BECKET — Becket voters have just one choice to make when they go to the polls Saturday. Karen S. Karlberg is challenging an incumbent, James Levy, for a five-year seat on the Planning Board.
Voting will take place from noon to 4 p.m. in Becket Town Hall, at 557 Main St.
Karlberg, a 45-year resident of Becket, says she is running to make the board more responsive to local views on the applications it handles. She ran a write-in campaign last year for the board after being unable, because of the coronavirus pandemic, to get papers filed.
“They don’t seem to be listening to the neighborhood people,” she said of the board. “We deserve to be listened to, too.”
Karlberg is a former chairwoman of the Becket Zoning Board of Appeals and served on the Conservation Commission. She works at Jacob’s Pillow.
“I was voicing concern about the environment and not just fast-tracking projects,” she said of her other board service.
Levy, who teaches military history at Hofstra University, said the board works to guide people through what is and isn’t allowable, under town bylaws.
He said that in recent years, much of the conflict over Planning Board decisions stems from the growing cannabis industry in Massachusetts. Karlberg’s interest in joining the board was spurred in part by her effort to oppose a cannabis project in Becket last June.
“We’re not for or against them,” Levy said of proposals that come before the board. “We try to hear everybody, but we don’t take it upon ourselves to be in an adversarial position with any stakeholder in any position. We ask, ‘What do the rules say?’ As far as I can tell, that’s our entire function.”
“It has to be against the rules,” Levy said. “You can bet your bottom dollar that if it’s against the rules, we don’t allow it.”
Levy was appointed to the board five years ago after serving as an alternate. This is his second bid to win election to the seat.
Elsewhere on the ballot, William H. Elovirta is running unopposed for reelection to a three-year term on the Select Board.
Two current members of the Finance Committee, Charles Garman and Ann G. Spadafora, seek reelection to three-year terms without opposition.
Michelle Smith seeks another three-year term on the Cemetery Commission.
A three-year position with the Board of Health lacks a candidate, according to Town Clerk George E. Roberts.