Letter: Shortsighted Zoning in Lebanon

To the Editor:

How can this be? In early April, the Lebanon Zoning Board of Adjustment couldn’t find enough “hardship” to approve a request to build apartments in a downtown home that once belonged to my family. Two weeks later, the board found sufficient “hardship” to approve a developer’s plan to build a traffic-generating natural gas facility by Route 120, at the base of Signal Hill, at the edge of the Great Hollow Wetland.

Both cases represent unfortunate shortsightedness by the city planners and City Council (which includes me). Our zoning ordinance should encourage people to live in the centers of Lebanon and West Lebanon, and it should allow for natural gas facilities. The first oversight is specific to location — the center of town. But the second just isn’t. Both zoning issues should be considered by city planners, boards and the council. The zoning ordinance should be adjusted accordingly.

But Lebanon authorities mustn’t encourage further paving and destruction of functional wetlands — a natural gas facility should be allowed on an appropriate piece of ground in Lebanon, where it won’t threaten what remains of an important wetland and burden an already overflowing road with more trucks. The last bastion of hope and good sense in this proposal is the Planning Board. My goodness, I hope the Planning Board denies this destructive application.

This applicant and others have already done enough damage to the Great Hollow Wetland. It’s time to stop. I write as an individual resident of Lebanon, and not as a small part of its government.

Stephen M. Wood