Hodge: Plan for future, but retain town's character
I feel privileged to have been given an opportunity to serve the town and residents of Westport as a planning and zoning commissioner.
My family and I have lived in the town for eight years or so. We had other options, but we made the positive choice to live in Westport.
We have gained so much from being a part of the very special and unique environment of Westport, from its obvious natural beauty and charm to the way it provides for its residents.
Westport has a unique character, which is enjoyed by long-established residents and newcomers alike.
We need to ensure that the essential character of this wonderful town is preserved and maintained as it moves with the times in a responsible way.
The Planning and Zoning Commission works best when it accurately understands the needs and wishes of the widest cross-section of the community it serves and then reflects those needs and wishes responsibly.
Change is inevitable, but the Planning and Zoning Commission's reaction to that change is not inevitable.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has the ability to ensure responsible and proportionate growth to meet the present and future needs of the community without damaging the character of the town.
We need to remain true to the goals of the Town Plan, such as:
Preserve and enhance open space.
Create pedestrian connections within open space areas.
Preserve historic structures in order to retain Westport history over time.
Ensure that, as it changes, Westport retains a sense of community, beauty and history.
Minimize traffic congestion.
Facilitate the expansion of sidewalks and bike lanes across town
Provide for community facilities
A responsible attitude to growth has never been more important.