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To The Editor:
Now that the sewage disposal and water bond issues (either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) have gone down to defeat, it would be well to rethink the whole proposal to center growth in Irasville and nearby.
As a former member of the Waitsfield Planning Commission and BOA, I had long been uneasy about the idea that the future of Waitsfield depended on growth in that location. The fact of the matter is that there are many reasons not to foster growth in an already hopelessly fractured, overcrowded center of activity. The wetlands issues, high water tables, air pollution, water and sewage disposal problems make sensible development impossible.
The idea that you can have a pedestrian center where everybody says "Good morning" and walks everywhere cannot be done. Development would be split by Route 100, already in many locations a class C or D traffic nightmare. Has anyone studied the number of trucks running through town on the way to deliver products to Waterbury and Stowe and south to Rutland? How many traffic lights would be required to provide safe Route 100 crossings for pedestrians in the Irasville area?
Rather, I would suggest that the planning commission and select board members take a new look at where a new, additional town center could be located. Perhaps at the Waitsfield Common (once touted as the best location for the capital of Vermont). There are, I am sure, many other possible locations that could be investigated.
If we started with a clean slate, we could build a town with real sidewalks, real parking areas, real grid streets in the right locations (remember how Washington, D.C., was laid out?) We could have local stores as part of the town and that desired mix of residential, commercial and municipal space permitting many of our citizens to avoid using Route 100 entirely except when they are going out of town. We could plan our water system and sewage disposal system in advance. We even might be able to have a real municipal center with town hall, police, fire, ambulance, school in a beautiful preplanned environment.
This is a long-term program, difficult, time consuming and expensive. However, if achieved we will have avoided the senseless cramming of additional development around the Route 100 traffic snarl.
What say you, planners?