The new administration in Princetown is now saying to all those residents who want a master plan that will protect the town's scenic beauty and promote smart growth, "pardon the interruption."
The interruption was caused by a former supervisor, Melanie Whiteley, who took an excellent master plan developed by a special committee and consultant in 2009 that would do those things and tried to kill it, first by letting it languish, then by appointing a new committee that riddled it with holes and confusion. We're happy to see the original plan from 2009 will be resurrected, with adoption by early 2013 the goal.
Opponents of that plan complained that it would add new regulations, interfere with property owners' rights and be costly to implement. But they never got together with the committee that produced it, which included planners and citizens, or the consultant to discuss it.
Instead, they got Whiteley to appoint -- and in some cases appoint them to -- a new committee designed to "meld" the proposed master plan with the old plan from 1988. The result was a sloppy, cobbled-together effort that took much of the language, goals and vision of the 2009 plan but grafted it onto the 1988 plan.
That outdated plan doesn't include the specific regulations the 2009 plan calls for to control growth. Nor does it contemplate anything like the hamlet-like town center with some appropriate commercial development recommended in the 2009 plan -- one of the concepts residents said was important to them in a survey done before the whole process started. In fact, the cobbled-together plan mentioned that recommendation only to dismiss it.
There is now yet another committee working, this one with the goal not of weakening the 2009 plan but of updating it (with public participation, something that was lacking in the Whiteley administration rewrite) and finally getting it adopted by the Town Board. It's about time.