To the editor:
As most of us can agree, Rockport is a very pretty town.
It isn’t just the water views but it is also how well the people maintain their own homes and property.
The town does an good job maintaining the public space as well. Up to now, the town has used very basic and accepted building codes/bylaws as a guide.
But for the most part, it is the individual property owner exhibiting pride of ownership that comes across to visitors and residents alike. It is the many individual property owners who are painting, cleaning, planting and improving their properties that creates the Rockport’s general appearance or atmosphere. This is something that has been a part of Rockport for so long that it is part of the culture.
However, if most of the proposed articles in the upcoming warrant for the Fall Town Meeting are accepted, it will ultimately hurt the town and not preserve it. The general theme of most of the Articles J to R is to give more authority to the zoning by-laws by expanding “site plan review” procedures.
These articles are vague and very open to misinterpretation. As in the case with all groups or committees, the intentions are generally good, but members change, personal agendas creep in, and individual likes or prejudicious take root.
When a governing body has loosely defined guidelines, the interpretations and resulting decisions become very arbitrary and whimsical. I personally do not want my home held hostage by any over-reaching government body. Please look over the specific Articles for yourself on the town of Rockport’s website — town.rockport.ma.us.
As indicated above, Rockporters’ pride of ownership was not created by a government official or committee, who will have their own viewpoints, prejudices, and agenda. This pride comes from a very diverse group of caring property owners who independently decide what will be done to improve and to maintain their own property.
Year after year, the property owners do this now. They will continue doing this without the expanded powers of the proposed changes to the by-laws. The results are amazing and most are very happy with the results.
The proposed new Articles J to R would simply expand the powers of the bylaws and site plan review mechanism. The changes could realistically and easily foster a more overbearing, dictatorial, and over-reaching intrusion into property owners rights.
In essence, the proposed expansion would simply become an even greater or additional obstruction to every property improvement.
If some of the proposed articles changed our bylaws, it would have an adverse effect on the town of Rockport. It is only common sense that, if more regulations are forced on the people of Rockport, property owners’ control of their own property would diminish.
It is also only human nature that this would negatively affect one’s pride of property ownership. Ultimately, it would diminish and sour the very positive Rockport culture and atmosphere that we currently enjoy.
Please vote “No” this Sept. 10 on Articles J through R. They only take away more property rights and give them to the whims and prejudices of a few.
We don’t need more or expanded regulations. If anything, we should start reviewing previously installed by-laws and vote out any unfair ones. We should also make them less arbitrary and less open to interpretation.
John T. Kolackovsky