Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Mayor’s inappropriate remarks

Letters to the Editor
Journal Inquirer
December 28, 2009

At the Vernon Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Dec. 17, Mayor Jason McCoy addressed the committee under the agenda item “Dialog with Mayor McCoy.” I feel that the mayor’s statements to the committee were inappropriate and bordered on intimidation.

McCoy started his remarks discussing the economic plight of the state of Connecticut and the town of Vernon. He cited the high unemployment rate, the reduction in property-tax income, and the threat of losing $500,000 in state funding. He suggested to committee members that they need to streamline the approval process, they need to be as friendly as possible, and they need to make the approval process as short as possible because the length of the approval process hurts the town.

McCoy added that the approval of new construction increases town revenues through property taxes as well as building permits. The mayor also mentioned that he has made (or will make) the same comments to the other town commissions.

Short-term economic issues should not impact the decisions made by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Inland Wetlands Commission, the Conservation Commission, or any other town commission. The decisions made by these commissions should be based on the merits of each project and compliance with technical specifications, while taking into consideration the concerns of neighbors.

Decisions made by the Planning and Zoning Commission can have long-term repercussions for our community. McCoy should not suggest to commission members that they approve a project just because it will add a few dollars to the town coffers.

Maureen Donahue