Litmus Test: Will Adjustments Make
Village Residents’ Lives More Pleasant?
The Freeman’s Journal/HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 25-26, 2014
To the Editor:
We are all entitled to utter vapid statements now and then. Unfortunately, at least one of mine was made out-loud, in public: At the Village Board meeting in November, during the public comment segment, I made the suggestion that if the board wanted to help Bassett Healthcare it would remove the time limit on parking in residential areas.
I felt justified when, a week later, The Freeman’s Journal reported that Bassett had decided to move 40 full-time jobs to Utica now and maybe 100 in the future. A key factor, Bassett’s spokesperson said, was that Utica promises to dedicate 125 parking spaces to Bassett employees.
But I soon came to realize that my statement of November was thoughtlessly hasty. I was presenting the parking issue as an alternative to changes in the zoning law, but I spoke, in effect, in behalf of commercial interests in the village while ignoring the interests of the residents of the village. This did not make the statement evil, but the commercial interests have highly focused resources at their disposal. The residents, as a body of separate individuals, do not. And my focus is residential.
One illustration of the importance of focus relates to the recent effort to create a new comprehensive plan for Cooperstown. The comprehensive plan of 1994 was the work, over a three-year period, of a committee of village residents headed by Giles Russell. The most recent planning effort was assigned to a firm from Saratoga Springs that seemed to regard the opinions of visitors to the village as important as the opinions of village residents, or more so.
I attended all three summary meetings (charrettes) conducted by the Saratoga Springs firm and concluded that their effort could not compare in thoroughness or practical effectiveness to the effort made by Giles Russell and the village residents on the comprehensive plan committee.
All of this relates to my thoughts about parking in residential areas. I have discussed this with several long-time residents of the village. Some are retired, some commute, some work in Cooperstown, all simply want to live in a pleasant and relatively stress-free environment. A change in the parking laws will do them no good. Me neither.