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08/17/2022 08:00 AM

Take the Blinders Off

There were several meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) that had short-term rentals (Airbnb, VRBOs) as topics for public discussion and Commission education. The original plan was to evaluate writing draft zoning regulations and/or ordinance for review and public hearing. That didn’t happen. Instead, the entire subject was transferred to Town Council to take up as an issue next year and write an ordinance.

The problem with any ordinance is enforcement. This still falls under the Planning & Zoning department and adds another burden to police services. Money and time was spent on a land attorney to educate PZC; that now has to be re-done for Town Council. Only one member attended any PZC meetings which is another good reason to record public meetings to reduce redundancy.

No matter what the ordinance says, the remedy has to include a change to the organizational structure: we need a town planner, a zoning enforcement officer, and full-time engineer. Adding more work to a weak structure that requires oversight, permits, and inspections without seeing the avalanche of development decisions coming next is like a horse with the blinders on. Take the blinders off. In the meantime, get along with your neighbors. This will be an election issue in the next 2023 municipal election.

Lorena Venegas

East Haven