June 7, 2008

First Selectwoman ------------
Roxbury Town Hall
29 North Street
Roxbury, CT 06783

Dear Select(wo)man ------:

I am writing you to voice my concerns over the way in which Roxbury Zoning Commission Officials hold office. Currently, all members of the commission are appointed. Due to recent events, I respectfully request that you work to change the commission’s offices from appointed to elected ones.

My recommendation comes in light of the Zoning Commission’s decision to increase the minimum building lot size from three acres to four. The commission made this decision even though the majority of Roxbury residents expressing opinions on the matter opposed the idea. As residents, we did not want to make it more difficult for the town’s youth to purchase homes in Roxbury. Nor did we think this decision would slow the town’s growth, the commission’s main concern for wanting to increase the lot size. Yet, the commission decided to move forward and act against the town’s will, despite its strong views.

I have always felt this town to be attentive to the concerns of its residents. However, the Zoning Commission’s actions show that this is not always so. The decision to act contrary to will of Roxbury residents shows that the commission is concerned little with the views of the townspeople. And because its members are appointed, not elected, the commission lacks accountability to the people. Without this accountability, the members have no reason to consider the people’s views in their deliberations.

By making the offices of the Zoning Commission elected positions, members would find themselves answerable to the people. This would substantially decrease the commission’s ability to arbitrarily push its own will, creating accountability in this particular division of town government.

I realize the concern that there might not be many willing to serve on the commission for no pay, and some candidates may even run unopposed in the case of an election. This is an acceptable outcome for me. For I wish not to oust any current commission members from office, but to merely give us townspeople the ability to choose new leadership for zoning issues if we feel inclined to do so. Hopefully, the fear of the electorate alone will cause the commission to pay more close attention to our views.

If this change is not made, I feel that Roxbury’s reputation will suffer as a result. The community in which I grew up, one where friendly people welcomed and cared for one another, will diminish. It will be seen as one that excludes, creating insiders and outsiders. To not make this change might affirm this mentality in the eyes of prospective residents. It is one issue for the commission to want to slow growth in town, but an entirely new issue for it to alienate people who are interested in calling Roxbury home.

I hope that we can work together on this matter further. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my views. I hope you and your family are well and I look forward to hearing from you.



William Georgia

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