BURLINGTON – New blood has been infused into the Planning Board.

After longtime board member John “Jack” Kelly abruptly resigned last September, the search for a new member was on. At this week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Burlington resident Brenda Rappaport was voted on and appointed by a joint assembly of the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board.

Before a vote was made, the remaining two finalists out of the original five candidates, Rappaport and Andy Wells-Bean, said their piece to the selectmen and planners.

Rappaport, from a Burlington family stretching over five generations, conveyed her passion for the community and desire to see its high standards maintained.

“Burlington is my heart and legacy,” she professed. “It is important to me to have this community continue to be prosperous.”

Both finalists were asked by Planning Board Chair Barbara L’Heureux, “What do you think the Planning Board’s role should be in planning a new vision for Burlington?”

Rappaport touched on the board’s role in ensuring the vision is met by all projects and proposals in front of the planners.

“The Master Plan lays out a better portion of what is yet to come and the Planning Board should use that guideline on matters such as keeping lower tax rates, sustainable energy sources, and profitable real estate,” Rappaport declared. “The Planning Board should look at everything and see how it benefits our community.”

Andy Wells-Bean had his opportunity to present himself during the formal interview session. Wells-Bean, who is currently a Town Meeting member in Burlington, received his Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan before working on public issues and smart and sustainability planning for years.

Wells-Bean answered Chair L’Heureux’s question about what he feels the role of the Planning Board should be in planning a new vision for Burlington.

“The vision has been laid out in our documents, bylaws, and Master Plan. The role of the Planning Board is to evaluate each project as it comes to the board and measure it up against that vision,” he remarked.

The road to picking a victor came down to the final vote. Those for Rappaport were Planning Board members Ernest Covino, Michael Espejo, Selectmen Bob Hogan, Michael Runyan, and James Tigges. The votes for Wells-Bean included Planning Board member William Gaffney, Joseph Impemba, Barbara L’Heureux, Paul Raymond, and Selectman Nicholas Priest.

Locked at a 5-5 tie, the rules called for Selectmen Chair Joseph Morandi to make the deciding vote, which he did, for Rappaport.

The Planning Board’s newest member, Brenda Rappaport will make her debut Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall’s Main Hearing Room.

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