The Planning Commission deliberated on the wetlands CAO today. They put off their final vote until March 30, but preliminary feedback from the meeting suggests that the Planning Commission reviewed, and amended only marginally, the language of the wetlands CAO. It survived intact and is still largely the same document that attracted overwhelming criticism on March 6.
I have been following w/great interest the controversy concerning all the different aspects of the new CAO rules being considered. I've not spoken up but now feel compelled to do so..
I have watched videos of meetings and have attended two and am voraciously devouring all the letters and opinions concerning this. A couple of things I've noticed.
1. Mr. (Dr.?) Adamus is vague and unable to support his opinions about the "best available science" concerning wetlands he has been using to make his recommendations. And that is despite the time he has put into this and the money he has been paid. He also seems very detached about any outcome and does not seem engaged in his research enough to do any extra work investigating w/out financial reward. Is he a slow reader? Is this a new area of study for him? I was particularly surprised and unimpressed by the fact that nitrogen has been the entire subject of his studies and he didn't seem to have any controls, ie; naturally occurring nitrogen via wild bird excrement, nitrogen producing trees, etc.... Very poorly done! Oh my. In a nutshell, his "studies" don't begin to support the extreme controls being considered. Not by a long shot. I was just SO unimpressed.
2. I have read and listened to opinions and statements by Stephanie Buffum and Janet Alderton concerning the wetlands and find they word things in a way that needs careful listening to decipher. Janet's letter in the Journal last week included an oddly patronizing complement to John Evans thanking him for his careful investigations and then reassuring him that the shovel of dirt issue was indeed being looked at due to his observations. Thanks to John you will consider "allowing" us to turn some dirt w/out permission. I also hear Stephanie saying "existing agriculture" will be allowed to continue. She avoids the subject of "new agriculture" if possible. Or it seems that way to me.
The rules for development being considered for individual lots are not practical. Self-sustaining and productive properties need to become the rule, not the exception. People are becoming aware that they need to grow some of their own food, buy locally, and on and on. To import what can be easily grown here because the permitting is too expensive and rigourous is just ludicrous. Talk about pollution! The freedom to garden is not the freedom that will pollute the earth. The geese and ducks that live in the wetlands are more numerous than the chickens in the coops. Your target is mis-placed.
I cannot in any way support the proposed rules and in fact the strength of argument and rational thought being exressed by the majority of the people against these potential rules far overpower the wishy washy "science" and fear based empty arguments expressed by the people wanting this. That seems so obvious. They have not proven to me the necessity and in fact begin to look foolish.
There is no one who loves the islands more than I do. It has been my home for my entire life and I have seen many changes. I don't want the environment destroyed in any way. But while the intent may be good the method is not. Museum is the word that comes to my mind.
I am sorry to sound harsh but listening to Adamus convinced me this is less than half baked. I have gone from questioning this to being entirely against it.
Sincerely, Deborah Strasser