Clarence Fanto’s August 31 article "Town to seek suit dismissal" missed several key points and only represented one side. It states "the project had been approved by the Selectmen and the Kennedy Park Committee at open meetings held in October 2010." No agendas in that time frame from either entity list discussion of the memorial project. The BOS meeting minutes from Oct. 27, 2010 reflect approval of ". . . a small memorial plaque and a granite walkway set flush with the ground for easy mowing." No one has yet offered an explanation as to how we wound up with a complex constructed of 28 tons of granite, including a large vertical wall.
Had the Scenic Mountain Act -- adopted by the town -- been followed, the public would have known what was happening. Notifications would have been sent to abutters and public hearings would have been held prior to construction. It was Lenox town officials that decided to try to go back and attempt to "remedy" their violations after the fact. Nothing in the act refers to retroactive action (with the exception of correcting violations).
Town officials also declared themselves the applicant. (The applicant, according to the Scenic Mountain Act, is the entity planning the construction requesting a ruling. That, in this case, was Michael Fieldman, not the town.) This action put Lenox officials in the position of being both violator and enforcer of the Scenic Mountain Act.
Re: "The towns Conser va tion Commission. . . . ruled last spring, a year after construction, that no violation had occurred." After effectively putting themselves in the position of "the fox in charge of the henhouse," why would anyone expect any other decision? The idea that this suit should be dropped due to administrative failings, or deadlines that were not met as per the Scenic Mountain Act, shows the town’s hypocrisy truly knows no bounds. I am confident the wisdom of the court system will see through this maneuvering.
Counsel for the "10 Citizens" recently reiterated the offer made long ago: to allow the fence, bushes, benches, fire pit, and approximately 50 pavers to stay. Just remove the large vertical wall that so greatly hampers the recreational use of the area, and was also never mentioned in their meeting minutes. Town officials -- yet again -- turned it down.
The Board of Selectmen members who approved this project should be apologizing to Michael Fieldman for their lack of due diligence in telling him to move forward, and paying the legal bills out of their own pockets.
And the current BOS should gratefully accept the compromise offered.
SONYA S. BYKOFSKY