The following editorial by the Carroll County Independent was published on May 18.
In the past year there seems to be a movement developing that is opposed to land use planning in general and land conservation in particular. This opposition has been most visible, vocal and active in Ossipee, where questions raised about the wisdom of expanding the Westward Shores Camping Resort have generated criticism from members of the town planning boards, and an offer to do a free buildout study of Ossipee based on current zoning has been rejected by selectmen and others.
Ossipee selectmen have not only criticized members of the town Conservation Commission but replaced five of them, and the Ossipee planning board has rejected the argument that a new gas station that is sited atop the multi-town Ossipee Aquifer has regional impact. Conservation groups like the Dan Hole Trust, Green Mountain Conservation Group and Ossipee Lake Alliance have been attacked as being enemies of economic development.
What is puzzling about this rejection of planning and land conservation is the simple fact that the one thing that attracts people of our state and county is its natural beauty and the quality of life that open space and clean air and water generates. People like to say we have a tourist economy, but the real truth is that our economy is based on our environment. Many businesses that could locate plants and offices anywhere come to our state and county because of the quality of life we offer their owners and managers.
As we wrote here last week, there would be no Lakes Region without clean, attractive lakes. We could add that an abundance of open space and unspoiled forests make our world special.
We can’t lose sight of those unlying facts. Without careful planning to preserve the quality of our environment, we lose a major reason to attract new businesses and spur solid economic growth.