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Viewpoint

Why residents don’t want Heritage plan

This is an open letter to my fellow Greenfield townspeople:

There is an old expression: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” The Heritage Neighborhood proposal is our duck. It has enough of the elements of an historical district to make it an historical district, including, and foremost, interfering with our property rights.

I am able to view this situation from a unique standpoint. I am the code enforcement officer in a nearby town which has an historical district. It sometimes falls to me to enforce some of the regulations of the district. While I understand the spirit of such a district, I have seen the frustration, cost, wasted time, and worry its regulations can cause. Granted, the regulations proposed for Greenfield are not as strict as those where I work, but restricting fences, trees and building styles make it onerous enough.

What about the fairness of establishing this district? If you purchase a home in an historical district, it is incumbent upon you to learn and fully understand what the regulations regarding that district are before signing on the dotted line. If a situation that you don’t agree with arises after that signature, well, too bad for you. If, however, you have lived in your home for 40 years or six months, for that matter, with all the freedom that goes with ownership, then, all of a sudden, you can’t cut that tree that’s hanging over your house, or put up the kind of fence you want to protect your children or pets, where is the fairness in that?

Bob Marshall, who has led this project, has done a spectacular job of explaining the Heritage Neighborhood concept at the informational meetings, and I respect him for the time he and his committee have devoted to this effort. However, Bob seems to think that we need more education. I beg to differ. Judging from the number of people who spoke against the proposal, and the No Heritage Neighborhood petition signatures of 40 property owners who would have to abide by the rules of the neighborhood, we understand it; we just don’t want it. I use the word “we” because, according to Bob, those of us who do not live in the village district are “eligible” (my word) to partake in the project and establish our own neighborhoods.

Think about how much government intrusion has been inflicted upon us in recent years as you give this proposal serious thought before you mark your ballot in March.

Charles D. Stevenson lives in Greenfield.

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