Josh Antrim
Local Government and Politics, News

Josh Antrim vying for seat on Nahant Board of Selectmen

NAHANT — Board of Selectmen candidate Josh Antrim is trying to engineer a plan to help his town flourish.

"There's a lot of different opinions in town," said Antrim. "We have to respect that someone might have a different opinion than our own. That doesn't make them a bad person."

Instead, he said residents should channel that same energy and focus on what they agree on: making Nahant a great place to live.

Antrim, a 58-year-old engineer in turbo machinery, said the budget, Northeastern University's proposal to expand the Marine Science Center, and the newly voted Wetlands Protection bylaw are among the biggest issues facing the town.

"We passed a Wetlands Protection bylaw a few months back and it was a well-intended effort to put some protections in place. However, the way the election happened and the closeness of the vote created a lot of animosity," said Antrim, who supports putting a question before Town Meeting to give residents a chance to rescind the previous vote.

The Board of Selectmen called for the vote to be rescinded, citing the heat and lack of space in Town Hall at the first meeting that lasted more than 3 ½ hours and left not a single chair — or square inch of floor space — unoccupied.

A yes or no ballot was handed out, as voted by the body, and 285 returned the slip in favor while 278 were opposed to an amendment to the town's bylaws to change the permitting process for projects within the town's wetlands.

In essence, the bylaw prohibits the removal, filling, dredging, building upon, degrading, discharging into, or otherwise altering the listed resource areas (freshwater or coastal wetlands, marshes, etc.) except as authorized by the Conservation Commission. The bylaw establishes a permit application, notice and hearing, and determination procedure.

Residents have been equally, if not more, enthusiastic about another hot topic:

Northeastern has proposed a 60,000-square-foot expansion on its 20-acre parcel. If approved, the project would be built into and atop the existing Murphy Bunker. The new facility would add research and teaching space, the same activities the center has been engaged in since they opened in 1967, according to the school's website.

But many Nahant residents have voiced strong objections to the plan. In public meetings, voters have let it be known they plan to stop any expansion.

"1,700 people signed a petition saying they don't want any expansion," said Antrim. "That would be my marching orders."

If 1,700 people had signed it saying they do want a big expansion, that would have been his position, he said.

"My job as a selectmen would be to try to execute the will of the citizens," said Antrim, a lifelong resident.

The overlying issue to many of the town's problems is the budget, he said.

Town Administrator Antonio Barletta announced last week he would likely eliminate the position of fire chief and Chief Michael Feinberg would be leaving his job this summer because of budget constraints.

The administration needs to find a way to solve the budget issue without impacting the Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works, or the Johnson Elementary School, Antrim said.

Instead, he suggests generating revenue by selling the 12 town-owned properties known as the Coast Guard Housing.

"Nahant has kind of a unique situation where 97 percent of revenue is residential real estate taxes," he said. "So we kind of know what we can take in. If we plan properly and are all willing to give a little bit, we can get there."

Antrim has served on the town's Open Space Committee, Alternative Energy Committee, Johnson School Council, has coached Little League and soccer, and been involved with the Nahant sailing program.

Antrim is running against Carl Maccario, a 30-year resident with a background in Homeland Security, for Chesley Taylor's seat on the board. Taylor has not announced whether he will run for re-election.

Papers are still available to be picked up and are due back to the clerk's office by Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m. Voter registration deadline is Friday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the town clerk's office. Voting is April 27.

 

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