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Article Published April 3, 2019
Never Appropriate
Philip Johnson

I write this letter to address those people who chose to work outside the system to extort enough pressure to get a local eagle scout candidate to withdraw his proposal for Chaffinch Island.

I am not commenting on the project appropriateness, rather on the tone and aggressive nature of some opponents. Change is hard for many, and seeking change to what we have know evokes pushback in some people. I don’t care what project it is, there are some who would rather Guilford remain as Old Guilford.

Here is my problem. Some people chose to contact the 8th-grade scout directly on the phone to voice their objections. That’s not right. This young man did everything right. He and his team brought the project to the Park & Rec Commission (Guilford volunteers) who made a decision to approve the project at Chaffinch Island. They did so with the best of intentions and altruistic spirit.

As Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) chairman, I have received countless direct emails to applications that residents object to. I try to always explain that I have deleted their emails without reading them because there is a public process that should not be tainted by ex parte lobbying.

I’ll conclude with this: It is never appropriate to go after an applicant. The ends do not justify the means. If a resident has a problem, he or she should bring it to the commission or the selectmen. We are a community and better than the discourse that we see nationally.

If your readers are passionate one way or the other, I encourage them to get involved, to volunteer their time to our town and town committees, productively. We have an opening on PZC for those so inclined.

Philip Johnson