I’m tired of all the CCA letters to the editor written by the same people where they claim CCA conservation accomplishments are of great benefit to all of Charlestown. A while ago Warren Buffett wrote an interesting article asking: What donations are truly legitimate tax deductions? Do the donations support society or just preserve a wealthy lifestyle? Donating to a food bank would be supporting society. Donating to an alma mater would be preserving a lifestyle. He thought donations preserving lifestyles should be questioned more. I consider CCA’s so-called conservation to be in actuality an effort to preserve their lifestyle. It’s an effort to gateup Charlestown, making it exclusive. Between municipal, state and federal land the town already has plenty of open space (ruralness) for the good of the public. So buying up land to keep it off the market is a waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s just protecting this wealthy lifestyle.
Maybe it’s my imagination, but CCA enclaves seem to be surrounded (protected) by conservation land all of us paid for.
I have never before seen such a long ordinance by any town for planning as Charlestown’s “Land Development and Subdivision Regulation,” which was printed in The Westerly Sun on Oct 17. Now I see in the Oct. 25 Westerly Sun ordinance No. 397 for zoning.
If you combine planning’s four newspaper pages and zoning’s two pages for a total of six pages you might get a better idea what the CCA is trying to sneak into land-use regulations. Some towns combine planning and zoning into one commission, avoiding this trick of dividing and confusing the public. I consider these two ordinances graphic proof the CCA is deliberately making any permitting so convoluted nothing can get permitted unless it’s what they want; protecting their lifestyle.
There is so much confusion in these two ordinances the CCA-controlled Planning Commission (Ruth Platner, chairwoman) and Zoning Commission (Cliff Vanover, member and significant other of Platner) can always find something wrong with any permit if they want.
I’ll admit I have a nice house on a nice street, south of Route 1. But, I don’t advocate buying up vacant land trying to restrict who can build a home in Charlestown. There is a CCA attitude of “I’ve got mine, screw the rest of you.” I don’t want to be in that category. Let others have the opportunity to enjoy our rural atmosphere, not just the few.
Steven J. Williams, Charlestown
Mr. Williams is a former Charlestown Town Council member and former member of Charlestown's Zoning Board of Review.
This article appeared as a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on October 30.