August 11, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme ZBA Alternate Dix Seeks Election as Full ZBA Member, Offers Wide Range of Both Professional, Personal Experience

To the Editor:

Serving effectively on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) requires substantial knowledge and experience.  The review of variance applications is a highly regulated process defined by state statute, zoning regulations, and case law.  Every ZBA decision can be appealed in court and overturned if all legal requirements are not met, and any appeal of a ZBA decision results in significant legal costs to the town.  Thus, to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to support informed decision-making and to reduce the risk of costly appeals, most new ZBA members first serve as Alternates before transitioning to full Members.   

I currently serve as a ZBA Alternate, and I have enhanced my knowledge and experience by attending two Land Use courses:  an introductory UConn course, and a full-day course that is offered every two years by the CT Bar Association entitled “CT Land Use Law for Municipal Land Use Agencies, Boards, and Commissions”

I am also a practicing professional engineer with an undergraduate degree in planning and relevant professional Land Use experience, including the planning of an Open Space Planned Unit Development (PUD) on a 120-acre farm in Michigan that is recognized as a model for maximizing preservation and utilization of natural resources within a development. 

Old Lyme faces many Land Use challenges, including its being a shoreline community facing sea level rise.  I feel my experience and training will enable me to bring a valuable perspective to the ZBA, and help the ZBA balance the need to provide relief to property owners that can demonstrate a legal hardship and the need to protect the town’s comprehensive plan that is intended to protect the greater good of the community.

With my experience serving as a ZBA Alternate, I understand the importance of electing ZBA members with relevant Land Use experience, training, and a demonstrated commitment to our community. 

Please allow me to continue to serve on the Old Lyme ZBA by electing me a Full ZBA Member on Tuesday, Nov 5th.  Thank you.

 Sincerely,

Stephen P. Dix,
Old Lyme.

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