Southborough Candidate Statements – Planning Board – Alan Belniak

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Alan Belniak is running for a seat on The Southborough Planning Board. (Photo/submitted)

Please provide a brief biographical background on yourself. What should voters know about you?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from WPI, and a Technology-focused MBA from Babson College. My education and background are well-suited for a Planning Board position. Throughout my career, I’ve developed these skills:

  • Ability to quickly understand and clarify issues
  • Asking probing questions to tackle the real issue
  • Determine best paths to finding solutions
  • Identify necessary resources for problem resolution 
  • Using a creative thinking approach
  • Working collaboratively with cross-functional teams

I believe I’ve also honed three key character traits that define a strong work ethic:

  • Integrity – I will uphold the commitment I have made and will make to my supportive community, past and present.
  • Fairness – I will listen to understand issues, act responsibly, and execute collaboratively. 
  • Optimism – I love this town and think it has a great future. I want to help move Southborough forward while retaining the character that many of us chose as the reason to live here.

Why are you running?

I’ll offer a fresh perspective to the Planning Board. I have yet to serve on any elected board in the Town, and do not bring any preconceived notions or approaches with me.

I use a common-sense and practical approach when dealing with issues and problems, striving for timely and equitable solutions.

In my civil engineering career, I have worked with numerous municipal planning boards. Through this work, I have built a strong working knowledge of the Massachusetts municipal planning board role and process.

What specific skills/experience/expertise would you bring to your role?

  • I have an undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from WPI
  • I also earned an MBA with a focus on Technology Entrepreneurship from Babson College
  • I’m a registered Professional Engineer
  • I’ve led the authorship of the Transportation, Transit, and Circulation chapter of the 2008 Southborough Master Plan
  • I served on the Board of Directors for Southborough’s Extended Day Program
  • I currently serve as the Vice-Chair on Southborough’s Economic Development Committee
  • In my years of experience in the private engineering sector, and even today, I’ve interfaced with many panning boards, zoning boards of appeals, conservation commissions, and the like.

What do you see as three issue(s) facing Southborough?

  • The need for common and inclusive places for people to meet and gather and embrace the feeling of our community
  • The ability to leverage the great Route 9 corridor and its current zoning to increase the non-residential tax base, easing the financial burden for Southborough citizens
  • Increase the diversity in housing sizes, types, and shapes to better the chances for Southborough residents to ‘age in place’ – living in the same town for longer, despite changes in income due to retirement or other circumstances

How do you plan to address the issues identified facing Southborough?

  • Openly and transparently collaborate with the many boards and committees in town, soliciting the many voices, opinions, and expert views to make these spaces a reality (for example, the recently-passed Town Meeting article).
  • Explore new ways to re-shape and reposition Route 9 as an attractive place for business in Southborough, while striving to retain the neighborhood characteristics of non-Route 9 locations in Southborough.  
  • Partnering with others in town to see if there are options to smartly attract more businesses that can fit our community by modifying zoning to permit in-harmony land uses.
  • Examine our zoning bylaws to better understand existing and potential future options for residential lot and dwelling sizes, setbacks, and the like, to increase that diversity, yielding more options to existing and new homeowners alike.