Letter: Important commission discussions

To the Editors:

Last week two town commissions considered matters of significant importance to our town. The Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously recommended that artificial turf containing crumb rubber infill not be used to replace the artificial turf at the high school football field. They cited concerns expressed about cancer and cited the excessive heat generated by crumb rubber.

Their investigation showed that coconut husks infill has a cooling effect, citing Google’s installation and resultant popularity among its employees.

The PRC should be commended for its conclusion, especially given the well-orchestrated campaign for crumb rubber infill that sadly was approved by a split decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission for installation at the Middlebrook School. That approval is, thankfully, being challenged in court because of hearing irregularities and the continued use of illegal lights, among other things.

The other important commission matter was a proposal by P&Z commissioner Franklin Wong that P&Z meetings be video broadcast like those of the boards of Selectmen, Education and Finance.

I strongly believe that video broadcasting would expose the absurdity of what some commissioners and staff say. Such exposure would educate the citizens and voters on the quality of some commissioners and some but not all town employees.

Just by way of some example, at the Sept. 28, 2015, P&Z meeting, Commissioner Knapp appropriately challenged a lighting plan which called for up-lighting where regulations clearly provided that outdoor lighting must be pointed down. In response to the town planner’s suggestion that the commission is free to interpret its regulations, Commissioner Knapp pointed out the absurdity of that advice by observing, “I don’t see how anything that says lights shall be directed down can be interpreted to light can be directed up.” There are other examples of the town planner’s absurd advice, including advice given to the Zoning Board of Appeals that contributed to litigation that the town lost.

The former P&Z chairman Christopher Hulse conducted hearings in such an outrageously biased fashion that his conduct is being challenged in court. The current chairman, Sally Poundstone, while chairman of the ZBA, supported installation of 70-foot lights in the virtual back yard of adjoining neighbors in part on the grounds that timers could be placed on them (as though timers could not work on light poles within the legal limit of 30 feet!).

However, appointing the town planner as the person to investigate the feasibility of televising and thereby exposing his shortcomings is like installing a fingerprint-locking device on the chicken coop programmed to recognize none but the fox’s fingerprint.
Anthony F. LoFrisco
Cider Mill Place, Jan. 19