An Objection to the Camden Herald Editorial
To the Editor of the Camden Herald Gazette/Village Soup:
We are writing to object to the opinion piece published in the Camden Herald on February 13 regarding the Fox Hill proposal. It is clear that the editors have a bias in favor of rezoning the property. While they are of course entitled to their opinion, to couch the debate in terms of voters’ rights is irresponsible and demonstrates that the editors have no understanding of the right to vote, the purpose of zoning and the comprehensive plan.
In 2005, all citizens of Camden DID vote on whether allowing commercial activity in the Coastal Residential Zone was a good idea, and the vote was a resounding “No.” They did this by enacting the most recent Comprehensive Plan, which Camden is required to amend every 10 years or so. The Comprehensive Plan is only voted on once a decade because it is supposed to represent the town’s long-term goals with regard to how it will operate, grow and prosper. It is not meant to be hacked away at piece by piece, property by property, or amended at the town’s leisure. It certainly is not meant to be disregarded whenever someone wants to make money. It is a long-term contract among all citizens of a town that protects ALL of them from short-term impulses and unwise decisions. It is part of the town’s social fabric.
The residents living in the Coastal Residential Zone should be as protected against commercial development in their area as everyone else who lives in a residential neighborhood; the Comprehensive Plan provides that protection. The Selectmen recognized that in their decision. Contrary to the opinion piece, the Select Board has not taken away anyone’s right to vote. The Board only stated the obvious: the Comprehensive Plan does not allow for commercial operations in that neighborhood.
The Camden Herald’s failure to recognize that this is a zoning issue, not a “voters’ rights” issue, is a profound lapse in judgment.
Jeff & Deb Dodge