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Conservation Committee Meeting to be Held Concerning Pheeny's Island Project

Letter to the editor from Herbert Ellison.

To the editor:

When I purchased my home on South Lakeview Rd. in Norton back in 1990 I did so mainly because of the location.  It is on the water, has great views of sunsets, lots of interesting birds and other wildlife, and relatively quiet.  The highway (I495) produces some background noise and the sounds coming from the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts were rather pleasant.  That changed in a very negative way after the owners discovered they could make more money with rock bands than with the Pittsburgh Symphony.  But I knew that the residential nature of the area, including Pheeny's Island which is just offshore, would not change because it is zoned "Residential".  In fact, the island got its name because the Pheeny family had a house ther many years ago.

The rope course, zip lines and other features proposed for this island are definitely not what is meant by residential.  It is a recreational, for profit enterprise.  Goods and services will be sold.  To me this sounds like a commercial operation. Other people have written and spoken about all the environmental problems that this project would produce and these will be addressed further at a meeting of the Conservation Committee on Monday, May 9 at the Library sometime around 8:00PM.

Several people have said that the owner should be able to put anything he wants on the island.  This is true only if the proposed project abides by all the regulations stipulated in the Town of Norton Zoning Bylaws.  A commercial project does not belong in a residential area.  Back in the mid 1990s my wife wanted to teach floral design at our home and do flowers for weddings and parties but was refused permission by the Town Planner to do this or have a sign or any indication of such an activity since it was not allowed in a residential area.  I trust that the Planning Board, if the project ever gets to them, will also will use our Zoning Bylaws to turn down this project.

Over 200 people have signed a petition opposing the granting of a permit to Kenneth Leavitt, the developer from Connecticut.  Come to the Conservation Committee meeting next Monday to learn more about the difficulties with this "recreational day camp" and share your opinions about this proposal. 

Herbert Ellison

South Lakeview Road

Smanimals April 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Great article, good luck with your conservation efforts on Pheeny island... hopefully this raises awareness and changes perspectives before it's too late. BTW, average citizens can help create a very large donation to Wildlife Conservation efforts. We are hoping to win Walmart's #GOTS contest to generate a huge donation towards wildlife conservation. You can watch the video at SmanimalWorld.com.
Pro Project April 03, 2012 at 10:43 AM
zoning bylaws can, and hopefully will be changed to accomodate this worthy project. The desire of a small group cannot, and should not outweigh what the majority wants. Voice your opinion FOR this project at the meeting. Let's develop some tax revenue and recreation for the town
Bill Gouveia April 03, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I would remind everyone that the conservation hearing is for conservation issues only! The zoning issues and other associated issues shoudl not be and in fact cannot be discussed or handled by the conservation committee - a point they are no doubt extremely grateful for! :)

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