Southborough Candidate Statements – Planning Board – Debbie DeMuria

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

I have lived in Southborough for over 25 years with my husband and have two children. I am deeply rooted in the community, have hands-on experience in town government, and will work to keep Southborough’s historic character, scenic beauty, and sense of community, while also encouraging responsible development and increased business opportunities. I have served on Southborough boards since 2005, starting with the Recycling & Green Technology Committee (2005-2010). For the last 6 years I have served on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), where I have dealt with many complex matters including hearing appeals for zoning relief and providing input into zoning code changes. Additionally, I currently serve on the Master Plan Committee, which has developed goals for achieving the residents’ vision for the town for the next decade. As a Planning Board member, I will be in a position to continue this momentum and get started on implementation. 

Why are you running?

I am running for Planning Board to ensure that Southborough’s character is maintained through responsible development – both residential and commercial. I believe in a transparent process that allows for public input and is balanced between protecting the rights of the residents while encouraging the growth of new businesses. I have a true passion for Southborough, the preservation of neighborhoods, and fostering new businesses that are harmonious with our community’s vision. I have a particular focus on climate change and sustainability and will promote the adoption of electric vehicle charging stations and solar into design guidelines. I’ll continue to work with boards and committees to identify paths to efficiency, transparency, and fiscal responsibility. I will bring an objective, independent voice to the Planning Board and will address each issue based on the facts before me without pre-conceived biases. My experience, dedication, ability, and vision have prepared me to serve on Southborough’s Planning Board.

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

Through my six years on the ZBA I have developed a firm grasp of zoning code and how it can be used safely and effectively. While on the ZBA I ensured that all bylaws were adhered to yet looked for flexibility in the most challenging situations. On the Planning Board, I will ensure any new zoning bylaws will protect the neighborhoods, as well as promote health, safety, convenience, and welfare of residents. I am approachable, accessible, and want the public’s voice to be heard. I am committed to upholding the bylaws and will work to ensure a better Southborough.

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

For Southborough to attain long-term sustainability in response to climate change, we must work towards increased energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction. As a Planning Board member, I will work to promote electric vehicle charging stations and solar into design guidelines and promote an environmental action plan.

  • Southborough can retain the unique characteristics of the town with affordable housing. While on the Planning Board I will work to ensure any new residential development includes affordable housing opportunities.
  • Southborough boards and committees must work together on established objectives to preserve Southborough’s unique nature. The Planning Board will be facilitating collaboration with other boards and committees to ensure implementation of the Master Plan.

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

As a Planning Board member, I plan to preserve the historic character of Southborough through thoughtful new development while maintaining open space and recreation. I also plan to:

  • Formulate a Climate Action Plan
  • Ensure public transparency and oversight of town government 
  • Repurpose vacant buildings and encourage small businesses
  • Preserve our stone walls and public trees
  • Work to increase affordable housing opportunities

I have always been an independent voice and my actions will always be focused on what’s best for Southborough. It’s my goal to protect the neighborhoods and ensure their character and charm are preserved today and for the future. There is a lot at stake with this election, and I urge everyone to vote on May 10th!