In a joint prepared statement, Democratic candidates Mayor Bob Conley, Council President Astri Baillie and Council Member Ben Wolkowitz discuss what it takes to plan for Madison’s future.
The candidates stated, “Planning for the future is challenging. Setting the right mix of residential and commercial development, historic preservation, open space and recreational and cultural facilities does not just happen. It takes understanding, creativity, and experience to get it right.”
Conley, Baillie, and Wolkowitz believe they are uniquely qualified to meet the challenge. Before her election to the Borough Council, Astri Baillie served for 14 years on the Madison Zoning Board of Adjustment, which implements the borough’s zoning laws. She has since served 12 years as the Council liaison to the Planning Board, which under the direction of the Council creates the borough’s Master Plan. The Master Plan is Madison’s blueprint for future development, including traffic circulation and future needs for infrastructure, utilities and recreational facilities.
Prior to his election as mayor, Bob Conley served two terms on the Madison Borough Council. During that time, he was the founding chair of the Traffic Calming Committee and was a member of the Open Space and Recreation & Historic Preservation Advisory Committee. As mayor Conley serves as a member of the Planning Board.
In his first term of office, Ben Wolkowitz has led the effort to develop a strategic plan that would not only guide the Borough Council, but also the Planning Board as they determine how to maintain Madison’s traditions and character. “The strategic planning process under Ben’s leadership will help us to prioritize capital projects and insure Madison’s future," stated Mayor Conley.
Conley, Baillie, and Wolkowitz continued, “Madison is indeed a desirable place to live for many reasons, including well established residential neighborhoods, a variety of housing options, a town center, a transportation system, recreational and cultural amenities, and great schools. On the Planning Board and Borough Council, we are continually pondering how to maintain what we have and how and when to move forward.
For instance, today residents of many towns want to live closer to transportation and town centers. Our response has been to rezone the former Green Village School site to include a mix of housing choices, retail space and community space. This will expand our downtown in a positive way.
With respect to the downtown center, the Council recently enacted an ordinance to allow sidewalk dining. Our great restaurants were losing out to neighboring towns that offered this service.
The candidates concluded, “We believe we have the depth of experience and knowledge on land use planning that can best serve Madison in the years ahead, and we ask for your vote. Experience matters.”