Unintended consequences are the foreseeable, disastrous results of shortsighted decision-making.
Take the big piles of painted wood, the McMansions, which have replaced spacious lawns and breathing room between properties on our small local streets. Whatever we might think of them, they were not a major menace in the past days of benign 20 or 30 mph wind gusts. What happens in this new stage of global warming or climate change when we may expect 60 or 70 mph wind gusts? What if lightning strikes a village tree in front of one of these McMansions, and that big pile of wood catches fire? What happens to the neighbors’ houses, to the street?
Overdevelopment also characterizes the applications for subdivisions that are being granted. But, then, a former head of the Planning Board recently told me that the reason he opted to grant a subdivision this year, even though it is an additional source of pollution for Old Town Pond, is that he did not dare risk being sued by a developer. Gee, I didn’t know that fear of lawsuits was a decision criterion for granting environmentally disastrous applications.
Changing ideologies and procedures in a corporate division or in a government body is akin to trying to dislodge and remove a huge tanker leaking oil and stuck in the Suez Canal. It’s a good idea — but how do you do it?
In that same spirit, and on a note of nostalgia: Our mayor has just hired back Diane Gregor to our Building Department. Diane can point proudly to her days working for Jonathan Foster, whose developer-friendly procedures were continued under Chris Talbot, and enthusiastically supported by Diane. We welcome Diane as part of the continuation of the era of giveaways to developers. Another unintended consequence?
One fine body…