Back to the Ordinances

Last night was a great example of democracy in action. Our Special Committee met to review the comments, criticisms and the like that have been received since we made our February presentation to the full RTM.

In addition to FPLAN, we also were visited by CSTOP, a new organization that at first blush seems to exist solely to counter FPLAN. (Later, I was surprised by how much they agreed on specific points.) But, I was heartened to see other citizens, actual homeowners coming of their own volition to come make comments. For most, this was their first time at a public hearing and they were nervous but did just fine.

We got a late start given Standing Committee meetings that night but we got underway just after 8:30 and we allowed the public to speak their mind on each of the three ordinances on the table: a demolition delay, preservation of stone walls, and tree protection. We heard from 10 members of the public, most speaking on more than one of the three ordinances, and they were heart-felt.

It became clear to the committee, though, that people didn’t initially grasp that the demo delay would affect every house in Fairfield. Some also thought there were deep economic issues that would affect the seller while we focused more on the buyer. CSTOP brought tons of paper, which we had fortunately seen an earlier draft of and were prepared. Interestingly, they did bring up some issues we hadn’t considered or ideas that merited discussion but also, they assumed we hadn’t done our due diligence, which I found a little irksome.

Overall, though, it was passionate, well-mannered and informative for all present. After everyone had their say, and we were generous to a fault on that, we moved into executive session to figure out exactly what the next steps needed to be. That debate was also illuminating now that we had a month to consider what had been said.

A lot got said and considered and we are giving ourselves a week or so to get things organized before convening to see new draft language. We may have ended at 11:45 and everyone went home exhausted, but I left feeling very positive about the town I live in.