Democracy

Bedford Road ROSC development

Janne Corneil, Chair of the Master Plan Steering Committee, October 11, 2017

Carlisle will be undertaking a master planning process over the next two years. The objective of the master plan is to develop a long term plan and shared goals that will guide policy, funding, and prioritization of Carlisle’s resources. The planning process that our committee is refining now has two important attributes:

  1. It will have a robust community engagement process that will ensure a rich dialogue with all community members (not just the usual suspects); and
  2. It will embrace an “integrated planning framework” that will ensure that we consider the trade-offs and consequences of independent decisions. Zoning is one of the important tools that allows us to achieve the goals and priorities that come out of the planning process.

The ROSC amendment is a significant zoning change that could have many positive and/or negative effects on future development in Carlisle. The master plan process will require us to weigh all of the competing interests at play in this decision, not just the interests that are lobbying today.

There seems to be a great deal of urgency around this decision, thus a Special Town Meeting. What is driving this urgency? If there was any way that we could insist that this zoning amendment should be considered as part of the full master planning process, that would be the best outcome, in my opinion.

If the Town boards and committees have already decided that this needs to happen quickly, without due process, these are the questions I would ask:

  • What precedent will the Bedford Road ROSC development set?
  • What are the long term risks to us as a town if this becomes an “as-of-right” condition that developers take advantage of?
  • If it does, how can the amendment be restricted so it doesn’t have a negative impact on the long term health and sustainability of our town?
  • What are our collective goals concerning housing diversity, land conservation, energy conservation, fiscal health, etc? Does this project allow us to achieve our goals? Do we even know what our shared goals are?
  • Are 1,700–3,000 square-foot structures the right size to promote economic diversity? (Does that allow them to build all 18 units at 3,000 square feet?)
  • What are the housing types and sizes that should be considered to diversify our housing stock and so attract and retain diverse people and families? What are the requirements for how the houses are arranged/clustered?
  • What about parking, water, and septic impacts?
  • What about 40b?

My personal opinion is that clustering new housing to preserve open land is a brilliant idea if it

  • produces housing diversity that accommodates people we would like to have in our town;
  • is designed as an intentional community and not as a slightly smaller version of the 2-acre scattered houses we have everywhere else in town;
  • is a model of sustainability: energy efficient, net zero emissions, water conservation, LEED certified, etc.

Thanks for listening.

Oklahomans Flipped Two Seats Blue in Their Deep Red State Legislature

by Barney Arnold, July 13, 2017

Last night, in an unexpected double win,

  • State Senator-elect Michael Brooks-Jimenez, an attorney, father, and small business owner, won to fight for working families;
  • State Representative-elect Karen Gaddis, a lifelong teacher, won to improve Oklahoma’s public schools.

Congratulations to State Senator-elect Michael Brooks-Jimenez, State Representative-elect Karen Gaddis, and most of all, to the Oklahomans who mobilized to make this victory possible!

Oregon Finishes Strong, Too!

by Barney Arnold, July 13, 2017

The end of the state legislative session in Oregon saw the passage of several progressive bills, including

  • drug decriminalization;
  • healthcare for immigrant families;
  • and the strongest reproductive health coverage law in the country.

When Democrats govern our states, progressive reforms become law!