George Schiele, a long-time Greenwich resident and former member of the RTM, recently suggested that residents take a more active role in determining the future of Greenwich. In an article featured in the Greenwich Times last Friday, Mr. Schiele argues that Greenwich town planning resources are overwhelmed by many commercial projects “with deep pockets, legions of well paid ‘experts’ to testify and the best-connected legal counsel.”
While Greenwich home taxes outweigh “commercial Greenwich” by a margin of 6 to 1, Mr. Schiele poses the obvious question: Shouldn’t Greenwich residents be given more of a voice on the future of town development? Clearly they should, but will they?
Mr. Schiele seem less concerned with the outcome of future town development as long as there is reasonable debate within the community. In effect, he is asking that residents have a voice in determining the town’s future. As a long time resident and also a member of “commercial Greenwich,” I sympathize with Mr. Schiele and am hopeful that residents will take a far greater interest in “commercial” decisions which threaten to irreversibly change our community.
For those who equate “change” with ”progress,” I look back over the past 17 years and can’t help but feel that “commercial Greenwich” seems less relevant to the community as a whole. As a family-owned business, we find this disappointing since the implicit connection with the community tended to be more personal than commercial. Indeed, the gradual loss of that personal connection with the community has largely turned commercial Greenwich into little more than an outdoor mall.
Whether this is in the best long term interests of the community is a matter of debate. It is a discussion worth having and I applaud Mr. Schiele for suggesting it.
Sheila P. May