Hampden Residents Want Plan Repealed 

Three years ago, Hampden town councilors began drafting a plan for their community’s future.”I was unaware of it until I head of it through the grapevine.”But now that the comprehensive plan is in effect, residents like Ed Armstrong aren’t happy.”They trust their leaders to do the right thing, and now they’ve found out about this and they really have an opposing view point,” said Armstrong.The plan acts as a guideline for setting town ordinances in the future.Two of its most disputed points are regulations on water and critical natural resources. “The biggest thing that’s upset people that I’ve talked to is the amount of wood they can cut off their land. If they have a one-hundred acre lot they can cut thirty, forty acres it’s not a problem, but they’re worried in the future it will be,” said Hampden resident, David Plowman. But town councilor, Janet Hughes, says that’s not what the plan is designed to do.”It’s not accurate. At this point, the comprehensive plan is not a regulatory standard or process. It’s a guidance document.”Which means that down the line, some of those goals could become a regulation.The plan’s opponents think the council should have been more clear from the start.”They didn’t do the normal due diligence that they’d normally do and notify everybody. Probably people would have understood and had their concerns aired earlier and it wouldn’t have come to this,” said Plowman.But the town council has held fifty public meetings throughout the plan’s development. “We had notices on our website, we have ten articles in a newsletter all concerning the comprehensive plan. We also had public hearings and four public meetings which when I attended, we only had one person,” said Hughes.Both sides will get a chance to weigh in at a council meeting, Monday night.