Essex Planning Board Elections: Meet Bill French


To Essex Voters:

Greetings.  Last week I was contacted by The Cricket about running for Planning Board in Essex, wondering if I'd care to write something about myself.  Since you are reading this, you can see I agreed.   

My name is William French, however a lot of people know me as “Frenchie.”  I've lived in Essex for a little over 30 years with my wife Debbie, who many of you may know, she is the director of the T.H.O.P Burnham Library.  We have two grown daughters, Lydia and Hillary who loved growing up in Essex.  As for myself, I am a sole proprietor of an automobile repair shop, Frenchies Garage on Western Avenue where I have been maintaining and repairing Mercedes Benz, BMW and vintage automobiles for close to 35 years. 

I served my first term on the Planning Board as an appointed member by the Select board for two years, filling in for someone who moved.  This was something quite new to me, but I was eager to give back to a town that I live and work in.  Well, the learning curve was steep.  After my two-year term ended, I was excited about running for a five-year seat with the procedural knowledge and understanding I had gained.  Well, that was 10 years ago, and I hope to serve another five.

I am proud to have participated in some very interesting Planning Board projects with exceptional Planning Board members.  Conomo Point zoning districts, Library/Town Hall restoration and the Downtown Zoning District by-law (article 13) that will be presented at the upcoming Town Meeting May 15.  This by-law is the culmination of years of work and will be an excellent change for our core district.  I hope you will support it. 

The past year has been difficult due to Covid-19 for public meetings.  I participated remotely initially and now in person.  I am looking forward to having meetings where the Board members and the public are present.  It’s one of the aspects I enjoy about serving on this Board and serving the residents of Essex.

There are many duties that Planning Board performs that go largely unnoticed.  Building siting and construction permits, maintenance of our bylaws, and interaction with other boards and committees such as, Select board, Community Preservation Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and the Building Committee to name but a few.  The people I currently work with on Planning Board are a part of a diverse group that represent a variety of professions and views.  I am flattered to have their support in the upcoming election.  In closing, I am asking for your support so I can continue to serve and continue to work on challenges the town will be facing in the future.

Cheers, Bill …