Lewes: Can't we all just get along

April 10, 2014

The meeting of the City of Lewes Planning Commission met April 2 and on the agenda was a discussion of the Highland Heights development which is planned for the wooded area between W. Fourth Street and Seagull Drive and the annexing of Point Farm.

All previous meetings on these subjects went rather smoothly, with an exchange of valuable information and a presentation of good ideas from both the planning commission and the citizens of Lewes in attendance.

Unfortunately, the tone changed mid-way through the meeting. As a silent observer I am trying to figure how and why this so suddenly happened. The contentious tone is counterproductive to what we all wish to accomplish. I believe that the tone of this meeting changed rapidly when one member of the commission accused another Lewes resident - without recourse to knowing the facts - of "trespassing" on the site; this was uncalled for and inappropriate for an appointed member of a public body. The commission chair might consider advising the outspoken member to address the citizens he serves in a different tone so as to be a more productive member of the commission.

Our Lewes City Planning Commission must have the health, safety and welfare of our community as its mission. It is a volunteer group without a professional city planner to service and resource them, struggling with some very difficult, technical and contentious issues. These volunteers give many hours of valuable time to their jobs, they love Lewes, live in Lewes, and want the best for it. The decisions they must make in the coming months regarding Highland Heights and Point Farm, will impact the City of Lewes for many decades, long after most of us are gone. The importance of these issues. and the irreversible nature of these decisions must be weighing heavily on this commission. They deserve the respect of the community.

The citizens of Lewes opposed to these issues are also very good people who also live in and love Lewes. They too volunteer many hours to these issues. That's what makes Lewes so wonderful. They have a long range view, wanting Lewes to be just as safe, prosperous and attractive to future generations as it is to them. They sincerely believe that the issues mentioned above will have long range negative implications on a town that they love. I have seen no evidence of any hidden agendas, or ulterior motives. These are caring people with a vision of the future, and a dossier of facts supporting their position.

Moving forward in these difficult times we must pay special attention to giving respect to those who disagree with us, not take a difference of opinion personally, and not make unfounded accusations but get the facts out on the table for all to see. Please, let us all move forward bravely, but in peace.

Ann Nolan

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