Town ignoring law

To the Editor:

With regard to the Zagoreoses’ property, I think we need to understand that it is not about what any of us would “rather” see done there. It is about the law, “the deal,” as it were. If we break the deal every time something comes up that doesn’t precisely fit our utopian vision, then there is no deal, there is no process, that any one of us can rely on. 

The instability and unfairness this approach yields is the polar opposite of what we are, or should be, trying to achieve with our laws. Let’s just look at the facts.

There was a house there before the applicable law was adopted, and since its development and current use predate the adoption of that section, any further and otherwise legal building is exempted from the ZBA review that section requires, as is stated clearly in that very section, 133-11, itself. Never mind that the “undeveloped coastal barrier district” referenced does not actually exist.

As a preexisting situation, then, it makes a very weak argument in favor of development elsewhere in the area, so its value as a precedent is next to nothing, unlike some would have you believe. The complications Mr. Kornrumpf refers to arose because “somebody” decided, contrary to what the law itself says, that the project needed ZBA review, and has tried to force that.

So, it is the town seeking to ignore its own law, not the Zagoreoses. That is the precedent being set. This situation is not the result of a failure of law, but of initiative, as the property could very likely have been purchased at a deep discount to today’s prices had it been pursued immediately after the fire, and before the various permits had been acquired. 

Regardless, if another house materializes there, it will not be any kind of travesty of justice, nor a “thing” as Mr. Waddington so disparagingly referred to it, or an ecological tragedy, but rather a home, built by people who already lived there and who love the land and our Island as much as anyone else, on property designated buildable by our own law. 

I hope things can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, that a deal for the property can be made. Should that occur, however, it would be wrong to construe that outcome as a reward for our bad behavior. It will be far more likely that the Zagoreoses find it in their hearts to forgive it.