After a year and half of public discussion, recommendations from a work group and the planning board as well as an independent planner review, questions around the east side re-zoning proposal continued to crop up at the last Select Board meeting.
Among the most notable were comments from a Select Board member who is now wondering if an even wider view shed on the east side would be a good idea. The board member questioned whether a 20-foot view corridor is wide enough. According to the well-respected engineering firm, Gorrill Palmer, a 20-foot view corridor in the east side zone, from the street to the water, can be five to six thousand square feet. Common sense tells us that with the limited lot sizes in this zone, increasing the view shed even wider would simply further impede economic development. In its current form, the proposed view corridors, in conjunction with side setbacks, already significantly impact design and development potential on these relatively small lots.
As we watch nonprofits continue to take properties off our tax rolls, we have to ask ourselves how will those dollars be replaced? In a town that is aging, I can’t imagine that increasing the tax burden on our senior residents is a good idea. Our schools already have millions of dollars in deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed – how will we pay for that? The continued efforts by a few to restrict responsible development and the resulting negative impact on local business means every taxpayer will need to pay more in order to raise needed revenue to just keep our local schools open. As all of us search for ways to be good neighbors, it’s time to stop looking for new ways to kill development. More than 70 businesses supported a petition for responsible development – let’s hope our Select Board heard that. There are more than just a couple of voices in these meeting rooms and the business community, comprised of residents and non-residents, needs to be taken seriously.