Letter: Deny 2020 study; another one due
In three years, two of which will be spent planning, financing, hiring a consultant, reviewing proposed and visualized town development and understanding residents concerns, needs and desires; the Town of Westport is required by state law to present it's new Town Plan of Conservation and Development.
This plan will need to address all of Westport and not just "the downtown." Given the scope of the task, it raises the question of why the rush to push the Downtown 2020 Committee agenda at this time.
The 2020 group, appointed by the first selectman, is seeking funding from the town to help pay for a consultant whom they have chosen to do what will amount to a 10-year year urban plan. Downtown 2020 is engaged with the Planning and Zoning Commission, which will also have to approve this effort before it can move forward. As the Planning and Zoning Commission is also responsible for the state-mandated Town Plan of Conservation and Development, one would hope they will put a hold on 2020 and allow the town to save significant monies on hiring consultants who would be doing redundant work. Also, as elected officials P&Z is responsible for assuring that before approving a consultants vision, the public has been fully vetted and are active participants in the town planning project.
None of this will be an issue if the Board of Finance, with its fiduciary responsibilities, takes a good look at the whole issue and denies 2020 the funds it is seeking. If it denies the funding, P&Z could review the work done to date by 2020 and see how it could be incorporated into the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.