As described in last Wednesday’s Herald, Rutland Planning Commission member Susan Schreibman recently urged aldermen to limit the size of new signs in the city to 32 square feet, consistent with the original draft of the Planning Commission. The recommendation was largely aimed at the proliferation of large signs on Woodstock Avenue and South Main Street, although existing signs would be “grandfathered” under the proposal.

As reported by the Herald, the reworked proposal advanced by the Charter and Ordinance Committee of the Board of Aldermen proposed a 75-square-foot limit. Alderman Michael Talbott countered that the 75-square-foot limit lacks a clear vision for the city, and “mostly conforms to the status quo.”

Alderman Sam Gorruso then complimented the work and 75-square-foot recommendation of Alderwoman Rebecca Mattis as chairwoman of the Charter and Ordinance Committee, and addressed Susan Schreibman (virtually), and reportedly said to her:

“This is the stuff that gets me mad. You guys in the planning commission — it’s our city. It’s not yours. You may live in it. It’s our city.”

Susan Schreibman has lived in Rutland for 19 years, and has been instrumental in creating the Rutland Creek Path, a series of five pedestrian and bike paths within the city, three of which have been completed thus far. Is Rutland really not her city, Alderman Gorruso?

I lived in the city for 15 years before moving to Rutland Town, and I practiced law, mostly on Center Street in Rutland, for 42 years before retiring. My children were born at Rutland Hospital and attended Rutland High School. Is Rutland not my city, Alderman Gorruso?

Should the right to call Rutland one’s city be limited by the number of generations their family has lived in Rutland, the number of years they have lived or worked in Rutland, or by one’s views as to the appropriate signage on Rutland’s busiest streets?

Do we want a welcoming city, attractive to all people who want to live and work in Rutland, or do we want an unwelcoming city, fully open only to some, but not all.

When you said, “It’s our city,” Mr. Gorruso, just who were you including, and who were you excluding?

Stephen Dardeck lives in Rutland Town.

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