Letter: Guess What Happened While You Were Away for the First Time In Two Years?

To the Editor:

On July 26, the appointed members of the Easton Planning and Zoning Commission held a Special Public Hearing to present the final proposed amendments to Easton’s Plan of Conservation and Development and amendments to Easton’s Zoning Regulations. The meeting was very well attended, and there was overwhelming opposition to P&Z’s proposals. See https://vimeo.com/showcase/7815378/video/582795453.

From that meeting you may well have in the near future:
1) For-profit managed residential homes established next door to your house. What is a managed residential home you ask and how might it impact you? Please watch the video and read this https://www.eastonct.gov/planning-and-zoning-commission/minutes/planning-and-zoning-commission-special-meeting-minutes-42.

2) Managed residential homes for lodging — again approved for residential areas — watch the video.
3) Large pathways, blinking lights, crosswalks, sidewalks, more signage, possibly stop lights all located in lower Easton starting first with the fireman’s green area extending to Town Hall and beyond.
4) A pathway through the woods from Helen Keller Middle School to the Village Store — this even though P&Zs consultant advised multiple times over last few months this pathway was impossible to build.

Despite near unanimous opposition to the amendments, despite the fact that the P&Z and its hired consultant did not have any answers to the questions it permitted to be posed during the meeting; despite the fact that P&Z assured those in attendance it would work to provide those answers but never did, and despite the fact that the obvious flaws in the proposed amendments were not corrected. The P&Z pushed the amendments through on a 4-0 vote on Aug 9. That is a disgrace.

Do yourself a favor and watch the video and read this: https://www.eastonct.gov/planning-and-zoning-commission/minutes/planning-and-zoning-commission-special-meeting-minutes-42. Also watch the follow-on meeting where these were approved. https://vimeo.com/showcase/7815378/video/585419529.

On the one hand during the Aug. 9 meeting the P&Z members note with some pride how well attended the charettte meetings were and used attendance and an informal online poll to confirm its thoughts on the HKMS pathway. Shortly thereafter, the same members are completely dismissive of those citizens’ opinions that turned out and rejected the proposed amendments presented on July 26, opining that this first and only presentation of the final proposed changes was not the right time to raise any objections after so much time was spent getting it ready. The irony. How dare those that live here object to a plan they don’t like and didn’t ask for! How dare they ask for details! How dare they ask how this will all be paid for!

While I acknowledge the P&Z members are appointed volunteers and contribute their time and effort to the town, they are to be representatives. This recent experience demonstrates that the P&Z members are treating the commission as their personal fiefdoms and have served too long and that things need to change. Four unelected people should not have the power to change the character of the town in this manner. At the Aug. 9 meeting and before voting they did not even bother to consider or seriously discuss or correct any issues raised during the special meeting.

That demonstrates a clear disregard of community input when that input disfavors the views of the P&Z members. Although volunteers they are still supposed to represent the views of the community. The members of the P&Z failed spectacularly in their roles as representatives and because of that we need to change our bylaws so 1) any proposed changes to P&Z Plans for Conservation and Development can only be made with approval of a town vote; 2) term limits are imposed on all town committees and 3) bylaws and rules be changed or updated to address voting privileges when actual or potential conflicts of interest exist.

David Antonez