Town Planner Nancy Letendre is a promoter of “Smart Growth.” This is “an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options and community engagement,” a rather shrewd description. In truth, it advocates mixed-use (residential and commercial zones combined, for example) and the end of district zoning (no R30 or R20, lots limited to 20 or 30 thousand square feet per residence, for example), and increased density in residential zones.
Why has no one picked up on another term associated with “Smart Growth,” “Housing Tourism”? This is an insidious way of surreptitiously inviting increased density into residential zones through the back door, say nothing of strangers in your front, back or side yard. Along with “Smart Growth,” it is described in the “Terms and Concepts” section of the 2020-40 Comprehensive Plan as “a sector of the tourism industry, which uses associations of private homeowners to welcome and host visitors (e/g. tourists) for a brief or extended experience to share a community or region’s heritage, history, architecture, craftmanship and/or cuisine.” As far as I can find, no permit is required. Even if a permit were required, how long do you think the Town of Westerly would retain its quaint, historical character? I see the town becoming a mecca for tourists/strangers/thieves and, worse, taking over our town. Strike that term from the Appendix. Don’t we residents have enough problems with neither the Town Council nor the Planning Board willing to touch Attorney Thomas Liguori’s rewrite of Section 260-73 Golf Courses?
On to Zoning Board member Doug Brockway’s Letter to the Editor regarding golf course changes. He states, “The current Comprehensive Plan designates golf courses as Commercial Recreational.” Of the four golf courses, only one is commercial, the Winnapaug Golf Course. The three others are private and should be properly designated in the Open Space Recreational Zoning District. He also says, “Every golf course in Westerly has some combination of a pro shop, locker room, bar, restaurant, lodging, tennis and more. Again, these are private accessory uses for members only, not the public.