Sign ordinance petition invalid
To the Editor:
I do not speak for the Planning Board, but for myself when I say that I am very disappointed that the Board of Selectmen has decided to include an article on the town meeting warrant that would repeal the sign ordinance in its entirety.
I attended the Selectboard meeting on May 14 ready to discuss the (previously published) proposed ordinance changes, and prepared to enthusiastically endorse a proposal on the agenda to form an ad-hoc committee charged with reforming the sign ordinance.
Instead, we found ourselves drawn into a debate by a petition that was not on the agenda, followed none of the requirements for a legitimate citizen’s initiative, and which appears to have been submitted under circumstances that were unusual at best. I looked on in amazement as the board acted on a petition that was invalid in almost every way. When the articles describing the events of that evening were published in last week’s Citizen, I think most of us in Bethel were a little embarrassed.
We are New Englanders. When something is broken, we fix it. We don’t throw it out. Let’s fix this sign ordinance. Let’s make it simpler and easier to understand, let’s speed up the process, let’s loosen the restrictions but still preserve our quality of place. Like it or not, we as a community are dependent on the tourism economy. Having no sign ordinance at all in place – even for just a few months – could do real and permanent damage to this town’s image.
Please ask your Board of Selectmen not to put forward an article to repeal the town’s sign ordinance at this year’s town meeting. It’s a rash and reckless overreaction to a problem that everyone had already pledged to fix.
Reform, don’t repeal.
(Chair, Bethel Planning Board)