Framingham District 6 Council Candidate: Philip Ottaviani, Jr.

District 6 City Council candidate Philip Ottaviani Jr.

District 6 is Precincts 10 and 11

 

Age: 53

Occupation: Small Business Owner and Local Realtor

Years lived in Framingham: lifelong resident

Family (optional): Wife, Valerie Ottaviani – Critical Care Nurse at Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Daughter, Julia – 7th Grade, Walsh Middle School

Municipal experience: Town Meeting Member (over 25 years)
Zoning Board of Appeals, Chair
Standing Committee on Public Works (former)
Community Development Block Grant Committee (former)
Framingham Revitalization Task Force (former)

Volunteerism: Framingham Rotary Club, Marian High School Board of Trustees, The 200 Foundation Executive Board, Hoops and Homework Board of Directors, St. Bridget’s Parish, Columbus Society, Framingham Elks, Framingham Democratic Town Committee, Framingham History Center, and National Trust for Historic Preservation

In less than 100 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a city councilor? 

I care deeply about Framingham and our people. I was born and raised here, and I know the city inside and out from traveling all neighborhoods as a local real estate agent. I treat all people and businesses with respect and an open mind in order to fully understand multiple sides of complex issues and negotiate to get the job done. I am committed to a responsive government that listens to you, spends your tax dollars responsibly and preserves the quality of life in our neighborhoods. I have the experience and leadership skills to get this done.

 

In less than 100 words, describe your district: It’s a very livable, well-balanced district with wonderful neighborhoods. District 6 truly emulates the live work play lifestyle. We have convenient shopping and dining with CVS, Stop & Shop and Friendly’s easily accessible on Temple Street, as well as a bit of commercial making it easy for everyday life. It’s family friendly with great parks such as Cushing and Farm Pond parks for outdoor recreation, walking trails at Macomber Reservation and Pilgrim Day Camp. We have a great mix of housing with homes on 8,000 SF lots to an acre plus, to attract both first-time homebuyers and settled families.

Website or Facebook page link: www.philforframingham.com and www.facebook.com/philforframingham  

Election announcement submitted to Framingham Source during the nomination period

 

Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only

How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office? 0%

What business is needed in your district? Bakery

What amenity is lacking in your district? Dog parks

Should Framingham become a sanctuary city? No

Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? Yes

Should it be built in your district in Cushing Memorial Park? Yes

Would you support the construction of a splash pad in Framingham? Yes

Should it be built in your district? Maybe

Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners? Yes

Would you vote for a debt exclusion override to build a new school in Framingham? No

What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Cushing Park

What is your favorite place in your district? (just one): Cushing Park

Editor’s Note: Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. Answers are copy & pasted into this report.

QUESTION #1: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?

 

The biggest issue District 6 currently faces is apartment sprawl. As a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for nineteen years, I believe Framingham has been able to bring well managed and situated development while protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods. However, we have seen a great deal of residential growth in the district, and current projects proposed at Mount Wayte Plaza and next to the Staples Corporate Office, for example, are being considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals to bring hundreds of more units.

I support adding variety to Framingham’s housing market and think apartments are great, but to fix this issue, I will advocate for being very selective about locations in which future apartments are approved. Downtown is perfect. Apartments and condos with amenities are great for downtown because they help attract and retain young professionals and empty nesters who seek the convenience of live, work, play lifestyles without the heavy lifting of the maintenance that comes with a single-family home. Residential growth downtown will help bring a new customer base for businesses to attract, propelling the revitalization effort we need.

What we must be careful to avoid is taking commercial property off the tax rolls. Instances in which new residential proposals aim to replace commercial property should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Overall, any residential proposal must be balanced to ensure impacts on traffic, schools and neighborhoods are mitigated. I have a track record on the ZBA that shows I am dedicated to protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods, while promoting economic development to promote the prosperity of our City for years to come.

 

QUESTION #2 – The Framingham Public Schools represent more than 50 percent of the total budget for the community. Would you support a level-funded budget, a level service budget, and increase in the school budget or a decrease in the school budget? Why?

Framingham is going through transition period. Leaving funding where it presently is keeps funding at its safest and most secure levels during the transition. Therefore, yes, I would support a level funded budget, and I maybe would support a level service budget.

Until we take a firm look at the budget, I cannot agree to increase or decrease the school budget. I believe we must continue to revisit and analyze the entire budget and school budget to identify waste, see where we can save and use this money to improve schools.

I am committed protecting the quality of our education system and strengthening it to ensure strong schools for generations to come.

 

QUESTION #3 – Traffic is a major issue in your district. Currently, the winter street bridget (a MassDOT project) is still closed and behind schedule to re-open. How will you work with the neighborhood, other city councilors, and the new mayor to solve the problem of traffic issues and off-schedule  projects.

As I have gone door to door, traffic is one issue I am hearing again and again in my conversations with concerned residents of District 6. I have lived here my entire life and continue drive these roads every day as a local realtor, and yet with the amount of roadwork going on I find myself constantly wondering how long it will take to get from point A to point B this time. At this point, people need a roadmap if they drive through Framingham and hit roadwork at the wrong time of day.

Effective communication is key. I will work with my fellow councilors and new mayor to ensure appropriate measures are taken to fix the traffic snarls while keeping our City’s infrastructure safe and efficient for all drivers and pedestrians. I will call for accountability on timelines for current projects, and I support a traffic study to analyze the traffic patterns, signal timing and ways to improve vehicular flow.

Additionally, I will work with the new council and mayor to ensure those opening a new business know where to go to apply for any roadway improvements they may need to allow access to their customers. Currently, businesses do not have easy access to clear resources that detail this process from beginning to end. Delays during the permitting of needed improvements are often the result. This can change with an organized and clearly defined approach to the process.

I will also be a reliable voice for Framingham and work to close the communications loop with my neighbors in the District. Right now, people don’t know where to go for information. With effective communication on planned traffic improvement projects, I am committed to helping residents stay informed of any potential delays and ways around them. Though my Facebook page, website, e-newsletters and the like, I will work hard to keep District 6 residents informed.

 

QUESTION #4 – Your district includes Cushing Memorial Park and Farm Pond Park, as well as the Macomber property. What is your view of open space vs economic development in Framingham?

The question of open space vs. economic development is often complex, and must be reviewed on a case by case basis. I don’t believe open space and economic development have to be at a constant dichotomy. From my perspective, it is about ways to negotiate and achieve balance for the best possible outcome for Framingham. I firmly believe well managed and properly situated development can be very good for our economy, and help keep the burden on individual taxpayers low. If a city is not growing, it is dying, and the only way to revitalize downtown and fill empty storefronts will be to promote smart growth.

However, particularly in District 6 where we have beautiful parks for the community to enjoy, I also feel strongly that open space enhances the quality of life. Outdoor space for recreation and leisure activities brings people together from all ends of the community, making open space a common issue for all residents. The key is facilitating economic growth while protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods, and I will work with the Mayor and Council to achieve this outcome.

If there is one thing I do better than most, it is my ability to get both sides in a negotiation to collaborate so that everyone walks away satisfied. Real estate, which I have devoted my career to, is a symphony of moving parts with several parties involved in transactions. Of course, there is the buyer and seller, but then domino transactions also take place with the bank, appraiser, inspectors, real estate agents, and so on. The key is reminding those with competing interests that the only way to achieve progress is collaboration, even if that means giving up a little control to find the solution that works best for not just themselves, but everyone.

 

QUESTION #5 – District 6 includes Keefe Technical High School. More than 50 percent of the students come from Framingham. What role do you see the vocational school in your district? in the City?

The Keefe Technical High School is a fantastic asset in our district. The Summer Discover Camp is a great program that many youths in the district enjoy. Campers including my daughter Julia, who attends for one session, get great hands-on educational experiences in various career areas while they enjoy summer sports and activity. This camp is a great introduction to an assortment of career paths and helps to develop new skills in high demand outside of the classroom early on. Moreover, families often base relocation decisions based on the quality of schools, and Keefe Tech helps to attract families to our district.

The high school also has a very important role in the City overall. The trades are experiencing huge shortages of skilled labor, and as a result, those with an interest have exciting opportunities to excel.  Keefe Tech offers quality vocational education and helps get the word out about the potential for success in these fields.

We need to continue to partner with Keefe Tech to promote the various career and technical program offerings that prepare students for careers in high demand. The skilled trades are among the highest potential over other job categories, and I will work hard to support all education that prepares Framingham students for success.

I will always fight for the best education system for Framingham, and I am committed protecting the quality of Keefe Tech and all schools and strengthening it to ensure great schools for generations.

 

QUESTION #6 – Part of your district includes Framingham State University. What role should the University play in the community? How will you work with the University to make sure they are community partners with the City of Framingham?

Framingham State University is a gem, and it is wonderful to have a state school with a great reputation right here in our district. It is great to see Framingham State’s growth over the years.

Much like the City of Framingham’s recent transition from Town Meeting to City Council, the school experienced a transition of its own from a college to a university not too long ago. However, with this growth we have also seen the University drift into the neighborhoods and in some ways, inching up to residents’ backyards.

I will work with the University to ensure it continues to play a collaborative role in the community and is sensitive of the neighborhoods that surround it. I encourage residents to always share any concerns with me that they may have about the University or other issues, and I am always willing to listen to see what can be done to help. Whether in terms of University proposals to expand facilities, promote student safety, or interaction with others living in the community nearby, I will work hard to ensure Framingham State University is a good neighbor.

I also look forward to the University’s role in our community as its merger with Danforth Art is finalized. This partnership is truly a win-win for our community. I support the purchase of Danforth Art, but in this new stage I support making sure the deal is beneficial to both parties. The Art Center’s bright future will undoubtedly be an asset to this community through its workshops, classes and art that inspires. We must continue to collaborate with this vibrant cultural center to ensure this asset continues to be accessible and available to all Framingham residents.  

 

 

QUESTION #7 – Do you think Framingham is a safe community? Why or why not? How will you work with the mayor and the police department to make sure Framingham has a good quality of life?

Absolutely, Framingham is a safe community and a great place to raise a family. I have lived here my whole life and have traveled every road in Framingham without any issues. Our emergency services are responsive, and the city is constantly working to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians. Framingham is safer than forty-six percent of cities in the country in terms of the crime index, and the likelihood of being a victim of either violent or property crimes is lower than the state average. This in mind, it is always important to be smart and take precautions to ensure the protection of oneself and one’s property.

I am committed to working with the mayor and police department to ensure they have the resources they need to protect Framingham citizens and maintain good quality of life. I have always supported public safety in Town Meeting, and I have a great relationship with the police and fire chiefs. I look forward to working with them to promote a positive relationship with the community and protecting all who live, work and travel in Framingham.

 

QUESTION #8 – Describe your what your role would be with the business community in your district and in the City of Framingham, if elected. What is your vision for economic-development?

 

My background as a local business owner coupled with my educational background (management degree from Boston College and JD from Southern New England School of Law) makes me well suited to understand the needs of the business community and be a reliable resource. Central to my vision for economic development is a revival of vacant storefronts and the promotion of variety in the types of businesses downtown. A vibrant downtown is very important to today’s homebuyers as well as current residents. A vibrant downtown helps position Framingham to attract and retain residents that then in turn, support local businesses.

We have already seen exciting new businesses come about that are breathing new light into the area. Clark Street has become a great destination with new businesses that are absolutely hitting it out of the park. Jack’s Abbey has been a huge success. We have also seen a new Vietnamese restaurant and great breakfast places open, which are bringing the community out to explore the new offerings. New approved developments will soon bring 400 units to Framingham, further stimulating these businesses and attracting residents. The decisions I will make as City Councilor will support this trend of growing vibrancy.

 

QUESTION #9  – Do you think Framingham is family friendly? Why or why not? What would you do to do make the community more inviting to families? What can be done in your district with Cushing and Farm Pond parks?

Absolutely, we have a wonderful community that appeals to families and individuals alike. I have chosen to raise my family here, and three generations before me have lived in Framingham as well. Framingham has wonderful assets such as great parks, the Macomber Reservation land on Badger Road, walking/hiking paths, summer concert series on the common, movie nights and more. I supported the Bowditch and Loring arena projects, and I look forward to opportunities for even more exciting family attractions to come.

I believe there is room to do more to make the community more inviting and facilitate an even stronger sense of community throughout the year. I think a splash park is a great idea for kids in the summer. A dog park at Cushing would make a nice addition as well and would be well utilized by many.

Events such as a July 4th parade would be awesome right here at parks in the district. We could get sponsorships from the local business community, and even bring back a fireworks display. I know many businesses would be ready and willing to step up to the plate. This outreach to local businesses could go a long way in making a nice event for Framingham families at a low cost to the city. The Flag Day parade is another great event that we can bring back with proper fundraising for the community to enjoy.

QUESTION #10 – How will you make sure that residents in your neighborhood have a voice in the new City of Framingham, if elected? Give specifics.

Our new City Council should value everyone’s input in order to fully understand all the issues placed before it. As we migrate to our new form of government, resident participation is critical to reaching that goal. As your City Councilor, my door will always be open because I want to hear from you! I am proud to be active in many community organizations, and through this participation I get the privilege of meeting new community members on a regular basis. I love when someone stops me at an event to say hello and share a thought about our community!

I also make my cell phone available as well as my email address, and my website and Facebook page offer additional ways to message me. You can count on me to be responsive to your comments and concerns. As City Councilor, I will hold office hours, and open my home for a meet and greet event with those who live in the district. Opportunities for these types of gatherings create a dialogue that is often lost behind digital screens these days, and I look forward to meeting as many residents as possible. Together, we can achieve progress.

 

QUESTION #11 – How will you get residents in your neighborhood, especially those in apartments, more involved in their community? Give specifics.

Awareness is an important precursor to involvement. I will help raise awareness of the many community offerings such as concerts on the common, new recreation opportunities in our parks and other various news and updates to help keep residents informed.

I will continue to maintain my website and Facebook page to offer as a resource for the many events Framingham coordinates to help bring the community together.

A quarterly online newsletter I will send out will also help raise awareness about the issues most important to the district as well as a mailing to all district households once or twice a year.

I will also look forward to feedback through surveys that I will offer as an additional vehicle through which community members can share their thoughts and concerns.  

 

 

QUESTION #12 – Framingham is a community full of social, economic and cultural diversity. What can you do as a councilor to not only represent your district but to the bring the nine districts together as one City?

We need to preserve the best parts of our previous form of government as we migrate to our new form, and resident participation from all ends of the community is critical to reaching this goal. I have always worked to understand all sides of complex issues and value everyone’s input. In this way, I have earned the trust of many community members who I have had the honor of representing at Town Meeting for over 25 years.

I can confidently say few people know Precinct 11 better than I do. I was born and raised there, and it is where my wife and I chose to raise our family. My daughter attends Walsh Middle School, and I have worked and volunteered in Framingham my entire life. I travel all the neighborhoods in real estate as well as my business ventures, and as a result, I interact regularly with residents in all areas of our town. I care deeply about Framingham and all of its people.

I have devoted my life to negotiation, and I consider collaboration as an essential component to achieving progress. I can work with anyone, and I look forward to working together with all residents, the new Mayor and City Councilors for a common goal: ensuring we will continue to have a great place to call home. I have the leadership skills and experience to get this done.

 

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Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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