Dear Mr. Hallisey:
I was surprised to see a letter by Barbara Collura in the Jan. 30th edition of The Spotlight that I believe was filled with misunderstandings and I hope thoughts from another perspective will provide some corrections and benefit everyone including the letter’s author.
First, the statement that residents aren’t being heard in the Comprehensive Plan Update process seemed concerning to me, as the process has only started. Four community forums have been held in the last nine weeks, and three more are scheduled in the next two months. And, more are planned after that. I have attended each of these four forums to date and found that transparency and open communication are hallmarks of the process, not weaknesses. Community participation is present and encouraged. I also plan to attend the others, to continue to be part of and to understand the process as fully and be as participative as possible, and to provide feedback. I have also read our current Comprehensive Plan. I am deeply concerned about the development issues and retaining the town’s character as well as looking at important and necessary sustainability issues.
Second, the claim that “there is nothing the town can do about development and they must allow landowners to do what they want” couldn’t be further from the truth. For more than three years, I have been following these issues, attending town meetings and have found Supervisor VanLuven, as the Town Supervisor and previously as a Town Board member, asserting exactly the opposite, I quote the following; “ that the town not only has the authority to guide development, it has an obligation to.” One must be aware that the development we see at this time has been in the planning stages for years and was started before the current Supervisor and this Town Board’s terms.
As I see it, Supervisor VanLuven is leading our town in a comprehensive planning effort because he wants us to move past unproductive bickering and into practical, effective, and legal solutions. He has us on a positive path. Let’s all support and participate in this effort by attending the community forums, or reaching out to talk to him, and Town Board members directly. I’ve always found his and the Board member’s “doors” to be open, and I know you will too. Our Supervisor and Board members minds are not made up. I have experienced working on issues with them where the law and codes supported such, plans were changed for the betterment of this wonderful town we love so much.
I would like to end complimenting Ms. Collura’s stated action items that are a positive reflection of this town’s administration and current goals; make your voice heard, get involved, advocate for smart planning and for the preservation of open space (and agricultural lands.)