I was thinking today about the fence around the proposed development at 64 South Elm Street. During the public hearings over the past year, a few members of the commission spent an exorbitant amount of time talking about it, describing it as a blight on the community. Putting aside how the discussion was a waste of everybody’s time because it’s owned by the town and thus its fate is not under the purview of the Planning & Zoning Commission, the fence also isn’t that bad. It’s a chain link fence. It’s a little rusty and there are some patches that do need replaced, but overall it’s as attractive as a chain link fence will generally be.

In one regard, the focus on this fence illustrates how these people don’t understand the neighborhood. It was historically farmland, so the fence’s quality and utilitarian functionality fit into the surroundings far better than cookie-cutter townhouses will.

My second observation is that these people wouldn’t know quality if it bit them. They said these things during a circle jerk about town houses, not a style of structure known for high-end architecture. I’d wager that at least a couple of the people involved in this ridiculous discussion probably have plastic fences at home. Some of them probably have tacky, cheap architectural elements that are completely out of place, like the obviously fake shutters or mis-proportioned windows that are so common in Windsor Locks. Sadly, high-quality, well-designed homes are a thing of the past in our town. You couldn’t ask for a group of people less qualified to draw the line between blight and quality housing.