Tucker Burr was elected chairman by a 3-2 margin during the Marion Planning Board’s May 15 public meeting. It was the first meeting since former Chairman Norm Hills retired from the board, along with Chris Collings, whose term also expired this year.
Burr’s support came from Andrew Daniel and new member Ryan Burke.
Vice Chairperson Alanna Nelson got a well-prepared nomination from Eileen Marum, who had the following to say: “I’m nominating her because she comes to every meeting prepared and uses her critical-thinking skills and has the desire and determination to push the Planning Board forward. She’s resilient, she takes responsibility for her decisions, maintains optimism and has the ability to focus on charting a new course of action. She acts decisively, she can make decisions without wavering, she’s secure with herself, she’s a risk taker, and an innovator and she’s transparent. … And I think she has excellent listening skills, she listens to everyone.”
Upon Marum’s statement, Burke immediately seconded Burr’s nomination of himself for the chair position.
“One of the reasons I put my papers in for Planning Board was to assure that the Planning Board sticks to what is relevant to the Planning Board and not anything other than that,” said Burke. “I think that’s a job Tucker could do wholeheartedly. He’s very capable of doing so.”
Nelson seconded Marum’s nomination of Nelson, but Andrew Daniel’s was the deciding vote.
“Ryan beat me to it, I was going to nominate Tucker Burr for chair,” said Daniel. “Sometimes (he’s) the quietest guy in the room, but often the smartest guy in the room is the quietest guy. He’s got a good knowledge of the bylaws and always conducts himself very professionally.”
With that, Nelson, acting as defacto chair, called for the vote supporting Burr and announced its 3-2 verdict accordingly, handing the baton to Burr to preside over the meeting, beginning with the completion of new role assignments.
After Nelson nominated herself for vice chair and was immediately seconded by Marum, Burke nominated Daniel. Burr seconded the motion. The roll call started with Daniel, who voted for himself, setting in motion his election to the vice chairmanship.
Marum was nominated by Nelson to continue as clerk, citing her performance, and Daniel seconded, saying Marum had done a very good job in the role. The vote was unanimous.
Jon Henry, who was absent, was voted the board’s representative to the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD), and Daniel was voted the board’s representative to the Marion Community Preservation Committee. Also absent was newly elected member William Dale Jones.
Burr became Planning Board chairman the same month that his father, Toby Burr, was voted new chairman of the Select Board.
As the board moved on to review strategies for the town’s Municipal Vulnerability Plan and Marion Open Space Plan, Nelson proposed that the topics go on the agenda for discussion when the board will be in full attendance.
“It would be great if we could take some of that low-hanging fruit that we have responsibility for and move it forward,” she said. “I do believe that both Open Space Plan and the Housing Production Plan are on the agenda for (May 16), and I mean throw in the Housing Production Plan for something, too, that we can look at for helping us guide priorities in the next year … assuming it is approved by (the Select Board.)”
Marum followed up with a suggestion that the board also review the Municipal Vulnerability Plan.
Nelson suggested using any remaining budget funds in working with SRPEDD. Town Planner Doug Guey-Lee chimed in on Zoom and said he had corresponded with SRPEDD about grant funding. Guey-Lee said the board does not have to spend budget money this year and might consider using it to get the town’s zoning maps up to date.
“We have a small but effective team, so I think we can get something done,” said Guey-Lee.
Marum asserted that Marion needs to communicate with surrounding communities on an escape plan. The board and Guey-Lee discussed some aspects to that, and Daniel summarized the leadership team in Rochester, where he serves as that town’s Facilities manager.
The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, June 5, at 7:00 pm at the Police Station.
Marion Planning Board
By Mick Colageo