At least on a local level, it certainly does. As much as citizens, city councilors and the general public goes, it can be tedious and annoying. It can be messy. And at times, those who have taken a position on a debate may panic and feel like they have lost control. On my part, I rejoice and am very confident for we have just witnessed a fine example of how it works.
The Committee of the Whole public hearings have been the closest I have seen recently to an old-fashioned town hall meeting. All the parties or the representatives of the parties were present. Most city councilors were present. Concerned citizens were present. The Planning Board was in attendance. Special interest groups were there such as conservationists, environmentalists, neighborhood associations and developers.
IF THE RE-ZONING HAD PASSED IN CITY COUNCIL WITHOUT COMMENT, WE WOULD NOT HAVE THE SITUATION WE HAVE AS I WRITE TODAY:
The developer, Tropic Star, has offered to pay and to work with the State to re-vamp and fix the traffic mess at Storey Avenue.
The developer, Tropic Star, has put on paper in a legal contract, commitment to offer open space and to pay for its maintenance and provide for a trail system.
The developer, Tropic Star, has committed itself to providing in a legal contract, all its promises that it has offered to the City.
The City knows now that the Dunkin’ Donuts, gas station, Woodman Way, Russell Terrace & Noble Street points have to get resolved and have re-asserted it as a political priority.
This is why I am excited over all the opponents to the local historic district expansion. Each objection becomes a teachable moment or causes us to dig for more facts. The more false assertions are made, the more we must do research to find the truth. As a Christian, I know that is how the Church’s doctrines were created over the centuries. Some cult or religious movement would create a false doctrine and claim it as truth. Christians would run to their Bible and find out what the facts were on a particular issue – arguments would be made until the true information was presented – then the Scriptural truth would be set down in writing.
Thanks to the opponents’ false claims, we now know the following:
There was a semi-LHD in place for our Downtown but we lost it.
There are dozens of examples of historical house abuses and demolitions.
That our very economic well-being as a City will be endangered if we do not reassert control again.
That historic preservationists have come alive and are busy advocating, working and writing for their cause.
And we’re just getting started!
Let’s here more from the opposition! I can’t wait.
PS. I know that people have been angered at the market forces that give us yet another pharmacy in town but Tropic Star is subject to those same market forces. If the CVS doesn’t become viable, they will close it and put something else in there – they have already written on paper it won’t be another gas station, car lot or fast-food restaurant. Has anyone driving down Route 495 noticed the large Lowes that was closed in Haverhill?