The headline for the Lumberland zoning rewrite article could have read: “Town turns its back on Route 97,” “Town bans tin roofing,” “Town requires the mapping of six-inch trees in any new projects,” “Town requires 125% performance bond on all mandated landscaping requirements,” “Town can force conservation zoning in all new planning,” “Town demands 19-foot-tall trees,” “Town says no to cultured stone,” or most amazingly “Entire hamlet disappears from town zoning map.”
Not only are these headlines more captivating; they are true. Contradicting the comprehensive plan of 2008 that encourages economic development, the proposed zoning code declares Lumberland closed for business. It makes a mountain of planning for even basic subdivision, and makes business growth too expensive to be possible. It tells its citizens, “We don’t trust you.”
But, in the 11th hour, despite a rescheduling of the hearing to coincide with the holiday concert at the local school, those who could make it spoke against the intrusion of local government into their backyards and pockets. The subhead should have read, “Concerned Citizens say ‘no’ to the proposed zoning code.” Lumberland citizens from all walks of life (not just prominent builders and developers, as The River Reporter would have you believe, stood up and in careful detail explained why the new code was a bad deal for them.
It was democracy at its finest. We have just scratched the surface alerting our neighbors and community.