RTM member Matthew Mandell's image certainly loomed large at Tuesday night's Board of Selectmen meeting. Through a recorded statement, played via a laptop and YouTube onto a projector screen, he explained why the board should not accept the traffic proposal in front of it.
"We shouldn't be contemplating this at all. We should not be allowing a 102,000 sq. ft. commercial facility to be located in a residential neighborhood. There are opportunities in this town to place it elsewhere. We could put it on Baron's South. We could put it on the Imperial Lot," Mandell said about the plan to move the Westport/Weston Family YMCA from its downtown location to the Camp Mahackeno site.
The Selectmen indulged the almost 9-minute video despite asking the public actually present for last night's hearing to limit comments to three minutes. In the end, the extra time served for naught. The board voted in their capacity as the local traffic advisory to concur with the 30 points set out by traffic engineers for redesigning the Merritt Parkway connector, Sunny Lane and Route 33 intersections to accommodate the new YMCA.
They also included two extra provisions for checking signal timings at existing nearby stoplights and reevaluating if an additional one should be installed at another intersection.
The meeting opened with Town Attorney Ira Bloom telling the Selectmen that for the purpose of the traffic review, no considerations outside of the roadways and safety could be considered.
Third Selectman Gavin Anderson took offense at accusations that the town, and especially his own board, has been blindly passing the YMCA plans through. "Don't ever come to me and tell me I rubber stamp. I find that very insulting and it is very insulting to my colleagues."
After the presentations for and against the traffic application, he said he was hard pressed to do anything but concur that the plans sufficiently address all relevant concerns for safety. His colleagues agreed unanimously and will be sending their concurrence to the State Traffic Commission.
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