Marcia Calloway: Responses To Selectboard Candidate Questionnaire
Running for 3-year Selectboard seat
Marcia Calloway is running for the 3-year Selectboard seat. Her responses to the five-question mini questionnaire are below. The responses of her opponent Mary Layton are here.
1. The Valley News published a column by Jim Kenyon on January 28, 2018 about Selectboard members attending meetings via video chat. Some Norwich residents prefer in person attendance by public officials, even though electronic attendance is allowed by statute. Question: Absent unforeseen circumstances, do you plan to attend in person all or almost all regular and special Selectboard meetings?
It is my intention to attend all Selectboard meetings in person. My work is in Hanover and with one predictable exception I generally do not have to travel out of town for other than personal reasons. Certainly we can all have unexpected events which might make it impossible to attend a meeting in person on occasion, however technology is no substitute for the benefits of being physically in the same room. I would expect interested residents to appear in person and they should have the same expectation of their board members.
2. On January 10, 2018, the Selectboard voted to recommend to the voters a FYE 2019 Town budget of $4,502,386. Questions: How would you have voted at that meeting on that budget? Why? [In Mary’s case: How did you vote on that budget and why?]
As I watched that meeting, the deliberative process was not clear to me. I could not discern a methodology and we were not privy to all the documents the members had seen. However, based on that limited view, I would not have recommended that budget. Beyond that, I would have liked to have seen more discussion about how to control costs for tax payers. There is much discussion about affordable housing in the context of attracting new families to town. I believe there is value in ensuring housing remains affordable for the people who already live here as well.
3. Multiple Choice Question: What would you like to see happen to the population of Norwich? Please select one and if you want, explain your choice.
A. Reduced significantly
B. Reduced some
C. Remain relatively stable
D. Grow some
E. Grow significantly
My choice is not represented in the options. I would like to see the population of Norwich thrive organically. To that extent, I would answer both C and D. Remaining relatively stable in a world which is increasingly fragile and unstable is as much as most, and more than some, countries could hope for. Growing “some,” as long as it is natural and sustainable is probably wise. A family and a community will do well to take care of its members, welcome new members, and ensure there is enough stability for all.
4. Question: What are your views regarding the possible establishment of a new mixed use zoning district in the Route 5 South and River Road areas?
Such an area could irrevocably change and possibly environmentally harm the entire east edge of town. The proposed new town plan continues to segregate that area, 1.3 percent of the town, as a separate “planning area.” As it abuts the village area, and is not otherwise explained in the vague text in the plan, the foundation is laid to apply for designations which can allow for Priority Housing Projects, which require a minimum of 4 houses per acre, and allows loss of Act 250 protections. Residents have not had opportunity to decide if they want that type of massive change.
5. Other than the adoption of a town plan, what are several issues that you think the Town or Selectboard should or must address in the next 12 to 18 months? Why? Do you have any specifics on how to address?
Adoption of a town plan is key to the other issues facing the town. We need more specificity on the other aspects of our town such as conservation of resources. The environment is changing, resources are becoming scarce, markets are volatile. Weather events such as we experienced in July will become more common. These things affect us fiscally, socially, economically. We need to think holistically on every issue, look thoughtfully at other examples, and seek out guidance. When we make choices, we must be confident that we have done all we can to understand the ramifications of our choices.
Photo is screenshot from CATV video of Norwich Candidates Night 2/27/18. Watch that video on the CATV website by clicking here.