Dear Manchester Residents,
I am running for Planning Board and ask for your vote at the town election on May 18th.
My family chose to move here more than 20 years ago because of Manchester’s strong sense of place, walkable streets, and special character. I have come to care deeply about the town and would like to continue to use my experience to help to achieve its goals. We must thoughtfully address challenges that are evident in the recently proposed large-scale developments while finding the balance between growth and preserving our community’s unique character and valued assets.
I have served our community and have a strong track record of advancing productive dialogue and delivering results. As a member of the School Committee during the early years of regionalization, I helped to build a strong and lasting partnership with Essex. I chaired the MERSD Middle/High School building committee for more than eight years – overseeing that award-winning project that was completed on time and under budget. I am a realist about municipal budgets, planning board authority, and the role of the voting public in shaping strategic decisions for the town.
I have significant planning board experience. When we moved here, I filled a vacancy on the Manchester Planning Board for a year and a half before joining the School Committee. Previously, I was a member of the Newbury Planning Board for seven years and dealt with complex planning issues associated with rapid growth in residential subdivisions. I also chaired the Newbury Open Space Committee which succeeded in preserving several large parcels of land.
My professional work focuses on climate change action, energy, and sustainability. Currently, I am a Climate Strategist for the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance. Previously, I started campus sustainability programs at Tufts University and Endicott College. I serve on the board of the Essex County Greenbelt and I hold an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Civil Engineering from Tufts and a B.S. in Physics from Bates College.
In 2016 many town citizens participated in meetings to help develop a vision for Manchester’s future – that vision includes, in part, to manage growth and development, to honor the town’s authentic character, and to balance revenues. The process also prioritized diverse housing options, a strong local economy, walkable neighborhoods, a dynamic downtown, and an exceptional public school system. This lens provides guidance to the planning board’s ongoing work to update town bylaws. The vision helps to guide zoning that allows the development that we want—development at an appropriate scale, that preserves the town’s character, protects drinking water and the environment, is fiscally responsible, and helps citizens of all life stages. (See: Manchester-by-the-Sea Visioning for the Master Plan, December 2016, for reference.)
With my knowledge of zoning and planning, demonstrated municipal project leadership, strategy, and collaboration skills, I will be a strong addition to the Manchester Planning Board. I look forward to continuing my service to the great town of Manchester-by-the-Sea and appreciate your support.
Sarah Hammond Creighton