Promoting Civility, Transparency and Access to Public Information
Small-town government depends on the involvement and participation of its citizens. For too long, the Little Compton Town Council has kept residents in the dark about Council business. The current Council discourages citizen participation by 1) limiting access to public information; 2) not providing adequate time for people to voice concerns during meetings; 3) using an antiquated audio system that makes it difficult to hear discussions among themselves; and 4) too often reacting to public input in a defensive manner. No one should be afraid to voice an opinion or concern at TC meetings. The five Democrats running for LC Town Council will treat all residents with respect, regardless of personal opinion or political party. We will make public meeting materials readily available on a constantly updated town website. We will conduct town business in an open, inclusive and deliberative manner. In these difficult times, this is how we will all move forward together.
Clear, consistent rules needed for Little Compton agriculture
Agriculture remains an important foundation of Little Compton’s economy and identity.
Through the Agricultural Conservancy Trust, the town has invested tens of millions of dollars to preserve Compton’s productive farmlands. The challenge of supporting the activities of local farmers while maintaining the integrity of residential neighborhoods can’t be addressed passively or arbitrarily.
In the town’s two zoning districts —Residential and Business — agriculture is a permitted use by right. No matter the outcome of the pending litigation surrounding Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, the next Town Council will need to review the zoning ordinance regarding accessory agricultural uses. Such a process must encourage ample involvement from the town’s citizens, including its active farmers.
An amended and consistently applied ordinance should ensure that legitimate agricultural enterprises can operate: 1) in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner; 2) with respect for landowner property rights; 3) in conformance with the state Right to Farm Act; and 4) with due consideration for neighboring residents and property owners. Achieving such a balance will be a challenging task. But it is, I believe, a necessary one in order to sustain agricultural activities that benefit all the community, by providing food, employment, income, and the open spaces we all enjoy.
Democratic candidate for Little Compton Town Council