Issues

What Is Planning Board?

At its most basic, the role of the planning board is to plan for Milford’s future. This includes long-term planning (such as crafting the town’s comprehensive plan and writing zoning bylaws to determine which types of development are allowed in which parts of town) as well as short-term planning (such as approving site plans and special permits for new development). Because the planning board touches on so many facets of life in Milford, it’s vital for the board to have strong working relationships with the select board and town administrator; our downtown revitalization committee and industrial development commission (to strengthen our economic development); our highway department (for initiatives like traffic control, public transportation, and the current Complete Streets Project); and the conservation commission and parks commission (to ensure access to our town’s open space).

The Environment

The planning board frequently works to protect our town’s natural resources — in 2019, they opposed the select board’s effort to sell town-owned parcels in a groundwater protection zone, and in 2020, they backed conservation commission efforts to protect additional parcels. But we can and should do more. If elected, I will work to make Milford a Designated Green Community, saving us money on municipal energy costs and making us eligible for state funding to pursue additional renewable energy projects.

Economic Development

The planning board in any town is an important driver of economic development, from determining what types of businesses can go where to setting the number of parking spaces stores must have. Here in Milford, there are a number of other groups interested in economic development, especially in our historic downtown core. If elected, I will work with the downtown revitalization committee to explore mixed-use buildings, outdoor seating, public art projects, and other improvements that will make our downtown an enjoyable destination for all stakeholders -- landlords, tenants, residents, and visitors.

Affordable Housing

State law requires that 10 percent of a town’s housing stock be considered “affordable.” According to the state’s definition, Milford is several hundred units short of this goal. As a result, we have seen a number of large, “unfriendly” developments proposed that would stress our already limited infrastructure and water supply, and further reduce the town’s limited inventory of undeveloped industrial land. At the same time, there is a real need for affordable housing options for our seniors and young families looking to put down roots. That’s why, if elected, I will take proactive steps (such as developing a housing production plan) to meet the state requirements in a way that works for Milford.

Traffic

In the runup to the 2003 comprehensive plan, more residents commented on traffic and congestion than any other issue. Since that time, additional residential and commercial development has only made matters worse. And while projects are currently underway to address some of the “hot spots” identified in the comprehensive plan, a number remain unaddressed. But these improvements are vital not only for the convenience of drivers but also to protect our town’s air quality. That’s why if elected, I will advocate for improvements to our overburdened intersections. I will also work with the highway department to assist their Complete Streets and public transportation initiatives -- the more people using alternate transportation, the fewer cars on the roadway. And I will work with the building inspector to ensure enforcement of the town’s bylaws on transportation terminals to cut down on the number of delivery vans illegally parked around town.