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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Planning Commission’s remodeling plans at Blue “Shingles” Beach

Formerly known as Blue Shutters
By Will Collette

If you listen through to the end of the Clerkbase recording of the Planning Commission’s March 28 meeting, you arrive at a discussion that is even more surreal than usual for this group. Provided you haven't killed yourself first.

Town Planner Ashley Hahn-Morris is making her formal report to the Commission and hesitantly broaches the topic of a conversation she’d had with two members of the Beach Facilities Committee.

Those committee members were concerned that the Planning Commission might take offense at a variation on the plan for the new beach facilities at Blue Shutters Beach.

Readers may recall the exhaustive (and exasperating) two days’ worth of hearings the Planning Commission conducted on the plans for the new beach toilets and sanitary facilities that voters approved last June.

The Commission covered every imaginable detail of the design and construction, not only of the two structures, but of barriers around the parking area, the speed of vehicles on the roads leading to the two town beaches, and whether there should be speed bumps or certain types of barriers.

The Commissioners came up with many bizarre variations on what they wanted, such as moving giant boulders from around the town to the town beaches to make sure no beach-goer sets foot on the property of any of the out-of-state beach property owners. They seriously considered the idea of planting invasive barbed shrubbery to achieve that same security effect for our esteemed summer visitors.

Don't you just get all choked up seeing those blue shutters on the old
beach building now demolished and being replaced by new facility
They did everything but dictate how many nails would be used in each structure. One thing they insisted upon was that at Blue Shutters Beach, the new structure should somehow honor the old name by having some part of the new structure be blue – since there weren’t going to be any shutters on the building.

The compromise was that the first floor of the Blue Shutters beach facility would be painted blue. However, the first floor will now be covered by latticework, obscuring the blue, so the Beach Facilities committee has come up with an alternative plan – a blue roof.

They have even lined up a supplier who can supply blue shingles for “a small additional cost.”

The Beach Facilities Committee members approached Ashley because they were concerned that the Planning Commission might go ballistic if there is any variation from the original understanding.

So Ashley duly presented that concern to the Planning Commission.

The new beach facility nearing completion
At first, since it was late in the meeting and they were clearly overtired, the plucky planners seemed pretty blasé about the change from a blue-painted first floor to blue shingles.

But then things started getting weird.

“Why can’t they just put up blue shutters?” asked one Commissioner. Several other Commissioners commented bitterly that they had raised the issue of putting blue shutters on a building without windows, but got nowhere.

“I’ll go to Home Depot and buy them blue shutters,” offered another Commissioner.

Several Commissioners wanted to know what type of shingles were going to be installed.

“What color blue is it going to be?” asked Commissioner Linda Fabre. “I don’t feel comfortable going along with this without seeing the color,” she said. “Can’t they bring us a sample of the shingle so we can see the material and see the color?” I swear I am not making this up.

Ashley tried to explain that due to the mild weather, construction is way ahead of schedule, so an understanding on the shingles is timely.

“Aw, there’s plenty of time for them to bring us a sample,” replied alternate Commission member Joann Stolle. She went on to say that there are many shades of blue and that she wanted to know whether the proposed blue shingles will work with the color of the rest of the facility. She said – I think seriously – that she had a whole bunch of sample shingles in her basement from her last roofing job. So, based on her experience as a building materials hoarder, she felt it would be easy for the Beach Facilities Committee to come to the Planning Commission with conceptual drawings that showed how the proposed blue shingles would look.

PLEASE listen to this discussion for yourself if you think I’m making this up or exaggerating. Click here for a direct link. 

There was one comment near the end of this bizarre conversation that was obviously in jest. It came after assurances from Town Planner Ashley Hahn-Morris that the Beach Facilities Committee planned to only use a very muted blue, not an “electric blue,” as Planning Commissar Ruth Platner feared. Commissioner Gordon Foer said he wanted “robin eggshell blue shingles cut in the shape of shutters.”