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Re: SG-W:/ Pittsfield land use in headlines again


Thanks for your perspective on this.  I hope I didn't leave the impression that
residents' concerns are a NIMBY attitude to be dismissed.  In some cases,
residents do have legitimate concerns about traffic patterns and boards should
always be open to hearing those concerns.  However, there are times when those
concerns, even when they are valid, have to be secondary to interests of public
safety and welfare.  That's where boards earn their keep by making decisions
that can be unpopular and even potentially detrimental to an individual
homeowner.  Sometimes the interests of the community as a whole have to take
precedence over the interest of an individual  Plus, as you pointed out, nobody
likes to hear that what you are doing is for their benefit, as much as anyone
else, when they don't perceive it as a benefit at all.

Even when the roads are connected, too many of these decisions are all or
nothing arguments.  I think a good approach would be to ask the homeowners to
explore and discuss potential traffic calming measures short of closing the road
that might alleviate their traffic concerns.  They could work with the Township
to come to a mutually agreeable solution that would allow the road to remain
open but would reduce safety problems.  You really need to be pro-active in this
regard and use an approach that is inclusive unless you want to fight this
battle over and over again for years to come.  Nobody likes to feel like they
"lost" and the board "isn't listening".  An exploration of traffic calming
measures could give residents an opportunity to be part of the process and allow
them to feel like they have a stake in the process.

Good luck!

Andrew Mutch

jmarine wrote:

> Andrew,
> You make a great point about the difficulty of making a decision on this
> type of road.  I have to admit that I made my vote in favor of this issue
> because the roads were only a relatively small part of the larger package;
> construction of the new Saline schools.  According to our lawyer, if the
> Board voted no on the package, it might possibly delay the construction of
> the schools.  Even trying to change any part of the entire issue, such as
> revisiting the building of this connector road, could unduly impact the
> timing for the construction process.
> I feel strongly that the residents concerns about safety within their own
> subdivision were justified--especially if the students use this as a short
> cut for school or extracurricular activities.  On the other hand, you and
> Tina make important points about the need for these connective roads.  It is
> very difficult to explain to the residents that we want to do this for their
> own good in the face of strong opposition.
> I can only hope that the road is more benificial than the potential hazard
> it might become.  Otherwise, I take the Supervisor at his word that we can
> revisit this issue in the future.
> Respectfully Yours,
> Jeffrey Marine

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