The election will be held on April 24. Polling will be held at the Page Hilltop School cafeteria 7 a.m. through 8 p.m.
Name: Stephen Wentzell
Relevant experience: Through the years, I’ve been before the Planning Board several times with an assortment of different issues/scenarios. Because of my profession, I’ve had to do extensive research into zoning bylaws, and I’ve have had many discussions about them with the building commissioner, Gabriel Vellante.
Education: An associate degree in interpreting and translating from the Community College of the Air Force, a bachelor degree in business management from the University of Maryland University College, and a masters degree in general administration from Central Michigan University.
Ayer resident since: 1996, for most of those 10 years.
1. Why did you decide to run for the Planning Board?
I decided to run for the Planning Board because it appeared that no one would be running. It was getting close to the end of sign-up time, and a few members of the Planning Board approached me and asked if I’d consider running. I thought about it and decided this would be a good way to perform a public service for my community.
2. What are the most important issues facing the board and why?
I see two issues.
First, parking downtown is really cluttered. It would be nice to find additional parking somewhere so more people could enjoy what the downtown has to offer. For those who want to keep the Ayer train station in town this is paramount. Carol Bousquet has done a great job mounting a “Save the Train” campaign, and it sounds like it’s paying off.
The second issue is the balance between building more housing units and keeping open space. Like many issues, we have people at opposite ends of the spectrum. Some people want to build on every inch of dry land in Ayer, and conversely, there are some who don’t want to build anything at all. The importance of this balance will be evident if we don’t have enough parks and ball fields for our growing population.
3. What action, if any, taken by the Planning Board in the last year would you like to have seen decided differently and why?
I would not change any of the decisions the Planning Board has made. They sat through all of the discussions and came to a consensus on what was best for the applicants and the town.
4. Why do you feel you’re the best candidate for the job?
I’m not sure if I’m the best candidate for the job. I don’t know my opponent, but I have heard good things about him. I can tell you that I will go into every meeting with an open mind, hear all the facts, apply the laws of the town and make the best decisions I can.