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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673
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To grow or not to grow

06/05/2008

To The Editor:

Waitsfield voters go to the polls to decide the fate of the town's water project, so it's important they have the facts. A positive vote commits the town to putting in municipal water, with water system cost to be paid entirely by grants and user fees. Using the water system will be entirely voluntary and only users will pay for the system. They alone will pay the costs of the system installation and its maintenance, but the entire town will benefit. Wells in the same area as the town well will still supply their permitted flow rates, as required by the town's state permit.

If the water system is paid for by the people that most directly benefit from it, and there is no impact on other wells, what is the problem with developing this critical piece of infrastructure? It seems that this is about town growth for many voters.

That Waitsfield could look like Stowe or certain parts of New Jersey seems to scare voters from anything that facilitates more growth. There seems to be no confidence that the town boards and planning commission will limit bad growth and support good growth, although historically we see the opposite. Waitsfield is regarded as a model of good planning but is now up against some tough planning obstacles because it lacks critical infrastructure like municipal water.  

If this vote is not about water, then it is surely about growth. Many want to see the door closed, or maybe just not opened, to more people, more businesses or more anything. That is our right, although, is it realistic in the broader context? The town population has continued to grow at a constant rate without the water, so it's more a question of where and how fast development will occur, rather than if it will happen.

I ask the voters to think about this from the perspective of whether they want to see the town go forward into this century with a healthy attitude about growth, and with the tools to plan and control it, or to just say no. Either way, it's your choice.

Bill Parker

Member Waitsfield Select Board

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