So, our Founders decided to create a nation in which citizens had a government; what Kate Coons and Ivy Vann are doing is turning that upside down to have subjects for their Government.
So after doing the videos, and having gotten that “strange” look (er, sour?) from Kate Coons when she asked about what I had learned from the night and my response was “really, a four block NH village is talking about New Urbanism and population densification like it was, well, an urban area? Kinda silly” (or something along those lines), I decided to see how the elections sorted themselves out – especially “Article 15”.
Sidenote: this went long as I quote a bunch of newspaper articles. If you want to get right to the point, search this page for “Proper channels” (do a CTRL-F, enter “Proper channels” and hit ENTER).
Article 15. Quickly put, an earlier zoning change allowed for smaller lot sizes “in town”. This warrant article was slated to “turn back the clock” and make the minimum lot sizes bigger and the usual NH town debate started – nothing. Then a couple of folks decided to do a “protest petition” (described here, in an Op-Ed by Christopher Maidment; go read it before continuing this post) including Kate Coons of the League of Women Voters. Her sidekick in this legal (but ethical, given it was shoved onto the folks of Peterborough at just about the last moment) was the Planning Board Vice-Chair Ivy Vann that would change a win for Article 15 from 50%+1 majority to a 2/3rds majority.
So, given that the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript is mostly behind a paywall, I had several articles sent to me and it turned out, the story builds up bit by bit (all are reformatted and emphasis mine):
Through their attorney Mark Fernald, some Peterborough residents who signed the petition to place zoning Amendment 15 on the ballot are asking the town to have the town attorney re-evaluate the protest petition that is requiring a two-thirds majority of Tuesday’s vote in order for the zoning petition to pass.
“I have reviewed the two protest petitions that have been filed against that zoning amendment. I understand that the Town and its Counsel have concluded that both petitions are valid. I believe those conclusions are incorrect,” Fernald wrote in a letter to town administrator Rodney Bartlett on Friday.
Amendment 15, submitted by a group of citizens, would repeal the Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone II, and amend the Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone I to require larger lot sizes and longer road frontage than currently required in the general residence portion of the zone.
In other words, undo the changes in the zoning that started moving Peterborough to act like it was Boston in size. People decided that enough was enough. And then…
Last week, the Select Board received two petitions requesting the proposed amendment require a super-majority, two-thirds of the vote, to pass. Planning Board Chairwoman Ivy Vann and Kate Coon gathered the signatures of landowners in the impacted district…
This caused people in town to really look sideways at their Selectboard for accepting the protest warrants AFTER most people had left the Selectboard’s meeting in thinking the meeting was over. Another article really caught my eye on what the Planning Board thought of Article 15 that would do that roll back. And let me bold one particular part:
A petition article submitted by a group of citizens seeks to repeal one of Peterborough’s overlay districts and amend another. The majority of discussion at the Planning Board’s public hearing on proposed zoning amendments on Monday centered around two petition zoning articles. The Planning Board was unanimously opposed, with one abstaining, against recommending an amendment proposed, by petition, to repeal the town’s Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone II in its entirety, and to amend its Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone I.
The overlay zones, which were adopted in 2014 and 2017 respectively, are meant to encourage infill and denser development in the areas of town where there is already water or sewer access. Those proposing and supporting the amendment said the level of density the districts allow is too dense for Peterborough.
And who might that abstention have been? It’s too bad that the MLT piece didn’t say. I do have to wonder, however, if it was the Chair Ivy Vann, knowing that she was in the process in killing off the Article?
And finally, we return to the title of this post: SHUT UP (the “Proper Role of Government”). The MLT had this after the vote and boy, were two people ever happy – one of them being Kate Coon. Read what she had to say:
Zoning Amendment 15 gained majority favor at the polls, but fell short of the 2/3 margin needed to pass, after a protest petition filed last week.
Amendment 15, submitted by petition by a group of residents, would have repealed the Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone II, and amended the Traditional Overlay Zone I to require larger lot sizes, road frontages and setbacks in the general residence portion of the zone. Normally, the amendment would have required a simple majority to pass – meaning the 778 yes votes would have been enough to overcome the 719 no votes at the polls. However, last week, a petition was submitted by landowners in Traditional Neighborhood Zone I and abutting properties which legally raised the bar from a majority to a 2/3 majority needed to pass.
Kate Coon, who assisted in gathering the signatures for the protest petition, said there was a better way to go about changing the zoning. “If you don’t like [Traditional Neighborhood Overlay Zone II], fine, let’s improve it. But you need to do it through the proper channels,” she said.
Proper channels. And what might they be, Kate Coon? And Ivy Vann? Let me guess – you want to cut people out of the process. A legal process. We just can’t allow the riff-raff to run the place, can we? This whole next section is STUNNING in its “WE are better than you – WE can’t allow you to make the decisions around here. WE will MAKE you leave it to us”.
Coon said when the Planning Board submits amendments, it’s done through a public process with public input – which she said is a better option than a single person or small group submitting a petition. Ivy Vann, the vice-chair of the Planning Board, who submitted the protest petition, agreed with the sentiment. “We don’t make comprehensive zoning decisions based on a petition signed by 25 people. That’s not good planning,” Vann said. “That’s exactly why we submitted the protest petition.”
So, our Founders decided to create a nation in which citizens had a government; what Coons and Ivy are doing is turning that upside down to have subjects for their Government. They have come right out and said “We in Government don’t trust you who put us into Government”. They deliberately decided that the ability for townfolk to make their own decisions during a legal Town Meeting process should be taken away from them. Which they did at the last possible moment so that their fellow voters couldn’t rectify this wrong. And it is WRONG!
After all, GOVERNMENT has work to do – get out of our WAY! What an utter disregard by these two Elites towards “the little people”. Even if Government doesn’t get it right, individual people would get it “wronger” if we don’t stop them at the pass:
Vann said the Planning Board intends to continue to do work on zoning changes this year, including hiring a consultant and arranging meetings in specific neighborhoods, as part of an overhaul of a zoning simplification amendment which failed at the polls in 2018. Vann said the 2018 amendment could have answered a lot of the concerns people have about the Traditional Neighborhood Zones while still allowing for in-fill and higher density development.
And then the two of them REALLY showed their Progressive mindset:
“I’d be the first to say they’re not perfect,” Vann said of the overlay zones. “Which is why we spent a year trying to present something that was better. And it was better – but not better enough.” “I’m glad that there’s a solid base left to work from,” Coon said. Coon wasn’t surprised by the fact the amendment got majority support, and said she knew it would be a close call, which prompted her to assist with the petition in the first place.
“I felt it was really important to push the bar higher for an amendment that is so radical and undoes so much hard work done over such a long period of time,” Coon said.
Radical? No, regressive. This is how the governments that our Founders fled acted. The Founders were the ones that were the radicals in believing in self-government in that people should decide for themselves. Coon should be absolutely ashamed of herself for this attitude (and no small portion saved off for Ivy) but this is typical and a “tell” of Statists – how DARE you challenge our authority to lord over you? How DARE you ask the townfolk, with a mere single vote, do away with our hard work?
How can YOU have the AUTHORITY to override US with…..a vote? It’s sad – Progressives are trying to turn this nation into a pure democracy, mostly on the idea that a mobocracy would yield them more electoral wins but here, in Peterborough, we see a rejection of a direct democracy in determining their future simply because they didn’t like the outcome (just like Progressives want to now get rid of the Electoral College, lower the voting age, pack the Supreme Court, rejigger all congressional districts, and have open borders – simply to get the outcomes they believe they are owed and deserve.
So, has Kate Coon war gamed out what impact this will have on the reputation of the League of Women Voters locally and State-wide? Conservative all over the State already believe a better name is The League of Women Vote Stealers for each time an effort is made to allow only those who should be able to vote here in NH, they decide to screw it up (e.g., illegal voters are fine with them).
Perhaps now it should be The League of Women Voters And You Have To Vote With Us. Long title, but Coon and Vann are giving it credence