Forum, June 12: Recreo project is wrong for Lebanon

Published: 6/12/2022 5:02:42 AM
Modified: 6/12/2022 5:00:20 AM
Recreo project is wrong for Lebanon

Recreo, LLC has proposed massive redevelopment of the Village Market property in Lebanon. The proposal is way too big, and too far out of compliance with our zoning.

Waivers of zoning and site plan regulations are intended to tweak an “almost compliant” project into compliance-with-a-wink. The proposed Recreo, LLC development at the Village Market seeks far too many waivers to be considered a “tweak.” This oversized, noncompliant project is in the very heart of downtown Lebanon. Let’s not allow Recreo to attempt heart surgery here.

The Planning Board will consider the Recreo project on Monday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. Please attend.

Robin Carpenter

Lebanon

Change requires bravery

We, as citizens, have every right to ask, what is going on with our political leaders in Washington and the justices of the Supreme Court? Our leaders are unable to produce legislation that a vast majority of Americans want, such as gun safety laws, reproductive rights, action on climate change and equality before the law.

Citizens are pressing for action, yet: the filibuster remains unchanged; the voting rights bill is stalled; gun control legislation, if passed, is likely to be watered down to please the gun lobby (it’s more difficult to vote than to buy a gun); and the Supreme Court is ideologically in control of conservatives, its decisions resting less on legal precedent than on personal or ideological biases of the justices.

Despite the murder of innocent children in Uvalde, Texas, the responses of Republicans are bizarre: Fox News blames lockdowns, video games and public schools for the shootings; Missouri Rep. Billy Long blames abortion; Fox links marijuana to shootings; and Sen. Lindsay Graham suggests hiring veterans to safeguard schools. Guns were not mentioned. It’s appalling. Some recommendations for dealing with gun violence in America are sensible, like background checks, red flag laws and mental health services. But, clearly, it’s a case of failing to see the “elephant in the room,” i.e., the plethora of guns in America, especially the military-type weapons like AR-15s.

Eleanor Roosevelt questioned, “Will people ever be wise enough to refuse to follow bad leaders or to refuse to take away the freedom of other people?” Most political leaders’ rationalizations for their inaction are based largely on preserving their influence in the party, appealing to their moneyed backers and ensuring their reelection. With due respect to the political pressures that affect our political leaders, we must acknowledge that, as Thomas Paine expressed in different circumstances, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” In this moment, we are desperately in need of strong, competent leaders. We must stand with moral courage to curb the carnage wrought by our gun culture.

Bob Scobie

West Lebanon

Don’t disrupt Hartford Town Forest

On June 14, the Hartford Selectboard will decide whether to sign a logger’s contract to cut in the Hartford Town Forest. Many town residents signed a petition against the cut.

I urge the Hartford Selectboard to please not sign the contract. Hartford should follow the latest science until we meet our climate goals.

■Hartford’s forests are mostly private land. The Town Forest, being public, allows public control. We have little say about private developments and logging.

■Cutting 2,000+ trees in the Town Forest is not consistent with the VT Climate Action Plan or the Hartford Selectboard-approved Climate Action Plan; both require more tree coverage or that trees not be cut.

■Research shows mature trees are essential for storing carbon and remediating the climate crisis. See https://youtu.be/GoolTVYqlcE

Vermont Natural Resources Council reports “Old growth ecosystems ... should be better represented among the forest types in New England.” The plan cuts trees up to 40 inches in diameter at 80+ years old versus allowing those trees to become old growth.

An April 25 Valley News article (“Forest Service pressing ahead with logging around lake”) points to recent science: “Forests store massive amounts of carbon and continue to absorb carbon as they age ... scientific evidence (shows) older forests ... are more resilient to disease and invasive insects.” A Vermont ecologist recently surveyed the Town Forest, finding it to be diverse, not needing to be cut for diversity.

We need public forests to naturally maximize their benefit for the climate and to store carbon. Each cut tree gives up the carbon stored in that tree, the carbon in the soil AND that tree’s future carbon storage potential. Smaller trees filling in take decades to catch up with their carbon storage ability — a long-term gain, but we don’t have long term. We must respond to climate change with all the resources available. Forests are our best defense against the climate crisis.

Why log a forest when there is no financial reason to do so, and local and state plans guide us to increase trees? Landowners can learn about sustainable logging from the county forester without having to cut 2,000 trees in the Town Forest to demonstrate it.

Laura Simon

Wilder




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