Letter: All voices should be heard on Baron's South future
Published 6:41 am, Friday, May 15, 2015
After the apparent lack of commitment by town leaders for the proposed senior housing for the Baron's property, I was heartened to see that the first selectman has asked the second selectman to look at ways to preserve and maintain the property, work on a plan for the long overdue expansion of the Senior Center and explore other possible sites in town for senior housing. But these important decisions cannot be made without input and cooperation from the entire community throughout the entire process.
Town government isn't a private club. As we move forward this time and in the interest of full disclosure and transparency, a committee should be formed which includes a cross section of all of the diverse, interested groups who neither have a personal agenda nor conflict of interest but want what is best for Westport. Any recommendations for using the Baron's property should be presented in public hearings where interested residents will have the opportunity to discuss how we as a community see the future of this irreplaceable resource that belongs to all of us.
As a long-serving member of an elected board in Westport I was disturbed to see the personal attacks made on members of the Planning and Zoning Commission both in letters and at public meetings. The Planning and Zoning Commission decision to designate the Baron's property as open space was challenged, but was upheld by the RTM. Although I didn't necessarily agree with the decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission these kinds of attacks against members of boards have no place in our town. Members of boards and commissions work hard to make the best and fair decisions possible. Making difficult decisions isn't always popular with everyone.
There are significant changes being proposed and discussed for downtown Westport. It is important that all interested persons know that they can come forward, learn the facts and add their voice to town government and that they will be heard.