Carolanne Curry is a 20-year resident of Saugatuck. She’s concerned about possible changes to the neighborhood — and about the process. She writes:
It was painful to hear the response given to Helen Garten at the last Transit Oriented District meeting.
Speaking as a public member attending the 8 a.m. session, Helen questioned the gap of understanding between the TOD committee members appointed by the 1st Selectman, and the frustrated “Don’t ruin our community” members of the public, who have religiously attended this dance marathon of TOD meetings for over a year.
Helen said that public input is not acknowledged to any degree in the TOD report that is shaping up to account for the $450,000 in state money spent by Westport to create a design plan to improve transportation at our transportation center.
The response from those conducting that TOD session was that Helen perhaps had not attended a sufficient number of meetings, or else she wouldn’t be asking that question.
A comment about attendance was nowhere near appropriate. The right response would have been:
The TOD committee members understand that 1) development, 2) intensity of development, and 3) the inevitable “overdevelopment” of Saugatuck Center is the pursuit of this TOD committee. Even if it results in the loss of identity, community and history.
This appears to be one more battle between the forces of artificially forced development, and those who encourage relevant and organic growth of a community.
Hats off to Helen for warning that community input was not being acknowledged.
One of the final 2 TOD meetings is again at 8 a.m. — tomorrow (Tuesday, January 30, Town Hall). The public must keep asking questions about increased traffic and development in Saugatuck center.