What a welcome beginning that was on Monday, November 16, when some 70 people gathered in Town Hall to talk about what is perceived as a heroin epidemic, not only in Woodstock, but in general throughout the region, state, country, and wider.
It’s easy to feel helpless as young people in the community, watching older ones, fall prey to the destructive feel-good moments that steal their lives. It is cathartic to slap it down on the table, call it what it is and try to find help dealing with it. As was continually pointed out, drug addiction, and addiction of all kinds, easily crosses economic, social and ethnic lines. An equal opportunity destroyer.
The concrete pieces that came out of the forum showed a community banding together, and a list of places to call, help to seek, when you come upon a situation that needs it. As usual, Family of Woodstock is at the top. We’ll promise to include this list in the paper every week, and seek your advice to add to it. If there are other resources to help someone with drug problems out there, let us know.
And we urge those who showed up at the meeting to stay involved. The community needs you. Lives depend upon it.
We will support the Woodstock town board’s actions this week of reinstating a payment in lieu of parking for new businesses and developers, of $900 per spot. One letter argues that it’s just another fee and will make potential business owners look elsewhere for a location that’s cheaper. But our zoning law correctly says that commercial establishments have to be responsible for creating enough parking for their own businesses, and offers a formula for such, or your customers are going to take parking spaces that someone else has created or paid for. So the fee allows those who don’t have the room to create parking spaces, gives them a way to be here, to have their business in town.
The other part of the obligation is for the town to use the fee money to create or better maintain the available spaces, and not see it swallowed up for other expenses.
And while they’re at it, a small fee for those who are not residents to park at the Mountain View lot on Rock City Road, is not out of the question. Residents would still park there for free. There were a lot of cars in town this past summer (and will likely be again this holiday season.) The short term lodging that is offered now has made the town accessible overnight to many more people. It is incumbent on the town officials to manage the space resources that are available, to maintain the quality of life for those who are here all the time, as well as those visiting.