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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673
802-496-3928
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Let's keep talking

04/05/2007

To The Editor:
All week long people have been stopping me to say they appreciated the piece I had in The Valley Reporter. I have had phone calls, emails and messages from people who have been through the process with commercial and residential permits. It's been amazing. When I said, "Well, write a letter to the editor stating your position or experience so that we can keep the subject in dialogue." That is the only way that anything will get done to correct this attitude. Some said they thought that was a good idea, but the largest number said, "I can't do that, I might need a permit sometime." I find that a stunning statement about how residents feel about our permitting process.
We all know board members and administrators. They are not demons. It is rather the climate that has become the permit process that we need to address. We need to find a way from the adversarial positions taken going into the permit process to seeing each other as partners in growth of any kind, because it is going to happen and it doesn't have to be so hard. I am not going to give the adjectives that I've heard about the permit process in all the towns, but I will say that I am shocked at the vehemence and sour residue that comes from our current process from those who have been subjected to it.

Let's keep talking to each other. Our board members are not gods, they are our neighbors. If we don't talk to them, we had better just accept that we have relinquished the direction our Valley is taking to a system that is not giving us the kind of place that we want. It is not improving or even preserving the life that we came here for but making people feel stifled and afraid to speak up. Is that what we want?

Let's keep talking until the process for growth is what we mean it to be.

Brooke Cunningham
Waitsfield

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