Heated Discourse

Let’s hope cooler heads will prevail

The Town Council certainly delivered a strong message Tuesday night when the councilors voted unanimously to have all members of the Planning Board attend the next council meeting and individually explain their opinions on an “overlay district” matter concerning a former nursing home on Pleasant Street.

Council President Jeffrey Turco said in no uncertain terms that the Planning Board must not “punt” on this issue and should deliver a report on the matter by the close of the business day on January 13. The Planning Board’s  attendance at the January 18 meeting is mandatory or there could be serious repercussions.

As we all know, there always are two sides to every story. Richard Dimes, the Chairman of the Planning Board and a former Selectman, says that there never has been a written request from the Town Council asking for the Planning Board to explain its actions on this matter. There have been some conversations between the leaders of the two boards, but Dimes is adamant that there has not been a formal, written request from the council president.

These exchanges have set up what could be a rollicking, old-fashioned “discussion” of the matter at the next council meeting. Council President Turco himself used the word “fireworks” to describe the anticipated meeting among the nine council members and the Planning Board.

Should there have been a written request made of the Planning Board for its opinion on the matter, or was a verbal request enough? That’s a question that the town’s legal counsel could answer, but in any event, the stage is now set for a meeting between the two boards.

As things stand, the contentiousness between the Council and the Planning Board is the talk of the town. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail and both boards can solve their differences in a professional and congenial way.

We would remind all parties involved that once words come out of your mouth, you can’t take them back and that all should keep in mind the maxim that individuals can disagree without being disagreeable.

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