Meeting outburst not the right response

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 4, 2006

The recent planning commission public hearings held in Westover reflected a disturbing trend in the way the public deals with that fledgling town&8217;s government and it&8217;s appointed bodies.

In particular we refer to the town council and the town planning commission.

The mayor and council were elected to conduct the business of government. And they appointed people to the town&8217;s planning commission who were willing to serve, become knowledgeable and accountable for planning and zoning matters.

All of this came about after public input was sought to create a comprehensive plan that guides planning and zoning ordinances and the pattern of growth for the town.

When the public has concern or opposition to coming developments, they can get on the agenda, attend meetings and let the Planning Commission and Town Council know how they feel in an orderly fashion.

Such was not the case, however, at the recent Westover Planning Commission meeting.

It is true that a preliminary plat public hearing for the Westover Park Subdivision was the last public hearing on the agenda and other media had to leave because of pressing deadlines. But there were other matters on the agenda and people who attended for those matters.

What happened next was a request by the developer to continue the public hearing for Westover Park to July to give them more time to prepare. And the public got out of control. Ultimately those who wanted to speak on the agenda did speak. The loud outburst could have, and should have, been avoided.

That is not the American way