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Letter: Story has another side

Dear Editor,

I understand that most newspaper articles are about controversy and that you have limited space for your stories. However, I can't believe that there was no room in your recent article ('Chapter 168' causes stir among landowners in St. Joseph, Feb. 12) to mention that several residents, including myself, spoke out in support of the ordinance. I say residents because it is still not clear to me how many acres one has to own to be considered a "land owner."

The St. Joseph Planning Commission and Town Board have worked very hard for more than two years on this well-thought-out approach to development issues in our town. All of the meetings, agendas and minutes have been posted and open to the public.

Is it perfect? I highly doubt it. However, the implication that this was done improperly or without public input is ludicrous. This is not about "government control" of what people can do on their land. It is about planning future development in our town and working toward a shared vision of what St. Joe will look like in the future. This is an entirely proper role for our local government. People participating in an open process and making decisions through our elected and appointed representatives is what democracy is all about.

Making these development decisions optional, as some have suggested, doesn't make any sense. A lot of us probably wish taxes were optional. We either have an ordinance or we don't. We either take responsibility for managing growth at the town level or we let other government bodies do it for us. We need to give this ordinance a chance to work and then the town board can modify or change it if necessary.

It probably is a good thing that so many people care and showed up the other night. Change is hard, and I welcome the opportunity to work with my neighbors on realizing a shared vision that protects the valuable natural resources of our town.

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