Candidate profile: Jon Henry for Marion Planning Board
MARION — Former Selectman Jon Henry is looking to return to public service with a campaign for the town’s Planning Board.
“Well, no one was running,” Henry said.
Henry was the first candidate, other than incumbent Andrew Daniel, to take out nomination papers from the town clerk’s office.
He said he decided to run because he saw the way the Planning Board was hindered, when approving Tabor Academy’s new student center and library, by the vacancy left by Kristen St. Don-Campbell.
“That’s the sole reason that pushed me into deciding to run,” Henry said.
A Tabor graduate himself, Henry said that the town needs to think cooperatively with the school as it expands.
“They need to be competitive and we need to work with them,” he said.
Henry noted that the planning board has, at times, attempted to overstep its bounds. One example he gave was when a previous board attempted to regulate the size of trucks allowed in town.
“You can’t regulate those things, though you might like to,” he said.
But, Henry said, “The sewer and water are top of the list,” when it comes to issues the board faces.
“Especially sewer,” he added.
Henry said that as a long-term solution, he’s in favor of trying to regionalize water and sewer for much of the Buzzards Bay area.
“But regionalization is not a friendly term in the area,” he said. “Everyone wants to go it alone.”
Henry argued that having more people pay into a larger water and sewer system would be more equitable for all rate-payers, but that “the Planning Board needs to lead the way on that one.”
Henry also noted that the Planning Board has a role to play in keeping housing in Marion affordable.
Additionally, Henry said it’s important that walkability in town improves, with things like more sidewalks and crosswalks to make walking around town safer.
“And it can be done,” he said.
Henry said he’s been in Marion his whole life, and isn’t planning on going anywhere else anytime soon.
“I lived and worked, except for my jaunts in the service, right here,” he said.