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Planning Board candidates: One wants open space, the other prefers more business


AYER — Candidates for Planning Board and town clerk drew clear distinctions at a recent candidates’ forum at Town Hall.

Jennifer Gibbons, hoping to win her first five-year term on the Planning Board, emphasized finances.

“I am a supporter of economic development,” she said. Gibbons said she’d worked for the town for eight years and aims to reduce conflict among town leaders.

“The boards are all working independently of each other,” she said. “I’d like to see a little more cooperation between the boards.”

James Lucchesi, a member of the Planning Board for 11 years, said he wanted to see vacant downtown stores filled up, but otherwise did not favor much new development.

“I’m an advocate of open space,” he said.

Lucchesi also described his relationship with town Planning Director Chris Ryan as contentious.

Earlier in the evening, incumbent town clerk and tax collector, Ann Callahan, emphasized continuity on the job she has held for 16 years.

Challenger Glen LaPierre said he would bring experience gained in the business world to improve town services.

LaPierre said he would consider keeping the office in Town Hall open late one night a week around tax time, and favored it being a place where the public could pick up transfer station stickers.

Callahan said late office hours had been tried, but nobody came. She also said that the office had too many responsibilities to be a distribution point for transfer station stickers.

The forum was hosted by the Communications Committee.

Candidates in uncontested races for Board of Assessors, Board of Health, Commissioner of Trust Funds, Constable, Housing Authority and Library Trustee were invited to speak last night, but did not take up the invitation. Candidates for Board of Selectmen and School Committee spoke at a candidates’ forum last week.

The town election is April 28. d