Incumbent Robert E. King, who has served on the Sandwich Planning Board for two terms, would like to continue in the role of helping to preserve the town’s charm while helping local businesses thrive.
“I think it’s important to be user friendly to the people who have applications before the board,” said Mr. King, currently the board chairman. “It can be scary and confusing. I have been in that [applicant’s seat] as a business owner and a homeowner.”
Mr. King, who has lived on Summer Street in Sandwich Village for 38 years, is the co-owner—with his husband, Tobin Wert—of the popular Cafe Chew restaurant. He is a past owner of The Bee-Hive Tavern, now Father’s Kitchen & Taphouse, and the original Marshland Restaurant on Route 6A.
He has also owned Sandwich’s Sandwiches at Russell’s Corner and a dry goods market next to The Bee-Hive Tavern.
Mr. King sees the future of commercial development as different than what has been envisioned by past planning boards.
“Commercial development has changed with online shopping. Malls are closing in the world of Amazon,” Mr. King said. “Malls like Mashpee Commons are bringing in more residential units, which, in turn, are served by the commercial.”
Such mixed-use developments could work well in Sandwich, too, Mr. King said.
He is a longtime advocate of historic preservation, but does not believe that preservation works against commerce.
“I’m of the opinion that historic preservation is economic preservation in Sandwich,” Mr. King said. “I think the sentiment that Sandwich is anti-business is a fallacy.”
New businesses can open and thrive, but they are carefully regulated in the town, which Mr. King sees as a win-win situation.
“These controls ensure that new businesses enhance the look and feel of the place,” Mr. King said, citing Fishermen’s View restaurant at the Sandwich Marina, and the shaded and landscaped parking lot at the Route 6A Stop & Shop as examples.
A graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mr. King has served on many town boards and committees over the years. He currently serves on the community preservation committee, which he also chairs, and the Town Hall Preservation Board.
He also has served on the Sandwich Visitors Services Board and the Boardwalk reconstruction committee.
“This town has been very good to me,” Mr. King said. “I believe in the power of gratitude. My volunteer work is a way of giving that gratitude back to the town.”