The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with incumbent Jay Delaney, one of four candidates vying for one seat on the Planning Board. See other profiles as well as letters from and about candidates here.
All candidates running in Tewksbury were invited to respond, and we appreciate those who took the time to help the Carnation inform voters.
Name: Jay Delaney Seat sought: Planning Board
1. Why do you want to serve on the Planning Board?
After serving five years on the Board, I would like to continue for another term to help mold the Town into a thriving community, encourage open space, recreation amenities and realize the vision of the adopted Master Plan. There is a learning curve being a Board member, I feel that I am in a better position to help the community, especially after working with the Bylaw Committee for five years.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
I was born in Medford and moved to Tewksbury in 1954. I enjoy spending time with family and friends. In my younger days it was skiing and tennis but now I enjoy playing golf with friends and my wife Corinne.
3. What is your education?
Graduate of Tewksbury High School in 1963, attended Wentworth Ins., University Mass Lowell and Local 103 Union Electrical School.
4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the Planning Board?
I am a retired union electrician and electrical contractor with over 50 years in the industry. That coupled with my experience as a Board member since 2017 makes me the most qualified candidate.
5. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next three years? What is your platform? (feel free to include a link to your website or Facebook page)
I think the word accomplishment is a bit misleading. The Planning Board reviews applications, listeners to abutters’ concerns and makes decisions based upon the Bylaws of the Town and other regulatory authorities. Often we can persuade applicants to do more than what is required but must follow the appropriate laws. Having said that, I would like to work toward helping get more senior housing, affordable housing and preservation of Open Space.
6. What are three issues related to the duties of the Planning Board you see in town, and how will you address them?
First will be assisting residents navigate through the proposed Zoning Bylaw changes, should that pass at Town Meeting. Second, promoting economic development throughout the Town to help lower the burden on residential taxes. Third would be to come up with innovative ideas to encourage and preserve open space and recreation.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team.
I have served as the liaison to the Community Preservation Committee and the North Middlesex Council of Government.
8. Given what you know about the new zoning bylaw that the Zoning Bylaw Committee is working on, do you support its passage, and if elected, will you speak to that support at Town Meeting?
Yes, I believe strongly in the proposed Bylaw. The current Bylaw is antiquated and has many conflicting sections. The proposed Bylaw puts stronger limits on density, promotes open space, perpetual landscaping and screening, beautification standards and other items that will enhance the look of the Town for years to come.
9. Do you support retail marijuana sales in Tewksbury? If not, why not, and if so, would you impose any restrictions over and above the Massachusetts statute?
Yes, and I would encourage public input as to what are reasonable restrictions.
10. How can the town strengthen the character, attractiveness and walkability of Tewksbury’s Town Center and South Village areas?
As I mentioned in the last question, there are significant changes in the Proposed Bylaw that address both of those districts. Since they are the most congested sections of Town, making those areas look more like what is envisioned in the Master Plan will be challenging and exciting at the same time.
11. What is your stance on accepting fee in lieu of affordable units? In lieu of sidewalks?
As a member of the Board we are encouraging adoption of the proposed Bylaw that puts restrictions on fee in lieu for projects if the Town is below its affordable unit count. We also made modifications to sidewalk fee in lieu program to mirror the Town’s DPW requirements. It is important to have sidewalks in many areas of Town that promote pedestrian travel. Recently I fought hard to have sidewalks installed next to Housing Authority property.
12. Describe how the Planning Board can help achieve the goals of the Master Plan?
The Master Plan is a vision that does not always align with the wishes of property owners. Working cooperatively with a project proponent, you often can get them to capitulate to what is best for all.
13. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
I have lived in Tewksbury for 66 years and have seen its growth firsthand. My mother, Mary Delaney, was one of the founding members of the Housing Authority, where she taught me the value of giving back to and helping the community. It has been very rewarding especially when you have input that makes a project better than what was originally proposed. My entire family lives in Tewksbury and I want to do my part to make sure they continue to be proud to be “In the Berry.”