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Community No More?


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Yesterday was one of highs and lows for me. The high was seeing my son “graduate”/ move up from elementary school and celebrating the future of the class as they head downtown to junior high. The low was seeing our community planning board fail to listen to common sense and the pleas of residents and approving a project that will not only negatively impact the nearby neighbors, but the environment, the surrounding community and potentially the safety of the children who play on the athletic field just a few yards away.

I had planned to attend and speak at last night’s meeting, but ANOTHER meeting (which also impacts the local community) held me up and by the time I was done with that, the public speaking portion of the zoning board meeting, was closed.

I had the following prepared to say:

I’m here to ask you to do the same thing I asked you the last time this applicant came before the board. It’s not to vote for or against. It’s to THINK. Before any action is taken by this board, think.

Do not deny this application just because the neighbors have said how much it will damage the area. Do not approve this application because the applicant has assured you that all will be well. Think and then vote.

Think about the neighborhood. Will approving this application better the area? When all is said and done, will those who live in the surrounding area benefit?

Think about the children of this town, especially those who play on Everett Field, just a few yards away from this project. And the children who attend the two elementary schools less than a mile away from this site. How will your vote impact them?

Think about this town. Is approving this application going to improve our town? Is it going to make it a better place to live? A place where the people feel safe and confident?

Think about the environment. We live in a town that is full of beautiful flora and fauna. Will approving this application hurt it or help it?

Think about all the people who pass through our town every day via Bloomfield Avenue. What impact will this project have on them? Will it shed a positive light on our town? How will this project, when and IF it is finished have them our town?

How you vote this evening affects not just the people in this room. You need to think of the future of this town and the surrounding area before you make your decision. Because in doing so, your decision tonight affects more than just a few people, it affects the future of this town, this county and even this state.

Being a member of this board is a great responsibility. Think carefully before you make your decision.

I am not vain enough to think that my words would have made any difference last night. I am, however, saddened. I believe in my town. I want to see change that will better the community and environment. I want to see developers who want to be a part of the community. (And I know they DO exist.)

After a day of smiles and pride for the future as the elementary school class of 2015 moves into the next phase of their lives, I am saddened that members of my town’s leadership is NOT focused on future and the community’s over all well-being.

Post, first published Thursday June 18, reprinted with permission from Bfth’s Boring Blog.

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Beth Shorten
Beth Shortenhttp://bfthsboringblog.blogspot.com
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona from a long line of life-long Verona residents. She chronicles life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog. 


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