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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Planning Commission holds SSDD meeting TONIGHT

Get out the pliers and open wide
Will the Planning Commission make Cross Mills FD
tear this down?
By Will Collette

Given the new powers the Planning Commission is seeking to carve out for itself (see below), I am hopeful that tonight’s Planning Commission meeting will be even more entertaining than their March 28th meeting. 

During that meeting, the Planning Commission members staged a rare rebellion against their fearless leader, Planning Commissar Ruth Platner, refusing to back her play to give the Charlestown Land Trust aid and comfort in conducting another fictional assessment of the YMCA campground property. There’s hope yet that the town will cancel this terrible $475,000 boondoggle.

And who can forget the Commission's remarkable discussion about the plans to put blue shingles on the new building for sanitary facilities at Blue Shutters Beach?

There is some potential for more wild and crazy stuff from those zany commissioners in tonight’s agenda. After all, they’re going to talk – again – about the dark sky lighting ordinance. They did not post any documents related to the ordinance on Clerkbase. So who knows what the latest iteration of this much-revised ordinance will look like. So much for transparency - if they were our Town Administrator, they would be howling that somebody should chop their heads off.

They’re also going to talk – again – about a statistical analysis they want cooked up about affordable housing in the Chariho towns. 

It also looks like Commissar Platner is gearing up to make another run at gutting the state’s affordable housing law. But far be it for me to impugn her motives. We’ll just have to see how “the conversation” goes. I know that Platner, and her partner, Town Council Boss Tom Gentz, are still smarting at their inability to get town support for the Platner-Gentz Affordable Housing Deconstruction Act.

But before they get to all this exciting stuff, they’re going to discuss, probably for at least an hour, two sets of ordinance re-writes they’ve been working on. One deals with the Planning Commission’s regulation of open space (always a favorite subject)  The other deals with a plan for the Planning Commission to appoint itself as the “Historical Village District Commission.” So if you live along or near Route 1A, meet your new boss, Ruth Platner. If this proposal passes, that is. 

The plan is for this new role for the Planning Commission to include regulating every facet of life in the District. I noted with interest that one whole section deals with building materials. This, no doubt, stems from Platner and her plucky planners’ effort to force the Cross Mills Fire District to use clapboard instead of brick on their new firehouse, and to build several small, quaint little buildings, instead of a single building that can actually accommodate modern fire equipment and not just horse-drawn fire wagons.

If town residents and businesses in Charlestown’s Historic Village District want to get a taste of what life will be like with the Planning Commissars acting as your overseers and arbiters of taste, beauty and functionality, read “Planning Commission’s Remodelling Plans at 'Blue Shingles' Beach." 

The Cross Mills Station was held up by Platner’s objections for almost two years.

But never again, if Platner gets her new badge of authority as Her Majesty of the Historic District.