What amount of open space is optimal for Lyme?
I have never heard any Lyme official or citizen enunciate a target with respect to the amount of the town's landmass to be designated as "open space." That figure now stands at over 50% of the town's area. What figure is optimal? At what percentage do we experience diminishing returns on investment? Open space land is no longer taxed.
There is in Lyme a widespread desire to limit population, containing the demand for costly services, most prominently education costs. Yet the increasing median age of the residents, and their diminished ability to supply services we now enjoy — our volunteer firefighters and EMS teams — seems not to figure prominently in discussions. At some point, we may find ourselves having to hire salaried people to provide such services, impacting local taxes.
Should we not be talking about de-emphasizing further land acquisition and stressing the potential benefits of more affordable housing in Lyme? Currently, the budget line for this stands at $25,000, a token at best. Younger people may bring children into the school system, but they vitalize a community and can serve as volunteers in our fire and EMS companies after requisite training.
It is time for an examination of where Lyme is headed.
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