EDITORIAL:Getting involved in your city

A majority of people who have been following the Towne Center at Shelter Ridge application and the process it has taken to have it either approved or denied by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission are frustrated.

Protesters have appeared with picket signs at several of the last meetings where the application was discussed and according to P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins it has been the largest project to appear before the commission since she was elected in 2009.

A formal opposition has been formed and is known as Save Our Shelton (S.O.S.). They have gained support through their consistent questioning of the P&Z commission and respect from people who are from Shelton but were unaware of the proposal because of their dedication.

Despite all of the community’s effort, the application is to have a favorable resolution approved by the P&Z Commission at its March 7 meeting.

New faces have still attended the city meetings to plead with the commission to rethink the decision it's currently leaning toward, but to no avail.

A sense of hopelessness has been expressed by people from the city who want to see the application denied and more of the green space preserved.

With questions being asked by residents such as, “Why do we even bother voicing our opinions at public hearings?” or “Does our opinion even matter?,” other residents have wondered what else they can do.

Although many residents do not agree with the commission’s anticipated decision, one possible solution is to continue to attend these meetings and others like it so that you can be informed about what’s going on, instead of getting involved only right before something like this is approved.

Whether it’s attending the next Board of Aldermen meeting in March where the revised 2017 Plan for Conservation and Development will be discussed or the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting later on that month where it will be finalized, educating yourself on the process of how and why these commissions make decisions, is important.

If you only attend the meetings toward the end of the process where a decision is made, although the support is encouraged by both other people from the city who feel the same way and the commissions/boards, it is nearly impossible to understand what is going on.

Don’t give up. Get involved. Ask your city’s boards and commissions questions, as well as your aldermen.