Next week, the Borough Assembly will tackle the second half of the anadromous streams protection issue. Following more than five hours of public testimony from more than 100 members of the public, the Assembly voted not to repeal protections that were already on the books.
The next part of this battle is ordinance 2013-18, which basically modifies what the Assembly voted to keep in place at its last meeting. It adopts special exceptions to the fifty foot set-back at the heart of the ordinance, for lake front properties and prior existing uses and structures. Assembly members Wolf, Pierce and Taurienen voted for repeal last time. It’s probably a safe bet they’ll also vote against the new version. In his comments at the end of the last meeting, Charlie Pierce made it clear what his constituency wants.
“Funny River Road and Sterling want you to educate our kids, want you to take care of the roads, want you to haul the trash, want you to make sure a fire engine or ambulance show up when we need it. I don’t want animal control, I don’t want zoning. My constituents have spoken to me. They don’t want this to go. If you have the courage to pass this, I hope you’re never elected to another office again. I hope the folks remember that vote for you,” Pierce said to some applause.
His sharp criticism of the proposed ordinance drew an equally sharp response from Assembly member Bill Smith.
“As far as Mr. Pierce’s impassioned defense of the property owners along Sterling and Funny River, really, repealing 2011-12 doesn’t effect them for the most part. They’ve been regulated since either 1996 or 2000. So regardless of how loudly he (Pierce) shouts about 2011-12, those properties aren’t effected by that, and it would be good if he would actually read the ordinances before he talks about them.
Assembly member Mako Haggerty noted that many of the voices against these new measures are long time private property owners who do know how take good care of their land so it’s healthy for fish. But that’s not enough.
“What I’m concerned about are the people coming behind you, after us…the ones who didn’t show up here tonight, those are the ones I’m concerned about. And I don’t think that they have the same stewardship for their property as the rest of us do. I commend the property owners that are here tonight because I believe they’re good stewards of that property,” Haggerty said.
The comments made by Assembly members were likely the last on the issue. There won’t be any public testimony next week, since people were allowed to speak to both measures last time. The Assembly is set to vote Tuesday July second.