The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with James “Jim” Duffy, 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: James “Jim” Duffy Seat sought: Planning Board
1: Why do you want to serve on the Planning Board?
The short answer is I want to give back to the Town where I live and where my kids grew up and went to school.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
I grew up in Wilmington. My wife, Barbara, and I celebrated our 40th anniversary last year. I have three grown children and eight grandchildren. I like to golf, read and spend time with my family.
3. What is your education?
I am a Wilmington HS grad and I have several professional certifications and accreditations beyond that.
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 construction professional; a carpenter by trade. I am currently working part time as a Project Manager for a Boston Area General Contractor. Prior to my retirement, I worked as a Construction Superintendent. I believe my lifelong experience in all phases of preconstruction, permitting and construction management uniquely prepares me for the Tewksbury Planning Board
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 will diligently work with the Planning Board members and town residents to plan for the growth and development that best reflects the wishes of Tewksbury residents
6. What are three issues related to the duties of the Planning Board you see in town, and how will you address them?
1. To implement current zoning by-laws and/or new zoning by laws if they are approved at Town Meeting.
2. Always be sure that proposed projects are in the best interest of the town.
3. Work with project proponents to find ways to mitigate the impact of any development on the town.
I will engage with Professional Planning Board municipal organizations to stay current on education and best practices.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team.
I was a member of the Tewksbury Green Committee for six years, Chairman of that committee for two of those years. The Committee was able to bring articles to Town Meeting in order for Tewksbury to have access to grant funding as a “Green Community.” Tewksbury has to date received approximately $1.8 million dollars in grant funding and utility incentives that has been used for energy efficiency projects such as insulation, lighting replacements, fuel efficient vehicles, HVAC improvements and replacements.
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?
Based on current language, I support the passage of the new zoning by-law and I would support it at Town Meeting as well.
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?
I generally support retail marijuana sales.
10. How can the town strengthen the character, attractiveness and walkability of Tewksbuy’s Town Center and South Village areas?
Each year, Tewksbury residents request and receive funding for sidewalks around town. I encourage that process to continue. Community connectivity is and should be an important consideration going forward.
11. What is your stance on accepting fee in lieu of affordable units? In lieu of sidewalks?
There are instances where it makes sense to accept the fee. That being said, each proposal should be reviewed to see if there are opportunities for improvements to the Town and to provide affordable units. I would encourage residents to weigh in on any proposals.
12. Describe how the Planning Board can help achieve the goals of the Master Plan?
With input from residents, the Planning Board can review the nuts and bolts of any proposed plan and make recommendations.
13. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
I have many years of experience in small- and large-scale (residential and commercial) projects. I certainly know a good project from a bad one. I am a licensed Construction Supervisor, and I am also a LEED AP. I believe that builders have a unique ability and responsibility to build healthy, energy-efficient projects that benefit the occupants and the Town.
I also feel that it is important to be involved in my community to make it a better place for our children and grandchildren.