I would like to compliment the Chester Select Board for showing strong leadership at the Wednesday March 15 meeting. I was not thinking ahead so I was surprised by the chairman’s not allowing comments about the UDBs. Once that was stated it made perfect sense that that process was over and we were on to the vote. I wanted to speak about my desire to work with the side proposing zoning overlays in the future but I was thrown off as to what was appropriate. I should have made those comments during public comment. I do think some form of heritage district overlays could preserve our character in some specific areas of our town and I would support that.
For years, I have watched our board beat dead horses hashing things over and over to the smallest detail and getting little done pushing things off week after week. I believe very strongly our town needs strong leadership and that was shown at the meeting.
I’m sure I’ll be on the other side of this at some point but that’s OK. Our board is elected to be in charge and make tough decisions. We give them that purpose and they accept it knowing they can’t make everyone happy. Decisions need to be made in order for us to move forward. Do we sit in the truck debating which lake we are going to fish in or do we go get a line in the water? We need be fishing. We can talk about the next best plan while fishing.
An appeal can change a decision in the court system because there could be a better argument or broader sense of understanding at a higher court level. In this case, appealing the board’s decision will take it to the voters. In my opinion, based on the recent election and the numbers attending the meetings, the decision will be reaffirmed by at least two-thirds margin. People without a horse in the race will not go out to vote and many of those that do will want to show support for the process and what they believe is supporting small business. I believe people making the appeal will be looked at as sore losers who just won’t quit.
Again, we elect and appoint people to do these jobs they are trusted servants. They are put in place to make tough decisions in everyone’s best interest. Board member Heather Chase reiterated that at length. The board had a very good discussion and in the end it was a unanimous vote, something that actually surprised me. There was 100 percent consensus to move the UDBs forward.
Please, please, please do not appeal the decision. I haven’t heard that such a move is in the works. But an appeal will just create more division. Nothing big is in the mix. Everyone on the board said they want to appoint a new planning board and get to work making the UDBs better. Let’s allow that to happen as soon as possible. An appeal will be a meaningless waste of time, energy and tax dollars. Please respect the process even if you are not getting your way. Let’s shake hands and move on to the next round of planning committed to working together.
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