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Open space debate back on in Bethlehem

Proposal stokes discussion about plans to buy land

— CACC member David VanLuven said the citizens group over time became gridlocked, and saw this proposal as a way of renewing the effort to preserve open space.

“It's irresponsible for the town not to have an open space program,” he said.

At the end of the evening there was no vote taken, and all that was truly clear is that a debate has been reignited.

“We clearly have two different sets of opposing viewpoints and opinions, and clearly we need to come to a compromise,” Councilman Kyle Kotary said.

Councilman Mark Hennessey said he's glad the discussion is out in the open. He argued that those who want the town to get involved in open space preservation, including members of Bethlehem Tomorrow, do not constitute a special interest group.

“They're your neighbors,” he said. “The fabric of a community is stitched together by the things we share.”

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RichardReevesEllington 2 years, 11 months ago

This article brings up an point that has an important undercurrent. It begs the question as to what type of community, Bethlehem citizens want. One side would have "development" as a priority in order to continually increase the tax base.The development has taken three primary forms: industrial, retail, and apartments. A secondary is private home building on once wooded sites. On the other side are people who place the traditional sense on community, people services and support, and support of existing businesses.

As I have walked Bethlehem, I find a majority putting the traditional community to the fore. When they do support "development" they want it at costs which benefits the Town: living wages for those employed, minimal pollution, and all the infrastructure costs covered by the new businesses and not primarily at the tax payer expense. The net effect of development should be measurable improvement to our community and these improvements explained to citizens before proceeding.

The problem is that all the current data is anecdotal and needs better quantification. This can be collected in town meetings, monthly board meetings, and on line questionnaires. If elected supervisor, I would put this basic question to Bethlehem citizens before proceeding on piece meal approaches.

For more about me please go to bethlehemsupervisor.com

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