Weston resigns from planning commission

BRISTOL — A member of the Bristol Planning Commission resigned abruptly during a meeting Feb. 18. Longtime commission member Ken Weston handed a letter of resignation to his colleagues shortly after the meeting began.
Nine minutes into the meeting, during debate about the Bristol Cohousing Project, Weston handed a letter to chair Chico Marin.
“I can’t take part in this discussion any longer,” Weston said.
Martin glanced at the letter, announced to the other commission members that Weston was resigning, and thanked Weston for his service to the town.
“You may not hear the end of me on this, but that’s why I resigned,” Weston said to Martin, before getting up from the table and walking out of the room.
Reached for comment Tuesday, Weston said he had been thinking about resigning for some time.
“There were things going on that I wasn’t happy about, so I decided it was time to go,” Weston said.
He declined to elaborate further on what he was dissatisfied with, and referred a reporter to his resignation letter, which he also sent to the selectboard and town manager.
The Independent acquired a copy of the letter, in which Weston said he was concerned about the commission’s handling of the Bristol Cohousing Project, a multi-unit housing proposal in downtown Bristol.
“There are two situations, closely linked, which I feel are so far out of line that I should take a stand regarding them,” Weston wrote. “The issues are important, not just because they involve the Bristol Cohousing application, but because I believe they affect future actions taken by the Planning Commission.”
Weston said he is concerned that the commission erred in interpreting the density rules in the town zoning bylaws. Weston said he believes that the Bristol Cohousing project exceeds the density requirements in the town zoning laws.
Weston also took issue with the parliamentary procedure of the body. He said that during the Feb. 4 meeting, the commission called a vote on whether the cohousing project meets the density requirements established in the town’s zoning laws. Weston alleged that the chair suspended the vote mid-way after the initial votes indicated the motion would fail.
“I am not a student of Robert’s Rules of Order, but I believe it was improper to ‘table’ or otherwise postpone the completion of the voting process,” Weston wrote in his resignation letter.
Weston said that the tactic allowed the motion to pass at the next meeting, when a member who was absent at the Feb. 4 meeting was present. Weston said that the added member was at a disadvantage because they were not around to hear the debate before the vote.
In an interview with the Independent Wednesday, planning commission member Kris Perlee said he was surprised that Weston resigned, and that to his knowledge, Weston had not made any prior indication that he would do so. Perlee praised Weston’s service to the town over many years.
“Ken was a great asset to the town, with his knowledge of the town, of how things were done in the past, from his experience on the selectboard to his personal business of surveying,” Perlee said. “With Ken gone, the planning commission loses an amazing person.”
It is the responsibility of the selectboard to fill the vacancy created by Weston.

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