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Forum, May 8: Hanover Vote


Sunday, May 07, 2017
Article 9 Would Harm Hanover

Outsiders are attempting to pass a zoning amendment at Tuesday’s Town Meeting that’s likely to have significant negative impact.

The proposed zoning amendment would allow fraternities and sororities to operate student residences that have no connection with Dartmouth and would require no oversight by the college. The Hanover Planning Board opposes Article 9, as does Dartmouth College.

The amendment has been put forth by supporters of two fraternities that were derecognized by Dartmouth for repeated misconduct. Most of these supporters are alumni who don’t live in Hanover or pay town taxes. Their attempt to bypass our zoning regulations failed in the New Hampshire Supreme Court, so now they’re trying to change the law. They’ve funded a website and a mail flyer with the misleading title “Preserve Our Neighborhoods!” that lists 11 so-called benefits of the amendment, all of which are dubious. The group is recruiting students, who don’t pay town taxes, to vote for Article 9, a strategy designed to leverage historically light turnout at Town Meeting. Frankly, I’m offended that a group of outsiders is running a campaign like this to change the laws of our town.

If Article 9 passes, the organizations will no longer be subject to college rules, significantly increasing the potential for misconduct and injury, and the entire burden of policing them will fall on the town of Hanover. Do we want fraternities and sororities to be unsupervised? Do we want to assume a cost that Dartmouth has rightly borne for decades?

Worse, if Article 9 passes, the two fraternities will escape the consequences of their misconduct. What incentive will other fraternities and sororities have to behave if there’s no real penalty to derecognition by the college? Article 9 removes the strong disincentive of being forced to close their doors.

As a resident of Hanover for 47 years, a Dartmouth alumnus, a former fraternity member and former director of its corporation, I urge you to take a few minutes to drop by Hanover High from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and vote no on Article 9.

Dick Green

Hanover

Reject Article 9 in Hanover

Residents of Hanover need to be aware that Warrant Article 9, which was filed by petition and is not supported by the Hanover Planning Board, if passed would have significant implications to the town of Hanover.

Article 9 seeks to allow fraternities and sororities that are not associated with the college to be a permitted use (by special exception) in the institutional and residential districts, thus making the town responsible for the public safety and health of those fraternities and sororities.

If you live in or near the directly affected districts and do not want a non-Dartmouth affiliated fraternity or sorority as a potential neighbor, then you need to vote no on Article 9.

If you are a taxpayer in Hanover, and do not want the town to have primary responsibility for the public safety and health of a non-Dartmouth affiliated fraternity or sorority, then you need to vote no on Article 9.

We need a much larger than normal turnout on Tuesday to assure that the vote truly reflects the wishes of the community.

I urge you to vote on Tuesday and to vote no on Warrant Article 9.

Peter Christie Etna

The writer is chairman of the Hanover Selectboard.

Be Kind to Bees

A recent event sponsored by the Upper Valley Pollinator Partnership on supporting native bees confirmed what’s evident in my neighborhood — bees love the nectar of white clover. Some plants that look like they support bees do not; some of today’s hybrids, with their pretty blossoms, have had characteristics beneficial to pollinators bred out of them. Some plants sold at garden stores have been treated with harmful neonicotinoids that end up in the nectar and pollen of these plants.

Pollinator populations have been plummeting, and while the EPA continues to give a pass to pesticides, we need to do what we can to help pollinators in our landscapes. Adopting practices that are good for the bees may involve shifting the way we’ve always done things to embrace a new gardening aesthetic: that of supporting life forms above and below the soil.

Beauty in our gardens is more than color and form, but also how the landscape sustains the web of life. The insects zipping around, buzzing and chirping in summer grasses, birds singing, movement and signs of life feed our deepest aesthetic senses. These beings sustain life itself as fertilizers of our food crops.

Ways to help: Let zones in your lawn go and the dandelions, violets, clover bloom; avoid pesticides and herbicides — they’re not needed in our backyards. The sourcing of our plants needs a closer look, including plants that have a “bee logo” on their labels. Choosing organic — seeds, plant starts, flowers, soils, compost — is a way to ensure we are landscaping for the benefit of pollinators, birds, soil life, the water supply and environment.

Pollinators need more forage and habitat to thrive and come back to healthy populations. Forage must be beneficial, and not toxic, for them to survive. Creating intentionally sourced pollinator gardens in our yards, and giving over some lawn to the bees, is a starting place for helping these beautiful and needed creatures.

Suzanne Church

Lebanon