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


MVPC Commissioners Handbook

MVPC Commissioner Bylaws

MVPC Commission Meeting Minutes

February 16
March 16
April 20


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

Robert Lavoie
Amesbury – MVPC  Chairman
Appointed 2002

Bob was appointed as Amesbury’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2002.  Bob’s depth of experience earned him an appointment several years ago by the Mayor of Amesbury to be the Amesbury Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2002. Bob served as chairman from 2006-2009, vice chairman since 2010 and serves on the Personnel Committee.  Bob also served as co-chair to the Amesbury Master Plan Steering Committee.  Bob was elected to the Amesbury Municipal Council in 2005 and he currently serves as Council President.  His interest in economic development has earned him board appointments to the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council.

An attorney, Bob represents commercial real estate developers, owners and buyers in land development and land use permitting matters, including Brownfields and M.G.L. Chapter 40B affordable housing, as well as representation in connection with complex real estate title matters.

Bob Snow
Rowley – MVPC Treasurer
Appointed 2006

Bob was appointed as Newbury’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2006 and is the Treasurer.  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.

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.

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.october-20-2016-commission-minutes-final-elr

Jim Barnes
Boxford – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed September 2016

Jim was appointed Boxford’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2016. 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.


Georgetown – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed February 2017




Robert Arakelian
Groveland – MVPC Commissioner (Previous Alternate)
 Appointed September 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 Commissioner
 Appointed 2014

Theresa was appointed as Lawrence’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2013.  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.

John Thomas
Merrimac – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 2004

John was appointed as Merrimac’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 2004.  John currently serves as the senior member on the Merrimac Planning Board since 2004. John has a keen interest in the Town of Merrimac, where he has spent most of his life and involved in numerous organizations from sports, service organizations and public service. Being involved with the Planning Board allows you to have a voice in the future of how the Town will look.  John has been instrumental in overseeing the funding and planned reconstruction of Merrimac Square as well as involvement in the resurfacing of Rt. 495 in Merrimac.  John believes MVPC plays a critical role in pooling of the Region’s resources as well as playing a key role in planning aspects and trying to get communities on the same page.

John is a graduate of Northern Essex Community College and University of Lowell with a Degree in Business and works in Sales and Marketing with The New York Times Company.  John resides in Merrimac with his wife Kellie and has 3 grown children with 1 still at home.

Kevin Hagerty
Methuen – MVPC Commissioner
Appointed 1998

Kevin was appointed as Methuen’s Commissioner to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in 1998. He is the longest serving Commissioner currently on the Commission and has served on the Executive Committee for many years in various roles from Vice Chair to Treasurer and the Personnel Committee. Kevin worked for the City of Methuen Planning Department for 30 years until his retirement.  For most of his career he served as Methuen’s Assistant Community Development Director focusing on the planning responsibilities of the Department. Kevin is a graduate of the University Massachusetts at Amherst and lives in Methuen with his wife Dot and is a lifelong resident.

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.

Rick Byers
North Andover – MVPC Commissioner
Re-appointed March 2017

Richard Byers previously served as Chairman of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission from 2012 to 2016 and represented the Town of North Andover on the Commission from 2008 to 2016.  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.

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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