Help Keep Concord Rural
The Town of Concord’s rural character has been maintained over the years largely by the Concord Town Plan. The Concord Town Plan is more restrictive than the county’s plan, but the county is the zoning authority for Concord and is supposed to follow the Concord plan when it comes to land use (rezoning in Farmland Preservation areas; number of lot splits allowed). Last March they informed me they would no longer follow the town plan and would allow commercial development at their discretion.
Concord is in the final stages of the 10-year update of the town plan. Concord residents have shown a very strong desire to keep Concord rural, largely the way it is. We as a town have just spent over $27,000 to update our town plan.
Obviously there are pressures persuading the county to go against its constituents in Concord as it pushes development here. If we as Concord residents want a more democratic say about land use in our community, the town plan is the key tool. So we need to put pressure on the county to change back to following our town plan. There are several ways to do this:
- Talk to county supervisors. The county staff often advise the supervisors on how to vote, but ultimately the county staff must follow the supervisors' directives. The supervisors have a lot of issues to consider, and as of now most of them are not aware of the details of what is happening in Concord. (Concord's supervisors are Jeff Johns, for the west side of Concord, and Mark Groose, for the east side. It would be good to contact other supervisors as well to let them know that county citizens are concerned.) It might also be helpful to have a polite conversation with the county administrator and/or the county attorney as to why they have advised the supervisors against following the wishes of most Concord residents on land use in Concord.
- Talk to other people in the county. Supposedly the county will treat all towns equally, which means other towns’ plans will be ignored as well. Why should towns spend money on plans if they will not be followed?
- Sign up to get emails or texts with updates and notifications about meetings. Beyond the current appeal, we need to convince the county that citizens care about this issue—that we are paying attention and will protest.
- If you are able, please contribute funds to appeal a recent rezoning: While the appeal focuses on a specific case (boat-storage buildings on Hwy. B), we are really appealing a change in county policy: the decision to no longer follow town plans for A-2 rezoning. The appeal asks the court to make the county follow the law, which states they have to follow our plan when rezoning land out of Farmland Preservation. For the appeal to go ahead, we need to raise the funds by early October. Because we are not asking for monetary compensation (damages), the county's lawsuit insurance does not cover our claim: why is the county paying out-of-pocket to defend this rezoning?
Want more details? Defend Town Plans has a website with a detailed timeline of events, information on the legal background of the case, and more. The following link will take you to the “Background” section of the DTP website; it will open in a new window: https://defendtownplans.org/background