After midterm appointment, Wayne Wilkinson seeks full term on North Adams City Council

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NORTH ADAMS — After his midterm appointment this year, Councilor Wayne Wilkinson is seeking a full term on the City Council.

With more than a decade on the Planning Board and two decades on the mobile home park rent control board, Wilkinson won his first term on the council in 2013.

Wilkinson lost his re-election bid in 2015 but was unanimously reappointed by the council this year to replace departing Councilor Nancy Bullett — ending the period Wilkinson now jokingly refers to as a "sabbatical."

Now, Wilkinson has his eyes set on continuing to address issues he believes the city has not prepared itself for and using his background in planning to address obstacles to growth in the city.

"The zoning laws of North Adams are archaic and, in many cases, I think they cripple or hurt businesses," Wilkinson said, adding that they can also prevent businesses from relocating in North Adams.

The City Council has not discussed regulations on recreational marijuana, Wilkinson noted. If elected, he would start that discussion and advocate for locally taxing recreational marijuana sales as allowed under state law.

"We should be taxing it, and we should be zoning it to make sure it's away from kids," Wilkinson said.

Without zoning laws in place, Wilkinson said, the city would have little control over where a proposed marijuana retail shop is located.

"I'm not looking to stop it, I'm looking to regulate it," Wilkinson said.

The councilor also said he'd look to start a conversation about plastic bags, noting that they have been banned in other communities, like Adams.

"I don't know enough about it yet to have an opinion, but there's got to be a reason all of these other towns are discussing it," Wilkinson said.

In his first term on the council, Wilkinson successfully advocated for a new zoning ordinance that allowed commercial reuse of nonconforming lots — allowing commercial properties that had been off the tax rolls for years to become active again.

Wilkinson also served on the council's Finance Committee, holding a series of meetings in the spring to review the city's budget.

Wilkinson has owned Wilkinson Appraisal Associates for 30 years and lived in North Adams, where he got his first job after college, for 40 years.

"North Adams has been very, very good to me, and I'm a true believer in giving back to the community," Wilkinson said.

The city election is Nov. 7.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter or at 413-496-6376.


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