zoning codes were established years ago to maintain and preserve the quality of all property. Reasonable code enforcement efforts must be practiced to ensure that all property owners find property value maintenance and comfort in their neighborhoods.

Our forefathers established our town as a rural residential community many years ago. That has served us well for the most part. As we progress into the future we may need to look at the overall Master Plan to determine if adjustments will be of benefit

How would you balance the promotion of development in our town with protection of the environment?

Preservation of our natural environment will escalate as global warming concerns continue to surface. Smart growth development must be integrated with any residential, commercial and industrial development. Individuals who can commit to both economic development and maintain environmental standards will be of great value as members of our planning, zoning and conservation boards. Continuous monitoring of best practice actions by other communities will be paramount as we grow in the future.

What other issues do you think are important to residents and how will you address those issues?

We do not have a good record for inclusion of all. We do not have a good record for transparency. We do not have a good record for communicating. We need to listen to all stakeholders. We need to commit to two way communications with all residents. We need to involve any and all residents in our planning and decision making processes. We need to develop and maintain a welcoming and non-threatening atmosphere in our facilities and our meetings. This town belongs to it’s residents. They will be invited to participate.

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