1. What separates you from your opponents who are running with both similar or different beliefs?
I am analytical and data-driven. I will listen carefully, do independent research, and share the findings publicly in user-friendly ways. I will work hard to help our town achieve the goals of attainable and affordable housing through data- and fact-based proposals and communications.
Additionally, zoning is more complex than numbers and density. I have first-hand, lived experience with different planning approaches. I lived in apartments in Beijing, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Germany. Our Lexington home is actually the first and only single-family house I have ever lived in. I know how a ray of sunlight or cherry blossoms outside a window can bring in the beauty of nature and brighten up your mood no matter where you live, whether it is an apartment or a house. I believe that now in 2024, we have the know-how to plan new denser districts in an inclusive and sustainable way so that all residents will feel welcome, valued, and part of the larger community.
2. What else would you like people to know about you as a candidate?
I have volunteered in town ever since a few days after moving here 19 years ago. I have built trust and connections with so many talented individuals in the community and town staff. My international and diverse background as a Chinese immigrant, and having worked and lived on three continents across the world, gives me a different perspective. I think it’s time to plan better based on data, research, and regional best practices, and develop creative solutions that benefit current and future residents. Please vote for my values, skills, and dedication to Lexington, my adopted hometown.
3. If elected, what would be your three top goals to work towards during your term on the Planning Board?
If elected - subject to changes based on input from fellow Planning Board members, Planning Department, Town staff, and constituents - my top three goals are:
Actively seek solutions for more affordable housing, preservation, and solar energy generation by working with the Affordable Housing Trust, Tree Committee, Sustainable Lexington Committee, Noise Committee, and other committees and groups of advocates. As neighboring municipalities are facing similar challenges as we are, I will also research and reach out to learn about their efforts.
Create a feedback loop: I will carefully review all applications and compare them with the purpose of our bylaws and regulations. I will collaborate with the Planning staff and the Board to fine-tune, clarify, and improve the language of our existing bylaws and regulations. I appreciate that the Town Manager and Planning staff initiated Article 51 in the upcoming Town Meeting to strengthen and clarify the language on commercial use requirements on the first floor for MBTA Village Overlay Districts.
Improve transparency and user-friendly communications. I would like us to make our housing data and processes more available and accessible to help us make better decisions as a town and as residents. For example, a lot of people may not be aware that Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are allowed and can provide flexibility for multi-generation families or seniors who look for rental income. It is an option homeowners could benefit from by planning ahead. Additionally, improved communication could also help streamline processes for homeowners who want to renovate their homes and thus encourage more homes to be preserved.