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Reader’s Forum


UDO amendment shortsighted


Our Planning Board (PB) amending our city’s Unified Downtown Ordinance (UDO) decision to grant a conditional permit to a downtown bar was shortsighted. Their 4-3 decision to decrease separation requirements for bars, mega breweries, and “adult social clubs” from 300 feet of property line to 50 feet building to building from churches,  schools, parks or  playgrounds has severe consequences on our central business district.

History and tradition have played a vital role in shaping our city and county’s business, civic, and church community. Currently, our central business district reinforces these family values. George Santayana’s notion about history that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” should be heeded.

True progress and increasing downtown merchants and restaurants are welcome. But not at the expense of transforming our central business district into another Bourbon Street with adult social clubs, bars, and speak easies on every corner. What type of message would this send our youth?

C.S. Lewis wrote about progress in Mere Christianity: “we all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be.

“And if you have taken a wrong turn, then going forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

City Council and the Planning Board should reconsider their initial approvals and changes to UDO regulations.

If you don’t agree with our PB’s changes to UDO rules and regulations, then you should plans to attend the City Council Public Forum on May 5.

Robert Tomlinson


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