it’s still a work in progress, town officials working on a revision of Warren’s wetlands ordinances should be commended for trying to take care of locals while placating the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
The state agency has taken a “conform at all costs” attitude about runoff and nitrogen pollution, and has put tough demands on Warren as it moves toward requiring nitrogen-reducing wastewater systems in non-sewered homes and seeks to prevent harmful development adjacent to the town’s fragile wetlands.
Recent exchanges between some opponents of the legislation and officials, however, haven’t been helpful. At a meeting Monday night some opponents of a plan to increase the town’s wetlands development buffer from 50 to 100 feet took to name calling, yelling and shouting when they didn’t like what they heard. Though many were rightly concerned that proposed changes would hurt their property values, such bluster and posturing serves no purpose other to antagonize. Worse, it shows a clear lack of respect for the town’s appointed volunteers. By the time of the outburst planning board members had already said several times that they, too, have serious questions about the proposed regulations and want to see changes made before they’re done reviewing them. Why cop an attitude?
Several things are clear after Monday’s meeting. First, the town is under a tough burden to update its regulations to protect its waterways. Second, increasing the development buffer to 100 feet across town, with no exceptions, is not a good idea and needs refinement, at the very least. Third, animosity accomplishes nothing.
Board chairman Fred Massie said Monday that the old line of thinking in Warren, that if you’re against development you’re against the environment, and vise versa, does a disservice to all. It’s hard to argue with that. Working together, with respect and thought, accomplishes much more than yelling and taunts.