Unfortunately, the current push for relocating the Spruces residents by creating a new community of affordable housing on the pristine, but relatively isolated Lowry property has been thrown into confusion by a less than effective administrative presentation and the apparent determination to build this substantial new community on conservation land.
There is also, and regrettably so, a dismaying perception that the Select Board is pushing toward this by not necessarily playing a straight hand.
Once again, however, the Board may be out of touch with the community, a phenomenon that occurs far more often than not at the Town Meetings I have attended the last 12 years, when Select Board recommendations are repeatedly ignored in floor votes. The current bad feeling created is heightened by the fact that we lack even rough cost estimates on the preparation of the Lowry property for development, the cost of the proposed housing, the cost of its maintenance over, say, 40 plus years, and any new employees that will need to be brought into Town Hall to manage this large and long term project.
Since the town is not likely to get the time-out it needs to sort through all the variables in a more deliberate way, the most prudent path would be to place the Lowry property - which is fully worthy of permanent conservation - out of reach, replaced by a project that would more slowly and deliberately infill the new, affordable housing around the town in the available sites that have been mentioned by others.
We should be considering housing that integrates people of more limited means into the already existing residential areas around town, rather than isolating them. I would argue that the town is healthier with more, rather than less economic integration.
Nicholas H. Wright