[EDITOR’S NOTE: To help promote this year’s Town Elections, Abington News will print candidacy announcements. If interested, please email your candidacy announcement to AbingtonNews@gmail.com. We will not edit the announcements, but reserve the right to request changes.]
My name is Rick Shepherd and I’m running for a seat on the Abington Planning Board.
My wife Janis and I have been homeowners here in Abington for 40 years, where we raised our two children. My mother was born and raised in Abington on North Avenue. Likewise Janis was born and raised in Abington and worked as an administrator at the Woodsdale School for more than 30 years. Abingtonians who attended Woodsdale will likely remember Mrs. Shepherd. In short, our roots here are very deep.
If elected to the Board, this will be my second tour of duty. I served on the Planning Board for seven years during the tumultuous time that Hancock Street was exploding with subdivisions. I had the great honor of serving with Mr. Wayne Smith, who is stepping down this year as the Chair of the Board after decades of service to the Town. I am very proud to accept Wayne’s endorsement of my bid for the Board.
After my time on the Planning Board I served two additional years on the Board of Assessors, where I had the great privilege of serving with Joe Shea. I am also very proud to accept Joe’s endorsement of my bid for the Board.
The Board’s role has evolved since my time of service. It still has the responsibility for enforcing the Town’s subdivision rules and regulations and providing stewardship for the Town’s Master Plan, but the Board today is additionally responsible for site plan reviews of all manners of development.
Boards like the Planning Board are responsible for the meticulous review of site plans submitted by developers and negotiating the best possible outcomes for the Town of Abington pertaining to land use, open space, economic development and watershed protection.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has implemented and continues to implement statutes that are intended to promote affordable and multi-family housing in all cities and towns. While the goals are admirable, these statutes place encumbrances on Town boards that restrict the ability to enforce compliance of local regulation, putting the Boards at a disadvantage in their negotiations with developers. This is a troubling development.
I spent many years of my professional life in the review and negotiation of complex contracts and agreements. I am confident that the skills I gained in that experience in conjunction with my prior Board experience would bring benefit to the Town. I will do all that I can to control development that could change the character of our Town and put additional strain on its services.
I graduated from Boston College High School and Boston College, as well as having attended the Boston University School of Management. I am the past Secretary, Treasurer and President of the Abington Rotary Club and the past Treasurer and President of the Abington Pickleball Association.
I’d very much appreciate your support and vote in the Town elections on Saturday, April 30. Polling will be conducted at the Beaver Brook elementary school.