We had a Village Charette (2012), the Village Vision Report (2015 ) adopted as part of the Master Plan, the Village Overlay District adopted by voters as an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, the Village Sidewalk Study (2013), approval by Town Meeting in 2015 of $85,000 for "for engineering, acquisition of rights of way or easements, legal costs, preparation of plans and specifications, and bidding for the purpose of sidewalk construction in Moultonborough Village". We also have a Master Plan update in progress with a new Vision, Housing, Land Use, Transportation, and Economic Development chapters.There have been two very thorough studies on the Taylor building in the past year and one earlier report on the former Grange building right across the street. We have ideas to " calm traffic" through the village, but not one has been implemented.
Where exactly are we today in making progress on any level in the Village? Nowhere.
Where and when will we start to do something in the Village that is concrete and tangible? What are the specific steps we need to take to at least develop an actionable plan? What is the starting point?
None has yet been defined and yet I heard arguments on Saturday at Town Meeting that we can't build sidewalks without knowing where to put the secondary access road to the school and we can't move forward until we decide the fate of the Taylor building and the Lions Club.
Two steps forward, two steps backward and we are still at the starting line. Zero progress.
What we desperately need is consensus. That is the concept that the BoS tried to bring to Town Meeting and it is still a valid one. It doesn't need $250K to get there.
A consensus-building exercise inclusive of all who want to participate should be conducted. We already have the road map and the pieces of the puzzle as a very good foundation. Then:
- Hire an independent impartial facilitator to run a series of meetings to build a clear consensus on what to do with the Taylor property, and how the various pieces of the Village should all fit together
- If there is an opportunity for a charrette, we should jump on it and use it to fine-tune what the town wants for the Taylor property, the Grange and the village as a whole.
- Define the actionable steps as a project plan with a clear starting point and vision for completion, short-term to mid-term and finally long-term.
And then finally, make some decisions. It is clear that the voters want a say and they should. As Russ Wakefield said at Town Meeting when did the town ever buy or build a facility without voter approval?
What to do with the Taylor building? Where to build the access road? How to define the village and calm traffic through it? Is a secondary bypass road feasible? What comes first, second, third....etc.
We will never move forward if we don't take the first step.