ABOUT TOWN: The Lunch Box

If Weston is a global village in microcosm, then the seat of power is The Lunch Box.

Throughout the three decades I have lived in Weston, Lunch Box denizens have invariably included politically active sorts. Not necessarily partisans, but those intimately connected to running and serving in volunteer government.

We have few public meeting places for adults. Nearby Weston Center are our public schools, centers of activity for a community that is exceptionally focused on educating its youth. After the commuter rush and completion of morning school bus routes, where else to catch up?

Additionally, to me The Lunch Box symbolizes the neighborhood candy store and soda fountain of long ago. I recall a time when it actually did have a soda fountain, carrying on a now long gone tradition.

At Weston Center, in its few stores, we all recognize familiar faces, whether in front of or behind the cash register. Those new to town might not be fully aware of its history. In 1950, there was no zoning, and so an enterprising Weston family decided to create a town center. Their vision of a shopping center was akin to Noah’s Ark. One store for each set of basic needs.

One of my instructors in planning school, from across the pond, referred to a neighborhood shopping center as fulfilling the need to purchase “a tin of pepper.”

So if we were to ask the old question about whether the chicken or the egg came first, in relation to local zoning and Weston Center, the answer would be “predecessors of The Lunch Box.” Second came zoning. Then, in 1969, Weston drew up its first Town Plan. In 1970, zoning changes implemented that plan, introducing the then new concept of “Special Permit Zoning.”

Questions

Who is our most direct voice in Hartford?

Our state representative, whose district includes all of Weston and Easton, and part of Redding. The 135th District was represented for many years by Alice Meyer of Easton and then John Stripp of Weston. It is Redding’s turn. A resident of Redding, just completing his first term, stands for re-election. His opponent from the other major political party is from the same town.

On Oct. 13, at 10:30 a.m. in the Weston Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Weston will bring before you the candidates for this important office. It will be a three- person debate, Democrat, Republican and Green Party.

How does the Weston LWV celebrate its 50th year as an independent organization this fall? With a non-partisan party in the form of a debate. Business first. The only questions asked will be yours. Duplicate questions will be merged by a league panel, comprising members of both major political parties.

An expert moderator from the League of Women Voters of Connecticut will keep things moving, and on the proper track.

My questions for the state representative candidates are mostly environmental. Are changes in the wind that would affect zoning, lessening the power of local boards? In this age of “smart growth” is “Special Permit Zoning” still in favor?

One of the most essential factors that keeps Weston looking like Weston is our steadfast devotion to protection of the water cycle. Every residence has its own septic system, and nearly all have their own water wells.

Westonites recognize the importance of being responsible stewards of the natural environment. What will the legislature be doing, and what should it be doing, in relation to this issue?

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