Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Re-evaluate GOP objectivity

Journal Inquirer
January 16, 2006

We are greatly disappointed in the Vernon Town Council Republican majority's decision to not reappoint Jane Seymour as an alternative member of the Inland Wetlands Commission.

Seymour is a DEP-contracted scientist whose expertise includes ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, and ornithology. As recent decisions in Vernon have demonstrated, in order to effectively and legally evaluate complex plans of development, wetlands commissions regularly seek the assistance of paid consultants with Seymour's expertise. Yet, for absolutely no valid reason and little opportunity for public discussion, she has been turned away.

As articles in the Journal Inquirer have reported, it has not been easy in Vernon to find people willing to serve on town commissions. With Seymour, Vernon's IWC was fortunate to have such an expert willing to volunteer her time and knowledge to the town.

If the Republicans are sincerely concerned about a DEP scientist's ability to objectively evaluate an application for development then they should be equally concerned about the impartiality of commissioners and council members who are professionally and/or personally tied to real estate development in the community; or those with degrees in engineering; or anyone, for that matter, who has expertise or insight into any relevant discipline.

We urge the council members to re-evaluate their own objectivity, rescind their vote and move forward to appoint Jane Seymour to the IWC.

Amy B. Paterson and Gordon W. Paterson

Amy Paterson is a member of the Open Space Task Force. Gordon Paterson is a member of the Conservation Commission.