To the editor:
The recent Westport Master Plan Update survey, distributed to all taxpayers, is quite an eye-opener. It appears to be making the assumption that the majority of people in Westport want to see growth and development come to our town. The questions relating to growth and development, and in particular, the questions concerning the “need” for municipal water and sewer infrastructure are slanted toward making people think this infrastructure will be a necessity.
What makes the current Planning Board members think that growth and development requiring municipal water or sewer resources is needed in Westport? Westport is, by its very nature, a rural, pastoral and agricultural community; a scenic rare gem in Southeastern Massachusetts. Most people who move and live here do so because of these very qualities.
Westport does not need municipal water or sewer, and if this does occur, it opens up a Pandora’s box that cannot be shut. Once farms are subdivided and sold, once green space and forests are lost, there is no going back. Westport is surrounded by developed communities; if people want to see what happens when growth occurs, one only needs to look at our neighboring Massachusetts communities, or look across Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod. Is this what we want?
The Cape has virtually become loved to death by the influx of people, growth and development. Ironically, those drawn to living on the Cape loved its inherent qualities, but only until they moved there. Newcomers then sought to change the very nature of what attracted them in the first place, desiring the amenities of whatever ‘big city’ or its suburb they moved from.
Very few places still reflect the charm and grace of the past Cape Cod. Beautiful classic Cape homes are razed and the McMansions built to replace them loom lot line to lot line. Farms and fields have been destroyed by development, wildlife habitat is disappearing, and the quality of life has been changed forever. Is this what we want to see Westport become?
I think not. I believe that Westport should continue to be proud of its rural nature and be proud of the fact that Westport is special and different from other places. It is what draws us here, keeps us here and it is a place that others seek for its scenic beauty, and undeveloped character.