On Tuesday, Framingham voters will head to the polls. One of the races is for the Framingham Planning Board. There are two seats available.
and are both running write-in campaigns for a seat. Voters may only vote for two candidates.
Earlier this month, the Each of the three Planning Board candidates participated.
Framingham Patch videotapes each candidate's one-minute opening statement. You can view those statements, unedited, attached to this report.
Moderator and Town Meeting Ways & Means Chair Audrey Hall asked the three candidates a half dozen questions. Topics focused on the value of a good school system, the issue of more students walking to schools, what change, if any, the candidate would bring to the Planning Board if elected and how can the Planning Board steer growth for Framingham over the next decade.
In regards to changes needed with the , Price said the current "Planning Board has been fairly responsible."
Mercandetti said she would be looking to encourage more developments and cited the 18-month long as a projected that should have taken less time.
Mahoney, who is presently on the five-member Planning Board, agreed on the McDonald's project. "Should have taken 6 months, but it took 18 months," he said.
In regards to growth in Framingham over the next 5-10 years, the candidates differed on approaches and thoughts.
Mercandetti, who works as the Economic Development & Grants Officer for the Town of Walpole, wants to "enhance and increase new commercial growth." She said she would like to see more collaboration between departments and easier permitting. She called for better expectations and better communication.
Mahoney said he would like to "develop the downtown," saying it has "been dormant" for a longtime. He also cited the Genzyme project and the technology park project
Price said he agreed with Mahoney that downtown needs to be a focus.
Each candidate also express a vision for the future of Framingham.
Price, who said he moved to Framingham from Detroit 38 years ago, said he would like to "preserve the character of the town but still allow for the obvious development."
Price is a Town Meeting member for Precinct 17 and serves on Town Meeting's Standing Committee on Planning and Zoning.
Mercandetti wants to strengthen the neighborhoods but fill up the vacant storefronts and find ways for businesses to lease space.
Mahoney, said Framingham did not have a good PR campaign to bring businesses to Framingham. He said it was important "to balance the commercial business with the residential" so Framingham can be the "center of MetroWest."
All three candidates agreed a strong school system is important for Framingham to be the hub of MetroWest and to attract businesses.
Mercandetti said a "great education system is part of the marketability of Framingham."
Mahoney said the reason he moved to Framingham was the "excellent school system" He said there is always a movement to improve the school system, which is good as it can't rest on its laurels.
Price said the education system is important to Framingham, but that the Planning Board has "little control over that."
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