Submitted by Leora R. Levy, RNC National Committeewoman-CT
To the editor:
I support local control of zoning. In any town or city, it is the residents of that municipality who are directly affected by zoning decisions and who therefore have the right to make those decisions, controlling any development in their town or city. It is local residents who should determine through their own directly elected officials the character, scope and direction of development, preservation of the environment, expansion or contraction, aesthetics and future of their own town or city.
Greenwich is a multi-cultural community. We embrace and encourage diversity here. The Housing Authority in Greenwich controls nearly 761 units over 15 properties. The Housing Authority also administers housing for 317 families through the Section 8 Program. A total of 2574 residents are served through all of its programs which include home ownership condominiums, scattered site housing, various developments, Parsonage Cottage.
All residents of Greenwich benefit tremendously from the special small-town character and sense of community, the excellent schools, public parks and recreational facilities in our town. Imposing zoning decisions by officials from other cities who do not answer to the People of Greenwich, who do not live here nor care about the nature of the town will change its special character and potentially spoil it for the generations to come.
Granting authority for Zoning to officials from other cities eliminates the independent right of residents to determine the destiny and direction of their own town.
This is an inherently American right. Our Founding Fathers in The Declaration of Independence clearly state that Governments derive their powers from the consent of the Governed. The residents of Greenwich have no say in the election of officials from other cities and towns and therefore cannot consent to be governed by them nor to accept their decrees and decisions over planning and zoning or anything in the Town of Greenwich.
That would amount to a Usurpation of power and in 1776 was just one of the justifiable reasons “…to throw off such a Government.” Another was that the King had “…subjected us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws;” This would be the case on our local level should officials foreign to Greenwich seize power from our duly elected local Planning and Zoning Commissioners. This would also be analogous to “…taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering Fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures (Greenwich Representative Town Meeting and the Greenwich Board of Planning and Zoning), and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us…”
Furthermore, precedent for local control was established in 1662 in the Connecticut Charter granted by King Charles II to his subjects here:
“Now Know YE, That in consideration thereof, and in Regard the said Colony is remote from other the English Plantations in the places aforesaid, and to the End the Affairs and Business which shall from Time to Time happen or arise concerning the same, may be duly Ordered and Managed, we have thought fit, and at the humble Petition of the Persons aforesaid, and are graciously Pleased to create and make them a Body Politicly and Corporate, with the Powers and Privileges herein after mentioned; and accordingly Our Will and Pleasure is, and of our especial Grace, certain Knowledge, and meer Motion, We have ordained, constituted and declared, and by these presents, for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, Do ordain, constitute and declare, that they the said John Winthrop, John Mason, Samuel Wyllys, Henry Clarke, Matthew Allyn, John Tapping, Nathan Gold, Richard Treat, Richard Lord, Henry Wolcott, John Talcott, Daniel Clarke, John Ogden, Thomas Wells, Obadiah Bowed, John Clerke, Anthony Hawkins, John Deming, and Matthew Camfeild, and all such others as now are, or hereafter shall be admitted and made free of the Company and Society of Our Colony of Connecticut, in America, shall from Time to Time, and for ever hereafter, be One Body Corporate and politique, in Fact and Name, by the Name of, Governor and Company of the English colony of Connecticut in New-England, in America.
And that by the same Name they and their Successors shall and may have perpetual Succession, and shall and may be Persons able and capable in the Law, to plead and be impleaded, to answer and to be answered unto, to defend and be defended in all and singular Suits, Causes, Quarrels, Matters, Actions, and Things, of what Kind or Nature soever; and also to have, take, possess, acquire, and purchase Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, or any Goods or Chattels, and the same to lease, grant, demise, alien, bargain, sell, and dispose of, as other Our liege People of this Our Realm of England, or any other Corporation or Body Politique within the same may lawfully do. And further, That the said Governor and Company, and their Successors shall and may forever hereafter have a common Seal, to serve and use for all Causes, Matters, Things, and affairs whatsoever, of them and their Successors, and the same Seal, to alter, change, break and make new from Time to Time, at their Wills and Pleasures, as they shall think fit. And further, We will and ordain, and by these Presents, forms, our Heirs and Successors, do declare and appoint, that for the better ordering and managing of the Affairs and Business of the said Company and their Successors, there shall be One Governor, One Deputy-Governor, and Twelve Assistants, to be from time to Time constituted, elected and chosen out of the Freemen of the said Company for the Time being, in such Manner and Form as hereafter in these Presents is expressed, which said Officers shall apply themselves to take Care for the best disposing and ordering of the general Business and all airs of and concerning the Land and Hereditaments herein after mentioned to- be granted, and the Plantation thereof, and the Government of the People thereof:
The tradition of Local Control of Local Affairs has a long tradition in Connecticut and should not be violated nor negated in 2021.
Leora R. Levy, RNC National Committeewoman-CT