Candidate Website/Social Media Address
www.bethwierling.com or on Facebook: Beth Wierling for Planning Board
I grew up in nearby Mansfield and first came to Franklin when I was hired to be the Town Planner in 2007. Three years later in 2010 my husband, Bob, and I bought our first home on School Street and moved just a ¼-mile down the road to our current home on Main Street in 2018. I received my undergraduate degree in Environmental Design with a concentration in Urban Studies from UMass Amherst and my graduate degree in Public Administration from Clark University. I hold my 10-hour OSHA Training certificate for the construction industry, am a member and former Board member of the Franklin Downtown Partnership, Private Sector Co-Chair, Energy & Sustainable Development Committee, 495/MetroWest Partnership, and Chair, Neponset Valley TMA.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your most recent tenure? Or, if you are a new candidate, what achievements make you most qualified for the position?
I am a new candidate running for a position on the Planning Board. I have been a successful career professional for more than 20 years, working in the field of planning, economic development, and construction management. However, my most direct experience for this office was my eight-year tenure as Franklin’s Town Planner. As the Town Planner, I provided staff review of all plans before the Planning Board, drafted zoning bylaws, assisted with the writing of many of our community planning documents, and attended all Planning Board, Economic Development Committee, Design Review Committee, Public Land Use Committee, and Master Plan Committee meetings. In addition to these planning board responsibilities, I also went to many ZBA, Conservation Committee, and Town Council meetings.
I understand how our Town operates not only from the perspective of a former Franklin municipal employee but also as an engaged resident of the community. I live in Downtown Franklin and I am member of the Franklin Downtown Partnership, volunteering regularly to assist with Partnership activities and was a former member of the Board of Directors.
Giving back to my community is something that is very important to me and because of that, I feel it is my civic duty to participate on a Board that can shape Franklin’s future into something we are all proud of and excited about.
Do you want to see more or less development in Franklin, and why?
I don’t believe it is a question of whether I want to see more or less development in Franklin, but rather listening to what the residents of Franklin want to see, acting in the community’s best interest, and adhering to what is allowed by our Town regulation to ensure the public safety and general welfare of the residents of Franklin are protected.
My vision for Franklin is of a vibrant and sustainable community where people feel engaged in its growth and development. I envision leaders that tap into the knowledge of Franklin’s residents and local businesses in the pursuit of shaping our community into a more economically productive and prosperous place; I believe that will dictate the type of development that will or won’t occur in our community. Simply, I want to create, cultivate, and maintain better places and spaces in Franklin.
What kinds of development are you supportive of?
I am supportive of development that is thoughtfully planned, sustainable, and economically feasible, as what we build today will leave a lasting footprint for generations to come.
I am also supportive of developments that meet the requirements of the state and local rules and regulations governing development in Franklin.
Do you believe there are certain occupations that may have an inherent conflict of interest with serving the best interest of the citizens of Franklin on the Planning Board?
Members of the Planning Board must abide by M.G.L. “conflict of interest laws” administered and enforced by the State Ethics Commission. In my opinion, any of the reasons, outlined in these laws, not just an occupational conflict, would be a reason a member might have an inherent conflict of interest that would prevent them from serving the best interest of the citizens of Franklin on the Planning Board. Regularly having to recuse yourself from a meeting due to a conflict of interest precludes you from being a fully active member on the Board to which the community elected you to participate.