To the editor:
In a recent news article covering the strong opposition expressed by Tiverton residents to a Seasons 24-hour gas and mini-mart proposal, Tiverton Town Administrator Chris Cotta …
To the editor:
In a recent news article covering the strong opposition expressed by Tiverton residents to a Seasons 24-hour gas and mini-mart proposal, Tiverton Town Administrator Chris Cotta stated that the proposal “falls within the legitimate uses allowed for the property by Tiverton's zoning ordinance and comprehensive community plan.” In doing so, he usurped the role of the planning board and attempted to substitute his own uninformed judgment for theirs.
As town administrator, Mr. Cotta should not be making any statements of any kind on any project that is before the planning board for hearing and decision. The town charter does not grant him jurisdiction over land use and development, and he is unqualified to play any role whatsoever. Not only is it obvious that Mr. Cotta has not read the zoning act, but he clearly has not read the comprehensive plan. It’s also obvious that he did not even listen to the many residents who spoke at the public hearing on the project and who pointed out specific sections of the comprehensive plan that the proposed project violates.
Mr. Cotta’s statement undermines the planning board in its deliberative process, along with the zoning board, which must rule on the developer’s request for two special use permits and a dimensional variance for signage for the project. Cotta’s pronouncement also sends a strong signal to any developer that he is the person to see if you wish to get something through the regulatory process of the town.
Mr. Cotta needs to withdraw his statement and the town council should publicly censure his conduct.