"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, December 29, 2014

Village Vision Comments

Its the middle of the Holiday " lull" and not much happening in local government. An exception this coming week is the Village Vision Committee, which is scheduled to meet Monday December 29th at 6pm in Town Hall.
They are working hard and there is a plethora of information on the Town website including the survey results ( 1,500+) and comments.
Below is a highly conceptual "picture" that captures many of the ideas that the committee has discussed. Please don't look at this as the final plan. It is just a visual of the ideas presented. Painting a picture so to speak,
As I read through the many pages of comments (which are much appreciated ) it is clear that there are a wide variety of opinions on the "village." A fair amount questioned if we really even have a village and others suggested that the true "village" is really closer to Center Harbor or elsewhere. Many are in favor of some standards for the look of the village, but many also seem to not want to impose required standards. I agree with the " not requiring"  viewpoint as I would not support infringing on the  rights of private property owners. While the comments seem to contradict the actual survey numbers which were very much in favor of standards, I look at them as peeling back the onion so to speak by a few more layers and finding what appears to be "yes we want standards, but do not mandate them."
I don't see a lot of support for roundabouts and the addition of traffic signs appears to be a clear winner in the traffic calming area.
One less tangible trend in the comments was what exactly the village was or is, and what it should become. Some have very clear memories of many years past and seem to favor a very simple town center without all the modern glitz. Others never really saw the area as ever really being a thriving village. I don't recall any comments that pushed for an ultramodern makeover. Still others feel that the village will never be a tourist destination like Meredith or Wolfeboro, and some were good with that. ( If not a destination, how about a stopping point along the way for some food, quick shopping and bathroom break? Plenty of traffic in our corridor almost all year round).
The Village Vision Committee has the difficult task of collating all the information they have gathered from many meetings, discussions, surveys and presentations and draw some conclusions from it. They then will finalize a report.
I anticipate some serious public debate and discussion over some of the finer points of the final product as well as the philosophical need for even undertaking it. Good. I never for a moment thought that the outcome of this committee would be a unanimous assent of all citizens. We do however need to get to a general consensus of where to go or we will not resolve some long standing concerns and issues, such as zoning, what types of businesses we want to see in the village and those we prefer not to see. Many criticize the Land Use Boards  and the BoS for not doing more to encourage more business and to not allow certain types of businesses in town. We cannot do either without clearer definitions and changes to the zoning ordinances. The Planning Board and Zoning Boards are required to follow the law and the ordinances we have enacted.
The village does not have to change dramatically ( at least in my opinion) , but we cannot just leave it be. I believe that a well crafted vision will go a long way to attracting what we want to attract and highlight the features we want to see in the village 50 + years down the road.
Most of the respondents to the survey seem to have an open mind about this process, but there are a significant number that have made up there mind that all this is just an exercise in futility and a way to just spend more money. It is not. Everything needs a starting point. Its easy to point fingers at your elected officials when some objectionable business comes to town, but the reality is that our hands are tied by the very rules that you as citizens have the power to alter.
Keep in mind also, that as a selectman, I have to take the position of what is best for the entire town and keep my own biases and personal opinions to the side. It ain't easy. This blog at least gives me an outlet to vent to some extent.
At the end of the day, hopefully on March 14th at Town meeting after some spirited debate, voters will decide on whether the work of this committee meets their approval. I suspect it will.
One final thought. This committee is very diverse and can hardly be accused by any reasonable person to be one sided or biased. They have been given the freedom to explore this task in the manner they saw fit and with a clean piece of paper. I think they have done excellent work and should be commended for their effort and commitment.


Reality Check said...

There are reasons businesses are not flocking to the Village. Trying to eek a living on 4-5 months of traffic and trade is not reasonable. Before all kinds of taxpayer money is spent "revitalizing" the Village to nowhere please look before you leap.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

It is a blessing for MoBo, to have individuals that provide services and efforts, that help us all be residents, taxpayers, resident-renters in MoBo.

Speaking personally, as someone who will probably never seek elected office, ... but relishes a "gadfly" role, ... we still operate from the past.

We have committees, usually the same faces and thoughts. We have an annual town meeting (that means one). We form groups/committees that portend to represent "the populace". The same 200-300 folks decide the fate of issues.

Maybe the process needs to be changed. Issue research is/can be done on-line. Debate could evolve through many avenues, including this blog, and enhancement to the town website.

Being facetious, maybe we need, monthly, bi-monthly ... "special town meetings", that are lawful and lawmaking, and not provincial agendas. Some of us could endure a monthly meeting, where town law is created, and not someone's would-like-to-have wish list.

Crazy idea ...I know ... but how crazy is the present process. A few folks, spending all kinds of time and effort, and say it needs to represent @ 4,000 voters (not taxpayers) while 200-300 (separated in two camps) rule at "annual" town meeting.

SB-2, Official Budget Committee... statutory entities ... would disrupt the present town power-structure, but could transform MoBo, and a blurred vision.

Markets and demographics will decide MoBo's fate. Doesn't look bad, presently.

Instead of committees, maybe citizen lawful petitions for "special" town meetings, or BoS Warrants, would not only help the "village", but "Moultonborough", as well.

Thank you BoS, and private citizens like Mr. Blogger, for your efforts and ... Joel ... believe or it not ... you'll be missed on the BoS.

Happy New Year ... let's hope!

Time for SB2 said...

SB2 is long overdue in this town. Those that trumpet town meeting style of government are the ones that like to control EVERYTHING. Easy to do when 95% of the voters don't attend and have no say. Is there a petition this year to get SB2 on the ballot?

I'm also intrigued by Joe Cormiers Special Town Meeting that would take place in late Spring or early Summer when the snow birds return. Can the blogger write more on that subject and how a Special Town meeting to vote and enact SB2 in place of Town Meeting would work?

Good Job said...

Thanks to the Vil Vis committee for sticking to its guns, and sending out a mailed survey, with a stamped return envalope. That needs to be stressed to Mr Tereenzini, that if you have an important issue, the mailed survey will get a big enough reply to be represenative of the taxpayers. He has been told many times that the Internet surveys do not yield the numbers, or fair representation of the publics wishes. Hope he gets it now.
Very important to work on the content of the survey tho, now that you have nailed the distribution. There were many more issues then covered by just the 10 questions.

Anonymous said...

As this Village Vision Survey questions traffic signage, it is an approiate time to ask Chief Weatherbee if we have learned anything from the auto accident and fatality at the Rt 109, Moultonboro Airport intersection. A suspended flashing red, also showing yellow both ways on Rt 25 would make that intersection much safer on dark rainy nights. This would also guide drivers to where the turn is. horrible lighting and pavement striping there.

Happy New Year said...

Thanks for sharing your summary Paul. The vision committee did an outstanding job creating a fresh view of what could be done, reflecting the vast wisdom of the community. The diagram shows many good ideas, but much like a Santa's knee wish list, not everything is appropriate or affordable. It will make for good discussions in 2015.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Broadband will be/is part MoBo's present and future, like it or not!

Thought I'd slide this in for those of you that have Fairpoint DSL (Russ) and doesn't mean I'm pushing Time Warner.



Who Is Boss? said...

The Vil Vision prototype drawing shows Taylor land being kept available for public use, perhaps for public assembly. They did not listen to our Town Administrator, who has been telling committes that it will be used for commercial development. Where does he get that agenda? Where does he get that authority?