Tell us about yourself
My name is Maureen Brennan, and I am a lifelong resident of Marlborough. I am the daughter of Bob and Vangie Brennan who still live on Neil Street where I grew up. I attended the Marlborough Public Schools, received my undergraduate degree from Worcester State College, and my law degree from New England School of Law in Boston as a night student.
Presently I live on Bolton Street with my husband Keith and our ten-year old daughter, Nickole. I recently moved my law practice from Clinton to downtown Marlborough and my husband Keith has been operating a small business in Marlborough for nearly 30-years. Nickole is a 5th grade student at Jaworek Elementary School where she is thriving. As a small business owner and parent of a ten-year old attending our public schools, I am deeply vested in Marlborough and its success. I am committed to making our community the best it can be for the families, children and elderly residents who live here.
What are the biggest issues facing the city?
There are several major issues that need to be addressed going forward, such as downtown revitalization, our over-crowded school system, the need to build a new fire station in the west end of the city due to continued development in that area, the impact continued development has on our infrastructure and identify ways to effectively mitigate same, and the need to acquire and preserve open green space. As a City Councilor I would bring focus to these issues and identify the processes to address these issues keeping in focus that much work needs to be done to ensure the final results address Marlborough’s future needs as well as the needs of its residents.
As a city councilor, how would you approach issues regarding traffic, public safety and speeding?
I would collaborate with the members of the City’s Traffic Commission to discuss ways in which traffic, public safety and speeding can be effectively addressed and funded. Long term solutions should be the focal point, and research of available grants that fund these programs or projects should be a priority.
Do you think the city is on the right track in relation to residential and commercial development?
Marlborough sets its commercial tax rate much higher than its residential tax rate which is referred to as a split tax rate. This allows the city to shift the burden of taxes away from residential property owners to commercial property owners. This type of split taxation alleviates the burden that would otherwise be placed on residential taxpayers and is not possible without commercial growth within our city. While it is important to maintain a lower tax rate for residential taxpayers, continued emphasis has to be placed on balancing the needs of the city with the needs of its residents to ensure that continued development, both commercial and residential, occurs in a responsible way, and that the impact to our neighborhoods, schools, infrastructure and environment are competently addressed and mitigated to ensure long term success for Marlborough’s future.
A series of zoning changes were vetoed by Mayor Arthur Vigeant earlier this year. Now, there are proposed changes in the Village District’s zoning. How would these changes improve the district?
The proposed Marlborough Village District would include multi-family units, hotels and certain types of businesses and it’s my understanding that after the recent veto several changes have been proposed around median income, how mixed-use is defined, requiring special permits for hotels and mixed uses, affordable housing issues around number of units and how long will they be considered affordable, parking requirements, design standards, and removing the alternate site provision. Whether or not these changes would improve the Village District needs to be discussed further and I would want any changes to be mindful of what we are trying to accomplish downtown which is to reinvigorate our downtown so the residences and the hard-working business owners can a place to live and work and that these changes will be sustainable for the foreseeable future.
Currently, there are several vacancies on Main Street, in addition to the vacant lot next to Welly’s. As a councilor, how would you support downtown revitalization?
Having a vital downtown is important to the long-term success of every community, and Marlborough is no exception. I am very proud to say that I located my law office downtown because of the charm of downtown and its affordability. Downtown revitalization will be a key focal point during my tenure and should be for the City Council as a whole. Downtown revitalization strategies should include outreach and technical assistance in helping new businesses navigate the permit process, incentivize building owners to improve the appearance of their buildings, plan development, pursuit of funding sources through federal and state grants, and other agencies, redevelop underutilized or blighted commercial buildings, referring business owners to other sources of assistance, and create a downtown business organization responsible for raising funds to hold recreational events in the downtown area.
What skills and experience do you have to prepare you to be a member of the city council?
I am an attorney and have been practicing law for nearly 20 years. Throughout my years of practice, I have been effectively advocating for my clients and I want to extend that same advocacy for the residents of Ward Six and the City of Marlborough. As an attorney I am driven to tackle challenges and problems, especially in high-pressure situations. As such I bring a great source of energy to every project I tackle. Being a problem solver requires the ability to be a great listener, communicator and collaborator, and an ability to maintain focus on finding ways to timely achieve success in any given situation. I humbly hope to have the same opportunity to collaborate with the concerned residents of Ward Six and the City, as well as other members of the City Council, Department Heads, State and Federal officials, and other stakeholders of this great community.
These are the qualities I would bring to the City Council if I’m elected as the next Ward 6 Councilor.