The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with George Ferdinand, 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: George Ferdinand Seat sought: Planning Board
1. Why do you want to serve on the Planning Board?
In my years here I have supported veterans housing, a new fire station, the new elementary school and Into Action Recovery, to name a few. But I also have opposed many projects that have fee in lieu of affordable units in them.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
Boston as a kid, Wilmington as a teenager. Patty, my better half, works at Family Medical Center in South Tewksbury. Following Local, State and Federal Issues, Reading, Watching Sports and monthly breakfasts with friends.
3. What is your education?
Graduated from Wilmington High School, attended both Northeastern and Wayne State University.
4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the Planning Board?
Retired Auto Worker from Chrysler Corporation. Had every Local Union position except President, VP or Chairperson of the Women’s Committee. They prepared me with problem solving, consensus building, and negotiation skills that are needed to be successful.
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)
Support revised Zoning Bylaws update. Don’t want to stay with what our town has, which has no structure and is very hard to understand. Want to be a guiding force of business building on Route 38, and oversee the Veteran’s project on Main Street. Last but not least, help homeowners cut through the red tape for their projects.
6. What are three issues related to the duties of the Planning Board you see in town, and how will you address them?
Well, it’s all about the proposals that come before the board, and I will treat each with respect and fairness. Also, with the utmost vigor to secure the most environmental inclusion and affordable units that I can.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team.
As an appointed member of the Visioning Committee in 2016, that will go with my answer to question ten. As a member of the Board of Health from 2016-2019. Upon being elected I spoke with the director about 3 priorities: grease trap compliance, response to residents’ calls and updating the regulations. By the end of my term the grease trap compliance was achieved with a three size option instead of the one size that Lowell sewerage wanted; saving many businesses money. I never heard from one resident that they didn’t receive a reply even if it was one that they didn’t agree with. In campaigning I heard of many complaints that went without a reply. Lastly, one new Regulation was adopted and five were updated for a total of thirty seven percent. That is huge in a three-year span.
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?
I would like the residents to know that I was the person who, after the Master Plan was updated in 2014, made the formal request in June of 2015 to the major parties involved in its inception and oversight. I didn’t support the first update on the basis of the fee in lieu of language. But with the residents further concerns being addressed, the committee made changes. It’s not a perfect document but one I support.
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 opposed the State Ballot Question but accepted the will of the people. In the same regard with the overwhelming support in the questionnaire the resident received. I will follow regulation compliance and not impose restrictions over and above the Mass. statute. Be it noted that I have always supported the research and development of marijuana businesses in our town.
10. How can the town strengthen the character, attractiveness and walkability of Tewksbuy’s Town Center and South Village areas?
By implementing the one hundred and six page document that the Visioning Committee and consultant JM Goldson put together. The priorities were all in order by the gathering (in many forms) of the residents’ input.
Sidewalks were number one and this is the first way to strengthen each area.
11. What is your stance on accepting fee in lieu of affordable units? In lieu of sidewalks?
I do not like fee in lieu of affordable units or in lieu of sidewalks but will abide by the will of the people at town meeting.
12. Describe how the Planning Board can help achieve the goals of the Master Plan?
To come to a thoughtful answer I would like to study a bit more and share the answer in the course of the campaign.
13. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
In the last four planning board elections there have been a total of four candidates. The voters of Tewksbury deserve a choice in this year’s planning board election. If you are looking for a candidate that is not a rubber stamp then I am that candidate. Vote George Ferdinand for Planning Board on Saturday April 2nd.