The Town of Wellesley depends on the active participation of its citizens in governance of the Town. Wellesley has 11 Boards and Committees on the ballot at the Annual Town election each year in March. The 2019 election will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Contested race for 1-year term: Planning Board
The role of the Planning Board is to make short and long term decisions related to land use in the Town of Wellesley. The Planning Board seeks to realize the vision of Wellesley residents for their community through the judicious use of municipal planning and project review. As a result, the Planning Board is responsible for the maintenance and update of the Town’s Zoning Bylaws and Zoning Map, divisions of land, and the review of large-scale projects with Town-wide impacts.
In the 2019 election, there are two Planning Board races — one race is for a one-year term on the Board; one race is for a 5-term on the Board. Deed Mccollum is running for the 1-year Board position against Albert Berry and Frank Pinto for a single available seat.
We invited the three candidates to answer a few questions about their qualifications and their priorities for the Town of Wellesley. Today’s post features Mccollum. Frank Pinto‘s responses will run in a later post. We have not received a response from Berry.
Deed Mccollum, candidate for one-year term on Planning Board
The Swellesley Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for this position?
Deed Mccollum: I have been a town resident for 29 years. I am an active citizen participant in town government attending meetings, reviewing minutes and conducting outreach to elected officials and town employees. I have been a Healthcare Administrator for over 20 years,, most recently at Boston Medical Center. I was responsible for a $10.25 million budget and the work of 135+ employees. I have extensive experience navigating change from opening health centers, implementing new systems, to promulgating regulatory changes. I have a strong appreciation and understanding of organizational change and the importance of comprehensive planning and the need to build resilience for the unexpected. I have been an active Board member for two not-for-profit organizations, the World of Wellesley and a small start-up. I am also the elected President of a landowner’s association that has addressed controversial issues such as third-party rentals and forestry management for wildlife diversity and homeowner recreational use.
Sw: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your tenure on the Planning Board?
Mccollum: Over the foreseeable future, Wellesley will experience changes resulting from 40B/R projects and the Housing Production Plan. The Planning Dept. will be reviewing the zoning by-laws, design standards and guidelines to align with the Unified Plan. I hope to lay the foundation for affordable housing; a foundation that leverages the priorities set forth in the Unified Plan: to expand housing options, increase town diversity and make Wellesley a more inclusive, dynamic and resilient community.
Sw: What is your hot button issue?
Mccollum: I do not have a “hot button” issue. I wish to give back to the community. If elected, I will bring a balanced perspective and abide to “do no harm” by thinking strategically about the impact today’s decisions will have on future generations. I would like to see Wellesley viewed, by those outside of the community, as a welcome and inclusive town.
Sw: With the national attention given to the “Impeach Trump” banner at a Wellesley Hills home, can you comment how the bylaws related to that issue should be addressed?
The Zoning By-Laws for signage, Section XXIIA, are lengthy (23 pages). A stated purpose of the By-Laws, “to protect the rights of individuals and businesses to convey their messages through signs” is presently limited by size restrictions. This “incident” provides an opportunity to review what limits, if any, should exist for residential signs that do not: pose a safety risk to others, significantly obstruct architectural features of a house, or contain offensive language. I was happy to hear the incident ended amicably and believe, with clarification, the potential for future incidents will be avoided. I also believe that in a tolerant society, personal expression is healthy and necessary.
Sw: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Mccollum: Democracy is a team sport and requires participation. Please vote on March 5.
Sw: How should voters reach you?
Mccollum: I welcome questions. Feel free to contact me at: [email protected]