More transparency needed on zoning changes


To the Editor:

The Oak Bluffs planning board has just concluded a series of four meetings designed to share the work of zoning reform subcommittees. While some information was helpful, explicit material was sorely lacking. Repeated requests for more details, projected effects, and maps with overlays went unanswered. It raises the question why. Asking for materials in early September, a few times, I was told the materials were awaiting approval from the town’s attorney, Michael Goldsmith, and would be available at the end of the month. As of today, Oct. 18, none of the material has been distributed. While some information has been offered, the requested maps and overlays are absent, as are details about how proposed changes would impact our community.

This is no way to inform voters. Furthermore, the planning board must set and publicize the series of meetings they promised in November. When pressed on this point last Saturday, the chair responded that if people wanted to, they could pay for ads in the newspapers. Mr. Chair, that is not the job of the voters! It’s your responsibility. We desperately need transparency in decisionmaking. If elected officials truly want to serve the people who elected them, you must communicate, reach out to voters, and work in an unbiased way. Anything less is unacceptable.

O.B. voters, proposed zoning reforms will have significant impacts on our quality of life, our environment, and our future. If these go through, we face a much denser community, greatly increased noise, and water and soil pollution. 

Please inform yourselves by going to the town website and reading the planning board information/zoning reform subcommittee reports. It’s on us to safeguard the future generations of our Island.


Susan Desmarais
Oak Bluffs