Letter to the Editor

TO THE EDITOR:

Why vote for an unaffiliated Planning & Zoning (or any) commissioner?

I can only speak for myself, as I’m not prone to knock either the Democratic or Republican party or my fellow candidates. But here are some reasons to reelect me to P&Z that will provide insight as to how I think and what I stand for that would never be based on a single-party platform.

An elected official must represent all voters. Unaffiliated voters represent the second largest group of Weston voters. Larger than Democrats and larger than Republicans. For the last four years, I’ve represented all three groups. If re-elected I’ll continue to serve Republicans, Democrats, and those that are not members of any party equally. A homeowner petitioning the P&Z Commission need not worry that their party affiliation will influence the outcome. Local P&Z issues essentially are not partisan matters, but party politics can influence P&Z decisions, and that shouldn’t happen. Ever.

As I’ve done for the last four years, I’ll continue to make up my mind independently. I’ve never let a party platform, Hartford, or political affiliation dictate to and influence me. I work collaboratively and openly in the belief that I work only for you, my neighbors and fellow residents, not a party boss. Weston town planning needs creativity. Weston needs to implement innovative and community-building planning concepts that will benefit residents now, not 20 years out.

I’ve staked out priorities and recommendations that neither traditional political party has emphasized. To start, there is a tremendous need for greater communication among boards and commissions and especially with our residents. Specifically, we need transparency, more robust minutes, and voice-to-text transcripts of every single planning & zoning and other commission and board meetings. Residents shouldn’t have to struggle to quickly understand what is being said and proposed. It’s just plain wrong to say, “let them listen to the tapes” or to suppress other pathways to generating public engagement in the process.

I’ve also made specific proposals aimed at improving life for both our teens and seniors such as repurposing Town-owned, underutilized Jarvis Academy property for senior housing while preserving the historic look and importance of the Norfield Four Corners entrance to town. Similarly, Town-owned Bisceglie-Scribner property offers greater opportunities for community enjoyment by the younger and more active members of Weston. I’ll continue my quest to create a year-round Bisceglie-Scribner Park with winter ice skating that may even generate revenue for maintenance, a refurbished exercise course, a tween-teen gathering place with a lighted basketball court and, most importantly, an enhanced security system tied to our police department.

And as many Westonites have seen with the now permanent Onion Barn Park and food trucks which I fought for - preferring the possibility of repurposing the iconic Onion Barn into a country coffee shop instead of an ill-conceived two-story office building - I’ll be vigilant to prevent the unwanted, but inevitable, traffic pileups on Weston Road that overdevelopment on either side would entail.

I’ll be your watchdog for the undesirable consequences of over development and poor planning. I’ll fight against turning Weston Road between Norfield Road and Lords Highway into a traffic-jamming, four-lane highway which the new zoning regulations and the proposed village district plan threaten to produce. With equal determination I’ll fight to protect our two-acre residential zoning that safeguards our quality of life and pristine environment.

Clearly, I am all for change if it is reasonable, in character with our town and its history as a rural community, and respectful of the rights of individual property owners.

When you vote on November 2nd, you’ll find my name on the ballot under P&Z in the line designated “petitioning candidate.”

— Harry Falber

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