Elect Olney and Philbrick for MBTS Planning Board


To the Editor,

I urge you to vote on May 16 for Chris Olney and Susan Philbrick for the Planning Board.  The Board needs professionals to staff it.  People with knowledge of state laws and land use regulations.  

After all, the Planning Board's primary role is to administer laws.  Laws that could severely affect your property values.  The Board also makes recommendations about changes in the law, but the Board cannot vote them in.  Instead, that is the function of voters at our Town Meeting.  

The main function of the Planning Board is to administer land use related laws and, to do that competently, you need people with knowledge and experience in land use issues.

Chris Olney is an experienced planner who was instrumental in saving downtown Salem from developers and preserving its historic character.  Susan Philbrick is a lawyer who worked for the attorney general and understands how to make fair legal judgments.  The absolute main thing the Planning Board's does is to make decisions about specific land use applications that come before them.  Inexperienced people can make uninformed decisions that can cause people to lose a tremendous amount of property value or else force the town into expensive lawsuits.  If you wanted to divide your property in two halves and your family’s life savings were at stake, wouldn't you want people with knowledge of land use law to be the ones making that decision?

The situation is similar to the Finance Committee or the Board of Health where we need professionals from related fields to administer laws or suggest actions the town should take.  

Would you want someone with no experience in finance and debt service on the Finance Committee, or someone with no knowledge of public health issues or medicine to be on the Board of Health?  I think not.

Manchester matters to all of us.  It is OK to have friends in town, but when you vote, your vote is in private.  Make it count in the right way because one day you could be on the receiving end of the decisions the Planning Board makes.  We need experienced professionalism to govern us and that is why I ask you to vote for Chris Olney and Susan Philbrick on May 16.

Gary Gilbert


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