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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Conflicting Camp Confusion

After attending the joint Town Council and Planning Commission meeting reviewing the requested comprehensive plan change for the old YMCA camp, my loyal, tolerant and generally fantastic staff researcher came to me and asked “Do you know that camps don't all have the same comprehensive plan classification and zoning?”

I replied with distain – “Didn’t you watch the recording of the town hall session? We learned that the Comprehensive Plan is a sacred document and perfect in every way! We also learned that any change to this sacred document must be considered extremely carefully and only made after studying the positions of the planets and examining the entrails of ritually-killed feral cats! From listening to the councilors and planning commission members we now know that a change is very serious business, akin to getting sex-change surgery! Surely a document such as this can have no errors and must treat every similar property in the same way!”

My faithful researcher only shook her head sadly. “You, my fearless leader, are too trusting and gullible. Family Planning Commissioner Platner explained how the original document was full of errors and they made a major revision to try to get things right. I guess they didn’t catch everything and now which camp they think has the ‘right’ designation probably depends on their political objectives.”

So I calmed down a looked at the evidence she was waving in front of my face. She had the map from the comprehensive plan (page 10 in the linked file) and the Vision Appraisal pages for the old YMCA camp and the Boy Scout Camp on Pasquiset Pond. The map clearly shows that the YMCA camp is Existing Protected Open Space and the Boy Scout Camp is … Low Density Residential. “But, but, but,” I stammered, “there must be some difference between the properties that accounts for that.” “Right?” I added hopefully. She said “yes, there certainly is. The Boy Scout Camp is much more secluded, on a dirt road, with hardly any houses nearby.”

I ponder this and notice she has disappeared so I go back to playing Sudoku, I mean “clearing my mind.” My valuable-beyond-price assistant re-appears in a short while with the announcement “Well, here is the Vision Appraisal listing for Camp Davis.” Ok, this will be interesting so I look at the paper and see … it’s zoned R3A (Residential, 3 acres), the same as the Boy Scout Camp.

So … we have three camps. Two are zoned residential and one is declared Open Space Recreation. And the rulers of our town are having a conniption fit about the idea of converting the zoning of the one to match the other two.

There must be something more to learn about this so I send my ever-capable staff photographer on a field trip to take some photos so I can see how the YMCA camp is more rural than the others. Meanwhile, back to Sudoku.

After only a short break to relax, my photographer returns. Anticipating stupendous new information I call an entire staff meeting to see this. I share the photos of the entrance to each campground (no trespassing permitted) with you here.

YMCA Camp Entrance - Open Space Recreation
Boy Scout Camp Entrance - Residential
Camp Davis Entrance - Residential
I guess it’s obvious. The one with the paved road and large open areas is the Protected Open Space (“Open”, get it?) and the other two with lots of trees, off of dirt trails are Residential. If I stare at this long enough I can start to think like our town leaders. How about you?

But I wonder if the YMCA thinks this is fair? Or even legal?

Author: Tom Ferrio