Town Employee Q&A with Benjamin Delaney, Westerly’s new associate town planner

Town Employee Q&A with Benjamin Delaney, Westerly’s new associate town planner

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As planning associate, what are your duties and responsibilities?

The planning associate is responsible for assisting the town planner, other Department of Development Services personnel and various boards and committees with short-term and long-term municipal planning activities. This assistance includes collecting and analyzing data, reviewing administrative subdivision applications, performing special projects, as well as any items or issues requiring attention, and providing citizen service for the general public, among many other duties and tasks.How did you get into planning and what drew you to the field?

In my senior year at university, I came across a documentary film (“Urbanized”) which I immediately connected with. The documentary focuses on the process of urban design through several case studies and interviews with notable influencers, urban planners among them. After receiving my undergraduate degree and returning to Westerly, I decided to explore planning through the local resources I knew were available – the Westerly Library and open meetings. I had the intention to still pursue my earlier career choice (foreign service officer) but with each book I read, my passion for planning became more and more self-evident. Planning is a fantastic profession because it allows me to “think globally, act locally.”

What is the significance of good planning to the Town of Westerly?

The Town of Westerly is a really unique community in that we have so many assets available to us within our municipal boundaries. Good planning ensures that these existing assets are preserved to maintain the quality of life our community has today and that new assets will emerge to further improve the quality of life that we, our neighbors and our successors can enjoy.

When did you start working for the town?

After attending a few meetings of the Planning Board and introducing myself to Marilyn Shellman, the town planner at the time, I applied to be the recording secretary for the Planning Board and the Comprehensive Plan Citizens’ Advisory Committee and began my role in January 2015. From January to May of that year, I also spent a few hours each week assisting the Planning Office with collecting data. After also becoming the recording secretary for the Board of Finance and performing a small-scale project, I was raised to part-time employment in January 2016. I have been serving as the planning associate for the town since February 2017.


More about Benjamin Delaney

Age: 25 years old

Hometown: Westerly

Education: Suffolk University Class of 2014 Bachelor of Arts, Government (concentration in International Affairs).

Hobbies: Reading, Netflix and fun facts

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