The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with Cody Smith, 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: Cody Smith Seat sought: Planning Board
1. Why do you want to serve on the Planning Board?
I have been looking for a way to give back to my town, and the Planning Board is an area I think I can help out in given my background as an electrician. When the term was reduced from five years to a more manageable three year term, I decided it was something I could commit to.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
I was born and raised in Tewksbury, where I spent the majority of my life. I moved to Quincy for a few years with my girlfriend before moving back to Tewksbury and buying a home. It was my time in Quincy that made me miss Tewksbury and was a deciding factor for me to buy a house here.
3. What is your education?
I went to Tewksbury public schools through high school and then went on to a four-year trade school where I became a licensed electrician.
4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the Planning Board?
I’m a licensed electrician. Being an electrician, I have been around construction and the permitting process for well over 10 years. This allows me to understand the inner workings of most job sites and what is involved start to finish.
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 don’t have any specific goals other than doing the best job I can, ensuring the rules are applied equally, and looking out for Tewksbury.
6. What are three issues related to the duties of the Planning Board you see in town, and how will you address them?
There are many duties of the planning board, some I am more familiar with than others. I think the most important are working with applicants and making sure the various rules and regulations are followed.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team.
I started working in high school, and was never really involved with any notable groups in town. Now that I have established my career and bought a home in town, I am looking to get more involved.
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 am supportive of the proposed zoning bylaw, mostly around being more aligned with the state building code and changes to fee in lieu of. If elected, I would speak in support of it, but would defer to those who were closer to it over the past five years that it has been under development.
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, I do support retail marijuana. I don’t think I would impose any additional restrictions compared to what the state has in place, but this is an area that I am working to understand more about.
10. How can the town strengthen the character, attractiveness and walkability of Tewksbuy’s Town Center and South Village areas?
I think the reuse of the North and Trahan schools will be a very important opportunity to strengthen the Town Center and South Village areas. I look forward to seeing what the Reuse Committee comes up with.
11. What is your stance on accepting fee in lieu of affordable units? In lieu of sidewalks?
In general I am against fee in lieu of affordable units or sidewalks, but I am also a realist and understand that there are sometimes reasons to take items on a case by case basis. It is my understanding that when the state updates our housing numbers we will be below the required percentage of affordable units. As long as we are under the required number I don’t believe we should allow for fee in lieu for multifamily developments.
12. Describe how the Planning Board can help achieve the goals of the Master Plan?
I think the planning board can help achieve the goals of the master plan by ensuring sidewalks are included whenever it makes sense.
13. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
I know this is a tough job, but like with many areas in government, I think new people and perspectives is a good thing, and I believe I can help out. I have been reading up on the codes and bylaws that I am less familiar with, and I have reached out to town planner Alex Louder, who was nice enough to point me to some of the additional resources that are available.
If I had to say something to the residents to encourage them to vote for me, I would say that I am a diligent and hardworking individual born and raised in Tewksbury who believes in being informed and educated before making decisions, and most importantly, if I don’t know something I go find the answer.
Please vote Cody Smith for Planning Board on April 2nd.