Submitted by Peter Crumbine
The residents of Greenwich have always had a deep sense of pride in our Representative Town Meeting. What most people don’t know is that the Greenwich RTM is the fifth largest legislative body in America, trailing only the US House of Representatives and three state legislatures. We place a high value in the ability of our volunteer legislature, committees, boards and commissions to act responsibly and in the best interests of our community. All one has to do is attend an RTM meeting to see how seriously we take this charge.
This framework has worked well for Greenwich. We are a true success story in the mold of traditional, New England citizen driven government. It serves as both a link to our past and a bridge to our future. It is with this in mind that we are very troubled by legislation in Hartford that aims to encroach upon, if not outright usurp the authority of our local Planning and Zoning Boards.
This proposed legislation will have a negative impact on our ability to maintain our community character and allow our P&Z Board to make decisions that strike a balance of what works best for our community. Instead it aims to give Hartford the ability to decide what is best for towns like Greenwich, and will force upon us a one size fits all mandate of affordable housing construction and development.
We believe this effort will be countered most effectively by a local bipartisan effort. Yet while Greenwich Republicans have made their opposition to it clear, local Democrats have not. This is disappointing.
Greenwich is a very diverse and inclusive community. Our residents pride themselves as much for our rich cultural diversity as our beautiful shoreline and backcountry landscapes.. Nowhere is this better exemplified than at the annual United Nations Day at Julian Curtiss Elementary School, where students from over 60 different cultural backgrounds march in a parade and proudly wave the flag of the nation they represent. This event is truly the greatest ambassador for the diversity of Greenwich.
As Republicans, we believe that efforts to take control over such a cherished part of our local government is an example of government overreach and social engineering. This is not in the best interests of our community. It strips away from us an essential element of our local independence. That is our ability to decide what our buildings look like, and how each structure fits into the fabric of their respective neighborhoods. We believe this is an inherently American right, and we should fight to retain it.