Lewis Mudge, the newest member of the Charlotte Selectboard, thinks lessons can be learned from the defeat of Town Meeting Day ballot articles 6 and 7.
These asks would have increased the size of the East Charlotte Village Commercial District by changing the town plan and encouraged development by altering some land use regulations.
“I do think it will be worth having conversations with regards to what lessons could be learned on 6 and 7, what went well, what did not go well,” Mudge said. “The land use regulations debate was very informative for me in really having a lot of conversations with people about this sort of divide between East and West Charlotte.”
One thing he thinks might heal a rift between East Charlotte and West Charlotte is a community center.
A committee has been meeting since fall to determine if there is interest in Charlotte for a community center. The Charlotte Community Center Committee distributed a survey and has begun to discuss where the center might be built and how much it might cost.
Mudge and his wife Niccola Milnes have three sons, ages 4, 6 and 7. The family moved to Charlotte from Kenya in 2018, where Mudge was stationed for his day job as the director for Central Africa for Human Rights Watch. Milnes is a contractor who works in countering violent extremism in Africa.
Mudge said his family would use a community center if one is built, but noted the location of it is important.
“I’ve heard a lot of folks in East Charlotte talk about all the amenities in West Charlotte,” said Mudge, who lives on Greenbush Road in West Charlotte. “I can see that. I can see where they’re coming from.”
He also wants the town to make sure there’s not only enough money to pay for a possible community center but also to make sure there’s enough to sustain it.
“I do not want this to be a burden on the taxpayers,” Mudge said.
Topping the list of reasons for his candidacy is to bring more representation from younger families who have children in Charlotte Central School.
Mudge said he’s not necessarily young but he’s not old. He settled on the term “youngish” to describe his age. He is 43 years old.
He felt a need to increase representation for people in Charlotte who are more recently getting invested in the town, have newer mortgages and who are going to be living there for 20 or 30 years.
Mudge said his first goal as a new selectboard member is to learn as much as he can. And as quickly as he can, since his is just a two-year term.
“I already have a deeper level of appreciation for the folks that are still on the selectboard with regards to how much there is to know, both in terms of Charlotte, but also in terms of statewide,” Mudge said.