Letter: Do independent lawyers control Ridgefield Planning and Zoning?
To the Editor:
The above question is very relevant as well as disturbing after multiple interactions amongst residents, Planning and Zoning Board members, and developers at a public open comment session held on Sept. 10 in Ridgefield.
Residents from Haviland Road were told a proposed self-storage facility would be at least two miles from them by the attorney representing the developer. Google maps verified that Haviland Road was only 0.6 of a mile from the proposed construction site. Whether on purpose or not, false information was provided by an attorney representing the project, which has potential impact on these residents’ wells. Nothing done, nothing said, the Planning and Zoning chairperson just let the meeting proceed.
Ridgefield’s Conservation Commission was not given answers to questions they submitted in writing after a prior hearing about the proposed development impact. When asked if public comment should be extended until the Conservation Commission could review the answers — which apparently were received on the morning of Sept. 10, but not given to the Conservation Commission — the same attorney said “he would not extend,” which the developer has the right to say if the public comment session was in fact public.
The meeting was not public in my opinion since the attorney appeared to control all decorum. He sighed loudly, interrupted and told residents their question had already been answered, acted in a harassing and demeaning manner, which residents directly expressed to the attorney and the chairperson. Was the attorney reprimanded by the chairperson and public decorum restored controlled by Planning and Zoning? No.
No lawyer representing a controversial development project should be allowed this much control over what information is disseminated to the public in a session that is billed as “public comment.” The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission must hold a continuation of the public open comment on the development of a storage facility on Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7).
Circle Drive East, Sept. 14