Regaining control of our town from U.N. planning agenda

BRATTLEBORO — If adopted as is, Brattleboro’s proposed 2012 Town Plan will green-light a permanent town-wide confiscation of private land and would constitute the summary abridgment of our Fifth Amendment property rights.

Also, if adopted as is, this state-mandated publication of Brattleboro’s vision for its development over the next five years and beyond would result in community-killing restrictions of our access to our common land.

These threats stem directly from town government’s obsessive desire to satisfy the ideology and sloganeering of the United Nations–created municipal membership body, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), which implements United Nations Agenda 21 policy among its members at the local level.

U.N. Agenda 21, which was introduced to the world at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Brazil in 1992 by a conglomerate of faux environmentalists, purports to be the only viable blueprint for global “sustainability.” It is a “sustainability” Plan A that recognizes no Plan B.

U.N. Agenda 21 was implemented by executive order of President Bill Clinton in 1993 (revised in 1997).

The U.N. markets Agenda 21 as “a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impact ... the environment.”

U.N. Agenda 21 is not implemented in any country by treaty, and it has no national or international democratic basis nor mandate.

Brattleboro has been an ICLEI member for more than a decade.

Not surprisingly, then, the Brattleboro Planning Commission has produced a proposed town plan that is a fill-in-the-blanks template of ICLEI’s “best practices.”

This fact was obvious at a recent Selectboard meeting called to invite the participation of Brattleboro residents in the making and adoption of the town plan.

The meeting was advertised as part of a three-year, exhaustive (my word) public program of “visioning” and town plan participation.

In reality, it was the application of an ICLEI template of deceit: manipulation of public “opinion,” which served to leave those who were opposed to it feeling that organizers had independently and organically arrived at a predetermined, foregone conclusion.

Whatever the process that created it, Brattleboro’s proposed 2012 Town Plan magically looks, tastes, feels, walks, and talks exactly the same as every other ICLEI-generated town plan in the world.

Indeed, Brattleboro’s Proposed 2012 Town Plan “identifies” exactly the same public concerns, priorities, and solutions as, for example, West Brattleboro’s latest Master Plan and Dade County Florida’s latest municipal plan, both ICLEI abominations.

An ICLEI municipal plan is immediately identifiable by its bogus claim that the most pressing priorities of every “unique” public in every municipality in the world include, but are not limited to, the previously invisible but impatient demand for:

• extensive bicycle lanes

• the stultifying dense “infilling” of...

• increasingly smaller “living units” ...

• all relentlessly clustered around rail lines

• municipal redevelopment deals that leave the town and its taxpayers in hock for 40 years

• zero tolerance for single-family “living units” in newly designated rural areas

• universally increased lot size to prevent any non-“urban center” development

and, all of this situated in a U.N. Wildlands region that “preserves and protects” the municipality’s “scenic resources,” whatever those are, by legally confiscating and/or exerting government control over all private residential and business land in the town’s jurisdiction.

All of the above terms and traits are ICLEI-implemented, U.N. Agenda 21 staples. And they all serve to confound, not enhance, genuine public input with ICLEI gimmicks, while creating the façade of public input.

It was saddening, then, for me to sit in the recent Selectboard meeting and to see how the approval process for Brattleboro’s proposed 2012 Town Plan has been co-opted by illegitimate powers to facilitate a massive government land grab.

The Brattleboro Planning Commission is responsible for this mess.

And what does the Planning Commission offer us in return for the confiscation of private lands and prohibition of use of our pubic lands?

A handful of useless shiny beads in the form of a mind-numbing incantation of meaningless and politically correct words and phrases.

For example, the Planning Commission offers us “Sustainability.”

There exists no legal nor scientific definition of the term “sustainable,” and yet Brattleboro’s entire proposed 2012 Town Plan declares the single goal of urgently amending ordinances and policies specifically to achieve “sustainability.”

The Planning Commission offers us “complete streets,” the creation of a national system of roadways in which bikes, pedestrians, and motorized vehicles can comfortably share the same travel space. This nothing of a phrase has the dubious distinction of being incorporated into Vermont state law.

And then we have the über-jargon: “smart growth” and “smart towns.”

Brattleboro’s proposed Town Plan proudly declares that it is written in accord with “well-accepted ‘smart growth’ goals.”

Any diligent professional planning body should immediately note the lack of substance to the “smart growth,” and “smart towns” claims and summarily discount them as potential components of or motivation for any serious town planning process.

The proposed town plan also calls for “universal design.”

“Universal design” isn’t so much jargon as it is downright scary, since it demands that every Brattleboro “living unit” must conform, by law, to the same specs with respect to counter heights, door widths, door handle types, etc., so that they are universally inhabitable.

This sounds like a highly democratic and inclusive policy, but only if we discard a person’s right to design a home that they own in the manner that best suits that individual.

And then there is the “density bonus,” a financial kickback to developers who commit to squeezing the highest density of human flesh into as small a living space as possible.

But the non-word par excellence, for me, was barked from one of the folks sitting at the Planning Commission’s table during the recent Selectboard meeting.

And here, I paraphrase very closely:

“Aspirational!” the voice barked. What have we been drilling into your heads since day one of this process!? This must be an aspirational town plan!

His barked instructions were aimed directly at the Brattleboro Selectboard members sitting right in front of me, who all meekly acceded to the bark.

Notably, all of these politically correct non-words and empty concepts come straight from the ICLEI manuals that instruct town officials as to how best to deceive voters into not obstructing local adoption of U.N. Agenda 21.

I can’t help but ask myself why, if Brattleboro is now going to adopt an ICLEI, fill-in-the blanks, boilerplate town plan, Brattleboro even needs a Planning Commission.

I’m sure that, three years ago, ICLEI would have been happy to deliver exactly the same proposed town plan that we currently have, and for much less effort and cost, had we asked them to.

We the people of Brattleboro must regain democratic control of our town.

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