TO THE EDITOR:
Dear Members of the Historic District Commission -
Work travel will prevent me from participating in your upcoming meeting when you will continue your consideration of the proposed Library improvements. I write as someone who, like each of you, has been called on to make difficult decisions in the interest of serving Weston.
I most recently served the Town as a member of the Survey Committee that designed and managed the Town-wide sentiment gathering initiative. A clear message apparent in the survey results is a very strong desire for improved infrastructure and locations that draw in members of the community in the “heart” of Weston, that is, its commercial center and its Town buildings. We have the opportunity to accept one of the most significant gifts in Weston’s history to bring our little Library (where I served for several years as a member of the Board) into a new age, one that recognizes that libraries can be true community centers and much more than a storehouse for books.
Your deliberations, as summarized in press and first-hand reports, appear heartfelt and, as noted above, in keeping with sentiments on what’s best for Weston. I strongly believe, however, that the concept of what fits the requirements of a historic district is not a binary one, and that preservation purely for the sake of preservation will exacerbate a problem of which we are all too aware - the dearth of amenities to attract new generations of residents to enable Weston to continue to thrive. The proposal you are considering is exemplary of such an amenity and I strongly recommend that you consider the proposal in a broader light, one that melds the “historic” portion of your mandate with the needs of an evolving community.
When I served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, I was mindful of where judgment could extend beyond a simple reading of rules and regulations. I wanted to get at what made sense, in keeping with the spirit of the regulations but recognizing that those regulations were put in place at a certain time and that I could play a role in helping those regulations evolve. I encourage you all to use this same spirit to look at the expansion proposal as a guidepost for how our Town’s history can evolve by incorporating what’s historical with what’s needed. In the broader context of what will make our community even more desirable, an extra inch of height, more panels of glass or blocks of stone, and similar considerations are but one, and certainly should not be, the sole deciding factor. There is no one correct aesthetic. A new and improved Library will be a huge benefit to the community, and I believe approval will allow you members of the Commission to be proud of your willingness to marry your views with the overwhelming desire of the community to accept this once-in-a-generation donation.
Mr. Muller is a former Member of the Library Board, Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Finance, and Board of Selectmen.
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