A Term Ends

We called it a term last night. The RTM met, did its business and adjourned. The next RTM will be after the November election and it’s going to be a very different group of members.

Last night was in some ways a graduation night for the “senior” class as numerous veterans from both sides of the aisle are calling it a career. Many are choosing to continue to (hopefully) serve the town as they run for different positions. Some are just tired and are going home to recharge. The RTM, though, will be the poorer without their race memory, experience and sage wisdom.

Our moderator, Joel Green, is among those stepping down and he gave a valedictory speech last night that typified his tenure. It was compassionate and inclusive as he acknowledged the contributions of everyone from those retiring to the Fairfield beat reporter for the Connecticut Post. We’re going to be much poorer without their participation but to a person, they all feel it’s time for some new blood and some fresh thinking.

I’ve been so focused on losing this senior class that I didn’t stop to consider, until last night, that this could also be my final meeting. After all, with eight people running for five seats in my district, nothing is guaranteed.

Our final agenda was fairly straight forward as we tackled some grant requests, some appointments and then the main event, the decision over the Spruce Street petition to become a Historic District. This has been an emotional issue for the residents and for the town, but it also exposed some serious flaws in how the Historic District Commission works. There is serious upgrading required in how they operate and what is stated in their documentation.

Last week, I abstained at the committee meeting because I needed more time to consider the passionate arguments on both sides of the issue. Driving the street with Deb, we saw why it clearly passed the vote of the residents and why Southport/Fairfield would benefit. At the caucus last night, Cliff Meyers nailed the argument for me. The homeowner objecting to being included, despite the vote, is suspected of looking to cash out, sell his home, build duplexes and maximize his property. If he’s willing to potentially leave the street then the question falls to the RTM as to what will be best for the community. Making it a Historic District was the clear answer. The vote was in favor.

Afterwards, we adjourned to a local restaurant where we feted the retirees. Some who left before the term ended, such as Mary Tinti and Mitch Fuchs, were invited back and it was great to have them there. It was certainly one of the best socialable sodas we’ve had in quite some time.

In two weeks we’ll see what my fate is and then what role, if any, I’ll play in the next term.

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