Democracy is the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people. Oscar Wilde
Some land-use appeals generated a heated debate between private citizens at Monday’s council meeting.
Those of you who have been reading my journal know that in late summer of 2006 I was concerned we were moving too hastily on the highlands land-use planning, with the risk of leaving some people and their concerns out of the process.
Thankfully, council finally convened a citizen task force in October, which worked long hours to deliver highlands recommendations to council on the very day they were needed for incorporation into the 2006 Comp plan amendments. This task force performed well, reaching unanimous task force agreement on rezoning, text amendments, and comprehensive plan changes for the highlands.
After so swiftly completing so much work affecting so many already-developed acres, it’s not a huge surprise that we are now receiving a few appeals.
As these appeals make their way through the process, the important thing to remember is the appeals do not diminish the work that has been done. Appeals may do nothing, or they may lead to fine-tuning of the final product or supporting analysis, but they do not replace the hard work of the highland task force.
Furthermore, it’s important not to get upset with the parties making the appeals. Appealing a decision is a right under our law, and it is not productive to combat citizens for exercising their rights.
Instead, we should celebrate the fact that we live in a democracy that guarantees due process to all citizens, whether or not they hold the majority opinion. There is an established legal process for working through land-use appeals, and we need to simply give this process time to work. Democracy is the best system around, but no one has said that it is the fastest.
And please let Oscar Wilde’s funny quip remain only a quip…greet your fellow citizens with kindness, and let’s say ‘no’ to bludgeoning ourselves while the process works things out.