About Us


We’re a team player. And our team is made of up representatives from each municipality—one member appointed by the planning board, an alternate appointed by town officials. Thank you one and all for your contribution and service.

Local Technical Assistance Program

The purpose of the program is to provide professional Technical Assistance to each member community of the Commission. Each member community has been allocated free Technical Assistance time for the fiscal year.  This time may be used in any way a community chooses; for example: planning, zoning, subdivision, and grantsmanship assistance.

Local Technical Assistance Form

Local Technical Assistance Procedure

Community Commissioner Alternate
Amesbury Robert Laplante
Andover Lisa Schwarz
Boxford Jim Barnes  (Treasurer)
Georgetown John Cashell
Groveland Robert Arakelian
Haverhill April Der Boghosian William Pillsbury
Lawrence Theresa Park  (Chairwoman) Abel Vargas
Merrimac Keith Pollman
Methuen Rebecca Oldham William J. Buckley
Newbury John Weis Martha Taylor
Newburyport Ed Ramsdell (Secretary) Bonnie Sontag
North Andover Rick Byers Jean Enright
Rowley Robert Snow (Vice Chairman) Joe Perry
Salisbury Lou Masiello Jerry Klima
West Newbury Brian Murphey
Rep. at Large Brad Buschur Heather McMann


Commission Handbook March 2018

MVPC Commissioner Bylaws

MVPC Commission Meeting Minutes

Jan 18              April 19           Sept 20         December 20
Feb 15             May 17             Oct 18
March 15        June 21            Nov 15

Feb 16              May 18              Oct 19
March 16         June 15             November 16
April 20           Sept 21               Dec 21

Feb 18              May 19             December 1
March 17         Sept 15               
April 21           October 20

Jan 15              April 16          October 15
Feb 19              May 21           November 19
March 19         Sept 17           December 17

Sept 16
October 16
November 20
Dec 18

Commissioner Bios

MVPC_Logo No Text
Robert Laplante
Amesbury – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2018



Lisa LaGrasse Schwarz
Andover – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2016

Lisa was appointed as Andover’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2016. Lisa has worked as the Senior Planner in Andover since 2001.  In addition, Lisa has recently served on the Board of the Merrimack Valley affiliate of Habitat for Humanity and Boston Children’s Hospital CSG.  She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association.  Lisa also served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa as an education and environmental volunteer.

She is a graduate of Clemson University’s College of Architecture and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Design.  She lives in North Andover with her husband and two children.

Jim Barnes
Boxford – MVPC Treasurer
Appointed September 2016

Jim was appointed Boxford’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2016 and elected as Treasurer beginning July 2017.  From 2008 to 2016 he served as Community Development Director for the City of Lawrence, MA. In 2008 he retired as Deputy Regional Administrator in the Boston Office of the U. S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), after 36 years in various management positions in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Boston.

Prior to joining HUD Jim served as a VISTA Volunteer with a nonprofit housing corporation in Milwaukee. He graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a B.A. in economics in l969, and received a MBA from DePaul University. He currently maintains a small community development consultancy practice providing technical assistance nationally to state and local governments.


John Cashell
Georgetown – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed February 2017

John was appointed as Georgetown’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in February 2017.  John is the Town Planner for the Town of Georgetown.

John has over 30 years of professional municipal, state and federal government experience.  For the past 14 years served as the Town Planner for Hudson, NH, specializing in supervising and directing land use and economic development activities. Prior to this position he served for a short period of time as the part-time Town Planner for both Tewksbury and Georgetown, MA. Before that he served 16 years as Planning Director for the City of Woburn, MA.  For the past 11 years John served as the Town of Hudson, NH representative to the Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) and 12 years as the City of Woburn representative to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

John graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Master of Science Degree in Public Affairs. He also served 3 years active and honorable service (1975-1978) Fourth Infantry Division, United States Army.  He lives in Woburn with his wife and two children.

Robert Arakelian
Groveland – MVPC Commissioner
 Appointed 2016


April Derboghosian

April Der Boghosian
Haverhill – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed  2014

April was appointed as Haverhill’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2014.  April serves on the City of Haverhill Planning Board.

April is an Attorney with a solo practice, primarily handling indigent criminal defense cases.  A native of Haverhill she resides with her husband Ken and two children (Emma (18) and Harry (15).  April attended Emmanuel College and N.E. School of Law, Boston

Theesa ParkTheresa Park
Lawrence – MVPC Chairwoman
 Appointed 2014

Theresa was appointed as Lawrence’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2013 and elected as Chairman beginning July 2017.  Theresa serves as Planning Director for the City of Lawrence.

Theresa Park is an urban planner with 20+ years of experience in economic and community development. The bulk of her professional planning experience is in municipal government, including cities of Lawrence, Lowell, Newton and Cambridge, but she has also worked in non-profit and private sectors. In fact, her planning experience in Massachusetts was launched at the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission. Theresa is involved with various community based organizations – EforAll, Immigrant Learning Center, the Acre Family Childcare to name a few. When not in the office, she’s busy plotting her next international travel adventure.

Theresa received her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from University of Massachusetts – Amherst.


MVPC_Logo No TextKeith Pollman
Merrimac – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2017

Keith was appointed as Merrimac’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2017.

Rebecca Oldham March 2018 2Rebecca Oldham
Methuen – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2018

Rebecca was appointed as Methuen’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2018.  Rebecca serves as Senior Planner for the City of Methuen. 

Before working with the City of Methuen, Rebecca served as the Staff Planner for the Town of North Andover and also worked in the State Legislature.  A native of Methuen she currently resides with her husband Matt and two children, Jack and Ryan, in Amesbury.  Rebecca received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Suffolk University and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Suffolk University. 

weis-john107John Weis
Newbury – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2014

John was appointed as Newbury’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2014.  Elected to the Newbury Planning Board in 2013, and now serving as its chair, John Weis teaches part time at Boston University where he is a Lecturer on Development and Urban Land Use Policy.

He started his career with the Boston Redevelopment Authority where he served as the Director of Community Planning and later founded the City’s Neighborhood Development Agency. For 12 years he was a real estate developer specializing in adaptive reuse projects. For 16 years, he held various positions with the San Jose (CA) Redevelopment Agency, the most recent as its Assistant Executive Director.

Ed Ramsdell
Newburyport – MVPC Secretary
 Appointed 2008

Ed was appointed as Newburyport’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2008 and serves  as Secretary of the MVPC since 2011.  Ed is a member of the Newburyport Zoning Board of Appeals and has served as Chair of the ZBA since 2003.

Ed retired as Chief of the Economic and Industry Analysis Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in 2005 after a 27-year career with USDOT.  He had previously worked in transportation consulting and operations in the private sector.  Ed currently maintains a small law practice and transportation consultancy in Newburyport.

Rick Byers
North Andover – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2012

Rick was appointed as North Andover’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2012.  Rick served as Chairman of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.  Rick also served as a member of the North Andover Zoning Board of Appeals, from 2003 to 2016, and was a founding member of the North Andover Housing Partnership Committee.

Rick maintains a general law practice in North Andover with an emphasis on real estate and land use law.   Rick is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BA in Political Science and received his law degree from Western Michigan University.  He has also completed the requirements of the Economic Development Academy at the University of New Hampshire and is an adjunct faculty member at Endicott College where he teaches real estate and planning at the Van Loan School of Graduate Studies.  Rick has lived in North Andover since 1998 with his wife Terri and two daughters, Jenna and Olivia.

Bob Snow
Rowley – MVPC Vice Chairman
Appointed 2006

Bob was appointed as Newbury’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2006 and is the Treasurer and elected as Vice Chairman beginning beginning 2017.  Bob first began serving in government by becoming the Town of Rowley’s representative to the MVPC back in 2006. Since then he has served as an alternate and elected member on the Rowley’s Planning Board, as Commissioner to the Town of Rowley’s Light Board and Chairman of the Town of Rowley’s Board of Selectmen.

Bob is retired and has over 40 years experience in Telecommunications in both Management and Engineering, is presently the 2012-2013 President of Ipswich Rotary and a former Marine Corps veteran. He is married with one daughter and 6 grandchildren.

Louis D. Masiello
Salisbury, MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2010

Lou was appointed as Salisbury’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2010.  Lou’s commitment to public service to his community by way of serving on various boards, commissions, and non-profit service organizations.  He is a past chairman of the Salisbury Board of Health and is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Salisbury Cable TV and Media Center, Inc. and for the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association and is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Salisbury Beach Partnership, Inc. and is a volunteer for Roof Overhead Collaborative, an organization which serves the needs of the homeless in the greater Newburyport area.  He also serves as vice chair of the Salisbury Planning Board and chair of the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee.

Lou received a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering from Lowell Technological Institute in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1960 and a Master of Public Administration from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts in 1975.

His working career as an engineer and program manager included four years in the defense industry and forty years in service to the United States Defense Department as a civilian engineer, most of which was served at the Air Force Electronic Systems Center (ESC ) at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Lou retired from Air Force civilian service in 2002 and was honored with a medal for Outstanding Civilian Service to the Department of the Air Force.  As a hobby and avocation, Lou plays drums in area bands. Lou is married to the former Dianne Noe of Medford and together they have three married children and eight amazing grandchildren.

Brian Murphey
West Newbury – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2010

Brian was appointed as West Newbury’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2010.  A resident of West Newbury for nearly 30 years, Brian has been an elected member of the West Newbury Planning Board since 2004 and served an alternate for two years prior.  Brian has also served in the past as a member of the Workforce Housing Trust and the Community Housing Committee in efforts to bring affordable housing options to the Town.

He is currently employed in a facility management role at a bank in the Greater Boston.

Brad Buschur
MVPC Rep-At-Large
Appointed 2011

Brad was appointed as Rep-At-Large to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2011.  Brad is a Project Director with Groundwork Lawrence where he is responsible for community outreach and overseeing the design and construction of open space improvements in Lawrence.  This includes the Campagnone Common, the Spicket River Greenway, the Merrimack Riverwalk Trail, and the Manchester Lawrence Branch Rail Trail.  He is also responsible for managing Lawrence’s network of community and schoolyard garden sites

Prior to working for Groundwork Lawrence, Brad worked as a Landscape Designer on park projects in Boston as well as designing large campuses in Russia and Pakistan.  He has worked for developers on transit oriented design projects as well as for land conservation organizations to protect important habitats through acquisitions and conservation easements. Brad holds a BA in Urban Planning and Political Science from Miami University and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from University of Massachusetts.



We've been around for over 50 years, governed by a simple vision: plan, develop and promote sustainable development of Merrimack Valley by efficient use of regional resources.

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