Zoning outcome was predictable

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The dye was cast, the outcome inevitable. All the players were in place. All that was left was for the monarchy to sit through the tedious, boring, sometimes irksome pleas of the town folks.  Little did the peasants know, their words were falling on deaf ears.

On July 6, the Town Council sealed the fate of our precious town. They voted to approve the Mallory Scott development. Some of the council members may truly believe that 812 homes are going to be a good thing for our town. We can agree to disagree. Most of the council had not done their homework and simply followed along with other members. Two members agreed that we do not have enough independent information to make an informed, educated and thoughtful decision.

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I don’t know what was worse, the fact that I have spent hours and hours the last several months poring over the reports and sifting through data only to be summarily dismissed, or watching the antics of our town attorney.  His demeanor conveyed complete disdain for the process.  He was condescending not only to the audience but also to a council member. Repeatedly. His body language clearly conveyed that this entire proceeding was just a complete waste of time.

And he was right. All 37 speakers were ignored. I just wish that he and the council had told us not to waste our time. The approval for Mallory Point was done months ago. Everything the planning commission has done for the last 10 months, and the meeting last week, was just going through the motions. The public hearings were just window dressing.

In all my 59 years, I don’t know that I have met someone as polished and smooth as John Napolitano. He’s good. He is really good (with the exception of his sloppy “cut and paste” Fiscal Impact Study).  His confidence is understandable; he knew going into last week’s meeting that he was going to prevail. Our “representatives” didn’t stand a chance against his charming personality.

The only good thing that can come out of last week’s meeting is that perhaps this will spur citizens to get engaged in the process. Maybe someone (or two) will decide to run for office who will actually represent the will of the citizens.


Renee Bevan