Letters to the Editor

Pine Ridge not a good fit

After soccer on Saturday morning, I was sitting watching all the kids running around the community playground and worrying about the future. With the possible purchase of the former Pine Ridge School by the residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program run by Maple Leaf Farms, I am concerned about the safety of my kids, the kids in our neighborhood at Sunrise Drive and the kids who go to and play at the Williston Central School. Many points concern me. Patients are both voluntary and court-ordered. These patients also include opiate- and heroin-based addicts. The facility would not be locked and has no security on site with a limited night staff. There will be an increased demand on our ambulatory and police services. While I try to be a compassionate person, I don’t believe the place for a rehabilitation facility is in the middle of a densely populated area, especially with so many young families around. If one of my family members needed help, I would not want them in a facility where in two minutes they could be in someone’s house, five minutes at the Interstate, 15 minutes to a general store and 20 minutes at a school. All it would take is one incident of violence or burglary or threats to safety to affect someone for the rest of their life.

After being a part of the Williston community for over 20 years, I would hope that the town would put the safety and concerns of its residents above the promises of undeveloped land. Sunrise at French Hill, the houses on Governor Chittenden Road and the houses on French Hill are the closest, but this is an issue that affects all of Williston. Voice your concerns to the Selectboard, because silence means agreement.

— Karen Allen



Working for balance

Last week’s guest column by Lori Marino conveys some understandable concerns about the new development coming to Williston at the Taft Corners parcel known as Lot 30. I read in Ms. Marino’s piece a desire to preserve the small town character and sense of community of Williston.

Those of us who serve the town on elected and appointed boards, as well as our highly qualified professional planning staff, share this desire to sustain a Williston that is both attractive and has a pleasing local character. Great care and thought have gone into our zoning ordinances and building requirements as a result. Far from being a “strip mall,” the development on Lot 30 will meet strict design requirements, be accessible through grid streets rather than directly off Route 2A, be surrounded by sidewalks and have shorter setbacks to promote a more pedestrian feel, and house both office and retail space to make good use of the available land. Furthermore, this development will bring more jobs to the area, and the businesses’ property taxes, impact fees, and sales taxes will help all Willistonians continue to enjoy a high quality of life along with some of the lowest property taxes in the county.

I believe we can and should balance the preservation of small town character and aesthetics with beneficial economic development through thoughtful planning. When this new development is completed, I think residents will see that Williston is a leader in achieving this balance.

— Debbie Ingram



I support Jay Michaud

I am writing to show my support for Jay Michaud as state representative and to urge others to do the same. I have been working closely with the campaign and have found that, as a businessman and entrepreneur, Jay understands what Vermont needs for its citizens. He truly cares about improving the lives of Vermonters and has the right knowledge and experience to make that happen. We cannot wait any longer for new representation.

As a senior at Champlain College, living on my own three hours from my small hometown in Vermont, I struggle to pay my bills. I go to school and work full time just to get by. Every day I worry about rent, my car payment, gas to get to school and work, and food just to survive. I cannot even afford health insurance. Once I graduate, I’ll have college loans to pay on top of everything. With all of this on my plate, I fear I will not be able to stay in Vermont, as it does not have much to offer me.

Jay understands these dilemmas of my generation. That is why he is fighting to make the health care system more affordable, as well as housing. Cutting taxes will lower rent, which will in turn make it so I can save some money for my future. Creating more jobs in Vermont means I could stay close to my family in the state that I love and grew up in. That is why I support Jay. He understands and he cares. He is not doing this just for me. He is in it to improve the lives of all Vermonters, so you should support him, too. We will be lucky to have him as a State Representative.

— Alexandra Madore