In the context of Weston, that change is represented by a new charter.
The state Plan of Conservation and Development 2013-18 has some changes, too. The one most relevant to Weston is that power increasingly devolves to local government. But under new rules and definitions.
One of those rules is to consider development one census block at a time, when it comes to growth management or zoning decisions. Is this smart growth? I think it is, at least for Weston.
Knowledge is power, and to further that concept the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) recently obtained a $2.15-million grant to do aerial photography that will bring maps for all towns and cities in the southwestern region of Connecticut up to date. This is an example of regional cooperation that everyone likes!
Using geographic information system (GIS) technology from SWRPA, Weston will be able to get a better handle on where properties and homes are located in relation to rivers and streams. Aerial photography for planning purposes is done before the leaves come out in the spring. The large fir tree that fell a few feet from my house during Hurricane Sandy should be gone by that time!
There are now new rules of the road for local government. Charter revision passed!
There were seven votes to be cast by an individual voter here in Weston on Election Day 2012, including a choice for state senator that depended on which of two districts the voter resides in.
Well over 5,000 votes were cast in the federal contests, which occupied the first three columns on the ballot. The contest for the 135th House District, appearing in column 5, saw the number of votes cast drop off just a tad. But that contest, and registrar of voters candidates appearing in the next column, still garnered more than 5,000 votes.
Lastly, though, the charter vote came in at just over 4,000. Did this reflect voter “fatigue”? Or was it that not everyone who went out to vote on Nov. 6 was fully up to speed on what the charter question was all about?
Having approved the new charter, Westonites can now sit down and fully study what the changes mean to them.
For one thing, we now will have an appointed tax collector, beginning at the end of the present tax collector’s term.
I was opposed to this idea. It seems to me to be a good thing to have a tax collector who knows the town and its people and seeks their votes every two years. An appointed tax collector is not required to live in Weston.
Something I hope and trust will not be affected by this change is tax relief for the elderly. Tax forgiveness or tax deferral for the more needy elderly means that someone else will be picking up the difference. The justification has always been that we are a caring community and seek to have the full range of age groups living in town.
Generally, it seems as if the aging population in Weston is being better served than ever before. Future plans for the central part of town will include expanded senior service on the school campus.
Before a tsunami of children hit Weston schools around 1995, a committee studying school population estimates recommended adding eight rooms to North House. Ultimately, only four were built. But the foundations were strong enough to support all eight. Now, that is what I call planning ahead!