PROVINCETOWN — Over the past decade, Erik Borg has been a weekend visitor, a reporter, a bartender, and eventually a year-round business owner and resident here. Now, the part-owner of the Provincetown Brewing Co. is hoping to add selectman to his resume.
A first-time candidate, Borg grew up in Lakeville, Minn. and moved to Boston after college for his first job at a consulting firm. He started coming to Provincetown on the weekends in 2010 and fell in love with it. “I realized I wanted to be in Provincetown more than I wanted to be in Boston,” he said.
Borg soon put his college journalism degree — he went to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities — to use as a reporter for the Provincetown Banner while bartending at the Red Inn on the side. Then, in 2014, he moved to New York City to take a job at a public relations firm. But Provincetown was still the place where his closest friendships and community ties coalesced.
When the dream of opening a brewery with his friend Chris Hartley became a reality, Borg moved back in early 2019 and has lived here since.
“I think I have the perspective and ability to move the needle on some issues that I see as vital to sustaining Provincetown into the future,” the 38-year-old Borg said. “I am somebody who is really good at listening, trying to find common ground, collaborating, and potentially reaching a consensus.”
The number one issue on Borg’s list is no surprise. “Housing is this big white whale of a problem that needs to be addressed from a lot of different angles,” he said. “We need places for people of all kinds to live in order to continue to make this a vibrant year-round community.”
He said that a laser focus on affordable or seasonal workforce housing would fail to capture the scope of the housing crisis in Provincetown. “People who make a decent income, who can’t afford to buy a property here — which is a lot of people — they need housing stock, too,” he said.
Borg said that, if elected, he would want to look at increasing density and elevation limits in neighborhoods outside the historic district. A fan of the inclusionary zoning bylaw that Provincetown passed in 2017, Borg also said he would support altering requirements so market-rate developers would build affordable units directly rather than paying into the Community Housing Trust.
Borg also expressed support for the year-round deed restriction program that just passed at town meeting but said he was interested in policies to improve homeowner participation, such as a future market-rate buyback option. “The program is great only if people do it,” he said.
About short-term rentals, which were the subject of raucous conflict at the recent town meeting, Borg said that certain regulations like banning consolidated corporate operators seemed like “a no-brainer,” while regulations on individual owners would require urgent discussion and consensus.
“I think we’re already far behind in creating some sort of responsible regulation,” he said. Throughout the spring, the select board has discussed waiting for the forthcoming UMass Donahue study on short-term rentals, slated for September, before discussing policies. “When that comes out in September, the board needs to be ready to act,” Borg said.
Borg, who currently serves on the zoning board of appeals and the visitor services board, also named climate change, coastal resiliency, and year-round economic viability as crucial issues the town faces. Borg said that diversity, equity, and inclusion are “a vital imperative for maintaining Provincetown’s place as a haven for creativity and queer culture — all these things we take for granted but shouldn’t,” he said.
But ultimately, he said, “my goal on the board is to really look at most issues through the lens of housing.”
In addition to operating a year-round business that has struggled with staffing, “I feel the housing situation very personally,” Borg, who currently lives at Harbor Hill, said. “There was a time when I had already moved here and my own personal housing situation represented a real risk of submarining the whole dream and operation that we had already started to develop.”
Borg faces three other candidates for the two open seats on the select board vacated by Bobby Anthony and Louise Venden. Voters can choose either one or two candidates at the ballot box on May 9.