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Lumberland: a careful zoning process

October 13, 2011

A recent letter to the editor (“Bravo, Tusten””) suggests that the zoning update process pursued by the Town of Lumberland has been somehow lacking in open process and expert advice, and compares unfavorably with the process in Tusten.

As an assistant to the work of the Lumberland Zoning Rewrite Committee, and for the record, I would like to assure the residents of Lumberland that the zoning rewrite process, including proposed protective zoning against gas drilling, is virtually identical to that going on in Tusten: a careful exploration of our legal rights, conducted with full public access and expert advice, resulting in prudent action based upon those rights and the expressed wishes of the community.

Like many others, I am mystified by the continued criticisms voiced by someone who has not bothered to participate in the Lumberland process in any meaningful way, and his continued, increasingly personal attacks on good, hard-working citizens who are giving their time and energy to their communities.

And now he insinuates that Lumberland is without many things Tusten has, including “a professional and experienced planner.” For the record, our consultant is an associate planner with Sullivan County Division of Planning, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is eminently qualified for the job. She has worked tirelessly for two years as advisor to the Lumberland rewrite committee, and we have all been impressed by her expertise.

It is possible for people of good will to disagree about the substance of some of Lumberland’s new zoning provisions. That is a matter for calm discussion. But that discussion becomes impossible when it is framed in nasty innuendo and baseless attempts to discredit others. This is not about scoring personal points. It is about the most powerful and destructive industry on the face of the earth, ready to advance into our forests and fields. It’s about working together as a community to figure out how to protect our land, air and water. With so much at stake, we can’t afford to be distracted from our purpose.

Peter Comstock
Glen Spey, NY