Forum, April 5: Zoning Board in Hanover caved to church pressure

Thursday, April 04, 2019
Zoning Board in Hanover caved to church pressure

I am writing today to express my anger about the way residents of the Greensboro Road area have been treated by the Hanover Zoning Board in the Christ Redeemer Church case (“Church wins key approval from board,” April 4). As a resident of Greensboro Road for 46 years, I have never felt so disrespected and disenfranchised as I was by the Zoning Board when it overturned its original denial and granted the church’s application after a re-hearing.

Residents of this neighborhood have long suffered from Hanover choosing to ignore our complaints about flooding, road and traffic conditions, lack of sidewalks, improper development, etc. But last week’s decision is by far the most painful. The board heard overwhelming evidence and testimony from neighbors that this development will have profound negative impacts on our quiet residential neighborhood, and the board acknowledged in both its first and second decisions that this negative impact is real.

But, under threat of a being sued on flimsy religious discrimination grounds, board members caved and reversed their original decision. And instead of just being honest and saying they were worried about the possibility of a lawsuit, board members imposed some toothless conditions that they claim will somehow limit the impact on the neighborhood. Then they twisted themselves into pretzels trying to come up with some logical justification for their decision so they can pretend that it wasn’t the threat of a lawsuit that drove their decision. We sat through all the meetings; we know the truth.

Like many of my neighbors who have lived in this area for decades, we have done nothing but work to improve our properties, our neighborhood and the town. In this case, we needed our town to stand up for us to enforce the laws that we have all lived by for years. Instead, Zoning Board members acted as cowards and gave into threats and intimidation from the church and its fast-talking, high-priced, out-of-town attorneys. If my seventh-grade grandson had resorted to these kinds of bullying tactics, he would have rightfully been suspended from school. For shame.



Climate legislation leaders in Strafford

If you are interested in Vermont’s management of climate change, this is the meeting for you.

State Reps. Jim Masland and Tim Briglin will be speaking on Monday, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Barrett Memorial Hall in Strafford, about climate change legislation currently being considered in the Vermont Legislature. They will explain their climate work, where things stand on climate management legislation in the 2019 legislative session and answer any questions you may have.

Both representatives have been working hard on this vital issue and doing a terrific job for Vermonters. Masland introduced a bill that will increase funding for weatherizaton of houses belonging to low-income Vermonters, significantly lowering their heating bills while lowering Vermont’s carbon emissions, a true win-win. In addition to sponsoring the bill, Masland also shepherded it through the House Ways and Means Committee, and it was then passed by the full House.

Briglin is chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee, which is now considering H. 462, the Global Warming Solutions Act, a strong, enforceable mandate to ratchet down climate-damaging emissions each year in Vermont. Massachusetts and Connecticut have passed similar legislation and the Maine and Rhode Island legislatures are working on it.

The Two Rivers Action Coalition invites you to this meeting to show your support to these legislators and to offer encouragement for the second half of the session toward the goal of passage of climate change management legislation.



The writer is a member of the Steering Committee of Two Rivers Action Coalition.

On the wisdom of 16-year-olds voting

As is illustrated by proposals to extend the franchise to 16-year-olds, where those of normal intelligence and sound mental health see someone whose rampant emotions are mistaken for thoughts, whose judgment is notoriously unsound, and who is lacking in perspective or life experience (including the experience of earning a living) the progressive sees a kindred spirit and potential political ally.

Is the fact that the progressive’s views coincide with those of the average 16-year old more likely due to wisdom and maturity on the teenager’s part, or the lack of them on the progressive’s?



Calculate the true cost of smoking

I am dying in a nursing home. I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — COPD. I smoked unfiltered cigarettes for 42 years (over 16,000 packs).

If you smoke a pack a day today and you spend about $8 per pack, that is about $56 a week, $225 a month and $2,700 a year. If cigarettes stay at $8 a pack and you smoke for 42 years like I did, how much would you spend?