Northborough – Northborough will be holding its Annual Town Election Monday May 12. Four candidates will be running for two spots on the Planning Board. Those candidates are Theresa Capobianco, Nancy Kellogg, Stephen Kurina and Amy Poretsky.
The Community Advocate has asked candidates to submit short biographies and answers to three questions.
Theresa Capobianco – I am married with two daughters in the Northborough Public Schools.? We moved to Northborough in December, 2006, in search of better schools and better living – and we found it.? I am an attorney, practicing with my Dad.? Our office is in Natick. ?I enjoy short and long course obstacle races, triathlons, sailing, and goofing off.
Nancy Kellogg – Nancy has lived in Northborough with her family for 22 years and is running for Planning Board because zoning and urban design have a critical impact on preserving property values and on the enjoyment of residents living in the town.? She has a background in finance that offers a valuable perspective for the Planning Board.?Nancy managed pension investments for National Grid and understands taxes, budgeting issues and the concerns surrounding real estate investments.? She has an MBA from Cornell University and a BA in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Stephen Kurina – ?is a Massachusetts native and a resident of Northborough for 14 years. He grew up in Wellesley and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a degree in political science.? He is a senior manager of a project and data analytics team at a local high tech firm.? He keeps bees locally and enjoys skiing, biking and spending time with his wife and six children.
Amy Poretsky – I graduated the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, cum laude, with a business degree, majoring in finance and 0perations management.? After graduation I worked at Raytheon and have since volunteered in many positions in the Northborough schools.? More importantly, I am a lifelong resident of Northborough where together with my husband, Scott, we are raising our three children. We have enjoyed raising our children in this wonderful community and have seen it evolve and grow through the years.
?What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?
?Capobianco – As an attorney, I am called upon to evaluate both sides of an issue in order to render appropriate advice. On the Planning Board, there are times when the applicants” wishes may conflict with the community's short and long terms goals. I have served three years on the Planning Board and have attempted to represent the interest of the community as zealously as possible while being fair to the developers.
?Kellogg – It is beneficial to have individuals on the Planning Board who possess a diversity of professional expertise.? The board presently has two attorneys, which is very beneficial for the Planning Board.? I bring a strong background in finance to the Planning Board and this should contribute to discussions surrounding tax, property values and budgeting issues.? We own our own home, but do not own any other properties in town, and I am not running out of any personal interest with respect to personal property other than our own home.
Kurina – I lead complex projects for a local technology firm. As part of my job, I need to understand difficult issues, develop ways to solve them and execute on those plans. As a long time resident, I understand the character of the town and will work hard to ensure our planning process brings in the community's viewpoints and is consistent with our character.
?Poretsky – I have been engaged with our community and with the Northborough Planning and Zoning Boards on several topics over the last few years; attending most planning and zoning board meetings.? Through this involvement I have researched and gained valuable knowledge about Northborough's Zoning Bylaws, as well as, Northborough's Community Development Plan and Master Plan. ??My personal involvement in local issues included: elimination of regulations that would have allowed installation of cell antennas/towers on and near our schools and neighborhoods; denial of the special permit for construction of a large commercial business on a residentially zoned parcel of land; providing input towards an appropriate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries bylaw; and furnishing comments concerning zoning regulations and approvals for potential developments in the downtown area.
If you could eliminate Proposition 2- ? would you?? Why or why not?
?Capobianco – I would not eliminate Proposition 2- ?.? The community is afforded the opportunity to vote in favor of, or against, any Proposition 2- ? article.? There are instances where the Proposition 2- ? article is absolutely necessary. Eliminating the opportunity for an override could detrimentally affect the community at large. Maintaining the right to vote on Proposition 2 -?? keeps the choice at the local level and provides for options when needed.
Kellogg – I would not eliminate Proposition 2 -1/2 because it serves as a control over the escalation of property taxes.? Northborough has passed Proposition 2-1/2 overrides when appropriate and this is a great method for achieving town-wide agreement on tax and budget issues.? The overrides force scrutiny and broad consideration of the expenditures.
Kurina – I would not eliminate Proposition 2- ?. The law has kept taxes under control, helping those least able to afford large increases. The provision has the flexibility?to address larger expense needs with the override, which is a healthy process that brings in the voice of the community.
Poretsky – Proposition 2 -? is an issue that would be would be taken up by Northborough residents through a vote at Town Meeting and would not be submitted to the Planning Board.
According to the town of Northborough website a planning board member reviews plans for subdivisions, common driveways, wireless communication facilities, and site plans; works with the Town Planner in accomplishing goals as set forth in the Master Plan, Community Development Plan, and Open Space & Recreation Plan; and maintains the Zoning Bylaw and Subdivision Rules & Regulations.
What do you think is the most significant problem facing your community? What do you think should be done short-term and long-term to change it?
Capobianco – Public participation and town government transparency are the most significant problems that I see in this community. Many development projects affect a large number of citizens, but very few come to the public meetings to weigh in. It is hard for a Planning Board member to fully know the community's position on such projects if citizens do not communicate their views. A better communication of all town board agendas for upcoming meetings, as well as more comprehensive meeting minutes, may help facilitate change and encourage the citizens to participate in the process.
Kellogg– It is not necessarily a problem, but as an issue, I believe the most serious concern for the community of Northborough is the education of its children.? Education underlies a prosperous society in general and has a direct impact on crime and poverty.? On a competitive/comparison basis with other communities, a strong school system can also have a strong impact on local property values.? However, it is not just the dollars spent on education that makes a difference; it is community involvement and the strength of the decision makers in the education hierarchy.
Kurina – We live in a beautiful community with great people.? From a planning perspective,?the downtown development is one of the biggest challenges.?We have key vacant properties and recent development in this area has not enhanced or kept with the character of the town.?We need to revisit the planning for this area to attract vibrant businesses that bring people downtown and to encourage property development that is consistent with the character of Northborough .
Poretsky – ?According to the Northborough Master Plan we are nearing “build out.” I have heard developers at recent meetings talk about “urbanization” but most residents I have spoken with would like to maintain Northborough's “small-town feel.” ?As a Planning Board member, I will seek to strike a balance between retaining Northborough's “small town, family friendly” character while also stimulating beneficial growth and respecting property ownership rights.? I will be an informed, open-minded, transparent and active member of the Planning Board who will strive to engage our community through improved communications with the residents of Northborough.