The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of this newspaper. We welcome supporting or opposing views on any published item. Received October 16, 2021.
Sometimes it seems like we’re a town divided, but we must come together because we have too much work to do. My name is Mike Karam and I am running for Haddam Planning & Zoning. I moved to Haddam several years ago because I fell in love with our story, our character, our land, and our people. Lately however, our future is being challenged and there doesn’t seem to be a plan to protect it.
In the last few years, we have witnessed our elementary school close, our bank sit vacant, and historic buildings be demolished for commercial boxes to rise in their place. This isn’t just an evolution of our story; it’s a critical inflection point for us to really think about the signal we are sending, and the town we want to create.
As a community, we came together to define a collective vision for Haddam with the Plan of Conservation & Development (POCD) four short years ago. Overwhelmingly, we wanted to create a family friendly town that respected our past, protected our unique character, and positioned Haddam as an eco-tourism destination.
However, through a flawed process we changed our prohibited-use regulations to allow spot zoning in Higganum Village and have since seen businesses move in that don’t align with our POCD vision. When you can walk into town and get a tattoo, a vape pen, a bottle of liquor and a gun from the soon to open gun shop in Higganum Village, but you can’t get an ice cream cone or take your child to a playground, it doesn’t exactly send a family friendly message. And it certainly doesn’t reflect our eco-tourism ambitions. I am not saying gun, tattoo, and liquor stores are all bad, but a concentration of such businesses in an already small commercial district could be viewed as less friendly to families and could squeeze out diverse businesses that we all could benefit from.
We deserve better. The time for change is now. We must preserve and protect the soul of Haddam before it’s too late. Please vote Mike Karam for Haddam P&Z on November 2nd.