Unplanned departure: John Sousa resigns from Planning Board

Aug 11, 2020

After decades of work in town politics, longtime Planning Board member John Sousa made a surprise announcement Monday that he would resign from the office effective immediately.

Just hours before the board’s August 10 meeting, Sousa sent an email to fellow members and the Select Board announcing his decision. 

Board chair Lorri-Ann Miller said Sousa did not give a reason for the move other than saying that he needed to resign and that he has enjoyed serving the town.

Sousa could not be reached for comment.

“I’m very sorry to see him go,” Miller said. “We didn’t always agree, but we were always able to talk things over and sometimes reach a compromise.”

While still in high school, Sousa worked a seasonal maintenance job for Parks and Recreation and became a Town Meeting member in his early 20s.

Throughout his more than 25-year tenure, Sousa has led or assisted in many of the town’s projects, including upping residential lots to a minimum of two acres, crafting an assisted living bylaw which brought more senior housing to town, and helping craft the Open Space Residential Development bylaw.

“I’m going to miss him — I thought he had some phenomenal ideas,” Miller said. “Hopefully we will continue with his ideas.”

At the August 10 meeting, Miller announced that the Board is looking for applicants to fill the vacancy and that the interim member would serve until the town election in April 2021. The winner of that election will fill out the remainder of Sousa’s term, which is set to expire in 2023.

“Unless this board wants to work with four members, this is the way to go,” Miller said at the meeting. “I think we need to appoint someone.”

Those interested in applying for the vacant seat should send a letter of interest to the planning department.