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What is unacceptable?

11/06/2008

By Tom Allen

A letter to the editor in The Valley Reporter October 16 stated that the writer found the Moretown Select Board letter to the community group "Common Cents" unacceptable. Since the letter was simply a factual reporting of the events related to the legal process and requirements of a disputed proposed location of a rock quarry in an agricultural-residential district, I find it difficult to imagine what is unacceptable.

 

 

Perhaps the objection is to the continued cost. The select board letter outlines the process and associated costs. The projected total cost when factoring in the population estimate of the last census, is slightly more or less than $2 per month per person. Sounds like a pretty good deal for the cause of law and order, i.e., enforcement of the Town Plan and zoning regulations. The author of the letter to the editor finds the investment in supporting the town's regulations and plan "unacceptable."  

The group rejects the select board decision to defend the Town Plan and zoning regulations from being circumvented by a developer. The Town Plan and regulations were supported by the majority of voting citizens of the town either by directly voting for zoning regulations or indirectly for the Town Plan by voting for the select board.

The select board is charged with performing duties in conformity with the Constitution of the state of Vermont and their duties are outlined in state statute. They have taken an oath of office to perform those duties as outlined by law. The "Common Cents" group is asking that select board members violate their oath of office, not an insignificant assault on the cause of law and order.

At a public meeting they were advised that the process of elections was available to them. They, however, have taken the approach to disregard this process. If they indeed have the support of the people that they claim, they should have no trouble changing the Town Plan and zoning regulations through the process of elections.

After an election, whether for officers or for articles, being a citizen is not a multiple-choice activity. We do not select those laws, ordinances or regulations to which we will abide, at least not without penalty. In fact, one person stated in a public meeting that he wouldn't pay taxes ($2 per month or so) to support the legal defense of the town. That individual, no doubt reasonable in every other way, has missed the point of why we have governments.  

If we all could pick up our marbles and go home by disregarding our obligation to others in our community we would be in a fine kettle of fish. I, among many others, receive little benefit for the taxes paid to the town. I have no children in school and live on a state highway. The funds I pay to support roads, bridges and schools are paid by me and many others to support the needs of my fellow citizens, and I do it gladly.

I only expect reciprocity. My fellow citizens should support those parts of town services that benefit me as I have supported what benefits them. Zoning regulations and the Town Plan are designed not only to protect my environment from encroachment by inappropriate development but for all citizens of the town as well. The rules apply to all and benefit all even though all did not vote in favor of the rules.

The "Common Cents" group should consider the benefit they receive as well as those that they do not want to support.

Allen lives in Moretown.

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