Northborough candidate profiles: Kerri Martinek – Planning Board

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Northborough candidate profiles: Kerri Martinek – Planning Board
Kerri Martinek is running for re-election to the Planning Board. (Submitted photo)

NORTHBOROUGH – Northborough is gearing up for its 2021 municipal elections on May 11. As voters get set to head to the polls, the Community Advocate has zeroed in on contested races for prominent bodies like Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, and School Committee.

The Community Advocate reached out to candidates who filed paperwork to appear on their town’s ballot and asked them to submit a personal statement as well as answers to three specific questions.

See those biographies and read extended questions and answers from Northborough Planning Board Candidate Kerri Martinek here…

See complete statements from other candidates…

PERSONAL BIO

I’m running for re-election to the Planning Board because I love this job and our town. I don’t make money in real estate or development-related business. I do this because I want Northborough to be a place where people want to raise their families, start a business, or age in place and enjoy retirement. Since 2018, I have taken the time to research issues, study impact, listen to residents of all ages, attend trainings on planning best practices, collaborate with regional planning experts, and seek out funding for solutions. You can find my platform and priorities at https://www.facebook.com/ElectMartinekZitonNboroPB.

QUESTIONS

What do you see as the most important issue facing Northborough today?

Because of our proximity to major roadways, our small town has been forced into the big shoes of a trucking and distribution epicenter, and we are tripping over our feet. This issue has spilled over into impacting the safety and enjoyment of our neighborhoods and downtown. Residents have not been fairly served by what has been open-ended growth and development at all costs. As an example, in 2015 under the previous Chair, the Planning Board approved nearly 700,000 square feet of warehouses in one night (May 19, 2015 Decision, filed with the Town Clerk). No tenant declared, no conditions of having to come back and prove impact, no ask for sidewalks, no ask for additional green space or solar. Simply a blank check to build a warehouse anytime. Those warehouses today are the Amazon warehouses. We can’t afford to repeat history if we hope to fix what’s already been done.

What will you bring to the Planning Board if elected?

If re-elected, I bring the continuation of positive momentum since 2018. Growth doesn’t have to be at the cost of our environmental, health, and safety protections. Over the last few years, the board has increased our level of scrutiny to carefully evaluate true impact on neighborhoods, environment, traffic, and safety. Projects must adhere to bylaws, and the benefits must outweigh the negative impacts. I also bring the continuation of creating bylaws that protect neighborhoods that have been hit hard, such as areas abutting industrial districts. Finally, I bring continuation of involvement in the Master Plan. I was on the front lines for the duration of the approval process and am now in the pole position to get started on implementation. I also have a connection to our regional planning resources that has enabled us to start pursuing actionable traffic and safety solutions, and funding. Momentum keeps our town moving forward!

Is there anything else you want voters to know about you as a candidate? 

“Residents have expertise and expertise has value.” That is my mantra. I see many instances where residents want to get involved and are not taken seriously as legitimate stakeholders. Or they call in to public meetings and quickly ushered away without feeling heard. The first day I was elected Planning Board Chair after the previous chair unexpectedly resigned, I held up the org chart from the town charter and reminded everyone that voters are at the top. As elected members of the Planning Board, we’re here to uphold the bylaws and represent the people who live here. That includes people of all ages, races, and abilities. You will always find me take that to heart. I’m accessible, accountable, and committed. You can find out more about me, my platform and priorities, my track record, and Q&A videos on the Committee to Re-Elect Martinek and Ziton Facebook page or website.