Ridgefield Press Editorial: Planning & Perspective

Check out this recent Ridgefield Press Editorial, which encourages participation in local planning decisions without losing perspective to ensure balance as Ridgefield grows.

Editorial: Planning & perspective

By Steve Coulter on September 29, 2017 

Homeowners are battling what they see as encroachments into residential neighborhoods, and participation makes the process work as it should. But perspective is also helpful.

The Planning and Zoning Commission just turned down a request to remove private clubs as a permitted use, a change sought by the Peaceable Street neighbors worried about an ice skating club. Previously, a rehab facility on Old West Mountain Road was withdrawn after vehement neighborhood opposition. Now a small bed and breakfast on Circle Drive has sparked neighborhood concern.

People are within their rights — and, often, doing a public service — when they get involved, study-up on development plans, attend meetings, speak their minds. But perspective means understanding the process. It’s a balancing of rights: the right to sell land, develop, do business, make a profit; and the right to enjoy a home, a neighborhood, in peace and tranquility.

Mortgage-burdened homeowners can react strongly to what they view as threats to property values. Often people rise up to “protect” against changes that wouldn’t really harm their neighborhoods, wouldn’t send values plummeting.

Planning and Zoning law gives the town authority to introduce order, and set limits: to say no to building an auto racing track next to the senior citizens’ housing. But it doesn’t empower people to halt all change and growth.

Let’s care, participate, speak out. But let’s not lose perspective.

Originally appeared in: https://www.theridgefieldpress.com/95307/editorial-planning-perspective/


Editorial: Winter in July

If you missed this Ridgefield Press Editorial, read more below about why proponents of the RWC proposal are thinking ahead about Winter in July!

Editorial: Winter in July 

By: The Ridgefield Press     July 16, 2017

For all the nice weather we’ve been having this month, it seems all anybody wants to talk is winter.

That’s because a proposed, 250-member skate club on the town’s New York border — in the neighborhood of Peaceable Street and Old South Salem Road, on the old Pinchbeck Nursery property — has stirred up a ruckus.

Yes, we’re talking protest buttons, petitions, and attempts to change the town’s zoning regulations.

Despite the town’s recent championship success, it doesn’t appear that hockey is in vogue.

In all seriousness, what’s drawing the ire of neighbors in the area of the project is the possibility of a high-intensity facility moving in next door.

Previous letters have focused on the aspect that the town’s zoning regulations allow commercial businesses, such as municipal storage buildings, refuse disposal facilities, and “private clubs” — like the one applicant Bud Brown seeks to build.

This week, the editorial page chorus is singing a drastically different tune.

Supporters feel like the depreciating building is in much need of a facelift, and the proposed skate club will bring that to the blighted property.

There’s also the other side’s main argument turned around against them: what if the property was purchased by a waste management company? It is legal.

If the neighbors get their way — and the Planning and Zoning Commission is making them wait on that verdict until Sept. 5, then clubs won’t be allowed anymore in residentially-zoned areas.

That’s a step — at least in their minds — in a positive direction.

But what about other, less desirable businesses? Or even affordable housing developments?

Well, that will leave everybody wishing they hadn’t been so quick and swift to give Brown’s idea the boot.

Speaking of boots, let’s leave them in the closet. It’s summertime, after all.


Originally appeared in: http://www.theridgefieldpress.com/91067/editorial-winter-in-july/