The following letter was sent to First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and the Board of Selectmen. It was reprinted here at the author’s request.
To the Editor:
Today I am writing to you regarding your decision not to appoint a neighbor of Pear Tree Point Beach to the building committee. Members of the board cited various reasons why appointing a neighbor is a bad idea.
Some were concerned with setting a precedent, that precedent has already been set. Neighbors were in fact appointed to a number of building committees including, but not limited to the middle school building committee and the rehabilitation of Allen O’Neill. Others were concerned with the definition of a neighbor, proximity to the beach would best inform that definition.
Some of the reasons to include a neighbor are: giving the neighbors a voice and a vote; demonstrating good faith that the government is willing to listen and work with the neighbors to address concerns; and creating an opportunity for neighbors to have a direct contact, someone they believe represents their concerns. Simply said, appointing a neighbor creates goodwill within the Darien community and demonstrates an open and inclusive process. Ultimately the goal is to gain support from the community.
As you prepare to appoint a building committee for the new Ox Ridge Elementary School, and perhaps for other town projects, neighbors should be included on these committees as well.
What we know is that the more inclusive we are as a community, we make better decisions to benefit our community.