Candidate’s Letter: Debbie DeMuria for Planning Board

[Editor’s note: This spring, residents will choose from two candidates running for one seat on the Planning Board. To help you make that decision, I have invited each to submit a letter to readers.

As in past years, you may use comments to endorse the candidate. No mudslinging allowed here.]

Hello Southborough Residents,

My name is Debbie DeMuria and I’m running for Planning Board.

I am deeply rooted in the community, have hands-on experience in town government, and will work to keep Southborough’s historic character, scenic beauty, and sense of community, while also encouraging responsible development and increased business opportunities.

About Me

I have lived in Southborough with my husband Kevin since 1995. We have two children who attended Southborough public schools and graduated from Algonquin Regional High School. Among the important reasons we moved to Southborough were the town’s excellent schools, rural character, abundance of open space, recreational programs, and small businesses.

As a registered pharmacist, I have more than 25 years of experience as a Regulatory Affairs professional in the health care field. I have been a consultant to major pharmaceutical companies, from small start-ups to multi-national corporations. I work with firms to navigate complex drug and biologics regulations to advance pharmaceutical products that have helped children with cancer, people suffering with neurologic disease, and those with very rare diseases.

My Record of Serving Southborough

Zoning Board of Appeals (2016 – Present):  During my time on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), I’ve dealt with many complex matters, including hearing appeals for zoning relief and providing input into zoning code changes. My record shows that I bring a thoughtful and balanced approach to reviewing applications. While on the board, I voted for improved athletic field lighting yet rejected an effort to permit large electronic billboards along Route 9.

Master Plan Committee (2021 – Present):  As the ZBA appointee to the Master Plan Committee, I have made numerous additions to the 10-year plan, including on topics such as zoning, scenic roadways, public shade tree protections, renewable energy, and transparency in government. I am honored to serve cooperatively alongside many of the town’s thought leaders to set forth the vision of Southborough’s residents for the coming decade.

Green Technology and Recycling Committee (2005 – 2010):  While on the Green Technology and Recycling Committee, I sought to encourage positive change in consumer habits by launching new initiatives to reduce waste and encourage recycling at the Transfer Station and the schools. I support the formation of a Sustainability Committee to proactively manage many of the issues surrounding climate change, sustainability, and recycling to move Southborough toward a greener future.

My Priorities

  • Careful New Development: Southborough can retain the characteristics of the town we all love and admire while encouraging commercial development to meet the needs of businesses. I share a vision of Southborough with a prosperous economy, yet without cookie-cutter development. I also welcome new businesses to our Downtown District and to fill vacancies along Route 9 that serve the residents and will work to make this possible.
  • Improved Transparency: As a Planning Board member, I will work to improve the connectivity of the Zoning and Planning Boards, Conservation Commission and Department of Public Works (DPW). Priorities of DPW have often seemed to be misaligned with residents who don’t know what is happening on their roads until after work has already started. As a result, public trust in DPW has eroded in recent years due to lack of transparency on planned projects, spending, and appropriate use of funds. I’ll continue to work with boards and committees to identify paths to efficiency, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.
  • Climate Change and the Environment: Southborough residents have expressed a desire for a green and sustainable future. For the Town to attain long-term sustainability in response to climate change, we must work toward increased energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction. As a Planning Board member, I will work to promote electric vehicle charging stations and solar into design guidelines and promote an environmental action plan.
  • Preserving our Scenic Roads and Public Shade Trees: As a Tree City, Southborough has worked to protect its community trees through its designation of scenic roadways. We all benefit from the preservation of trees, which conserve energy, improve local air quality, reduce noise, and preserve delicate ecosystems. Trees and stone walls increase our real estate values and enhance the visual and aesthetic qualities that attract visitors and businesses to our town. Yet today there are too many live, healthy trees being removed. I have called on the Town to hire a qualified arborist as Tree Warden to ensure expertise in evaluating the health of our trees. As a Planning Board member, I will work to create guidelines for developers and homeowners regarding the preservation of trees to restore Southborough to the beautiful tree-lined town it once was.

I will bring an objective, independent voice to the Planning Board. I hold myself to a high moral standard and address each issue based on the facts before me without pre-conceived biases. My experience, dedication, ability, and vision make me the best candidate for the Planning Board seat.

I hope to earn your vote on May 10th!

Thank you.

 

Debbie DeMuria
58 Flagg Rd
Southborough, MA
ddemuria@gmail.com

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