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Roxann Wedegartner on Planning Board three more years

GREENFIELD — Despite earlier grumblings of discontent about her reappointment, Planning Board Chairwoman Roxann Wedegartner will serve the town for three more years.

The Town Council has ratified the mayor’s re-appointment of Wedegartner, who has served on the board since 2001 and has been chairwoman for the past decade.

Though the Appointments and Ordinances Committee sent the full council a positive recommendation on the Wedegartner re-appointment with a vote of 3-1, some people in town had voiced skepticism, wondering if the council would reject her re-appointment as it did longtime board member James Allen’s several months ago.

Wedegartner and Allen became somewhat controversial figures in town when she and the majority of her five-member board, including Allen, approved a big box store for French King Highway. That development, which many think will be a discount department store, has been stalled by legal appeals by neighbors.

Despite the earlier concerns raised by some who dislike big box development, it took councilors only 15 minutes this week to ratify Wedegartner’s re-appointment.

Precinct 5 Councilor David Singer did not vote, because he said as a lawyer who has been before the Planning Board several times, he felt it would have been a conflict of interest.

Precinct 9 Councilor Norman Hirschfeld was the only “no” vote and President Mark Wisnewski did not have to vote.

Hirschfeld said the community was so divided over the big box decision that he feels the town needs a change.

At-large Councilor Dalton Athey did not attend the meeting this week.

“I was quite happy with the way things turned out,” said Wedegartner. “I was eager to get back on the board for one more term so that I can help the three new people on the board and help implement the town’s new sustainable master plan.”

Wedegartner said that while Virginia Desorgher, who took Allen’s place on the board, and George Touloumtzis and Jamie Pottern, the two alternates, are doing well, there’s a lot to learn.

“We’ve got state and local regulations and just all sorts of things we have to know,” she said.

Wedegartner said she is “pretty sure” this will be her last term on the Planning Board, but she’s not positive yet.

Wedgartner’s new term expires June 30, 2017.

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