The importance of showing up

Two weeks ago, the Enterprise published an editorial, titled “Time to address the elephant in the room,” about a perception among some in the Lake Placid community that Lake Placid’s achievements are coming at the expense of residents.

In that editorial, we explored concerns that some residents have about the future of their community, and how those concerns have underpinned so many conversations in Lake Placid over the years, from debates about affordable housing, vacation rental regulations to the impacts of large-scale sporting events. We also wrote about how some residents feel unheard.

This past Saturday and Monday, the Lake Placid-North Elba Land Use Code Committee hosted two public feedback sessions — planned before our editorial was published, to be clear — on its ideas for new vacation rental regulations. Committee members, after several years of discussions about this issue, took the time to speak with people one-on-one about their ideas for ways that vacation rentals could be further regulated and how and why they came to cultivate those ideas. Everybody has a right to feel how they feel about the ideas that have been proposed, but we believe the committee deserves some credit for how they’ve gone about rolling out their ideas so far. The committee’s chair, Dean Dietrich, has made himself available to those with questions or concerns. The committee hosted public sessions both on a weekday and on the weekend, giving people who work during the week an opportunity to show up. The committee also presented its ideas at a virtual meeting and is actively collecting feedback online, at https://tinyurl.com/2snt7r7z, through a survey. Giving everyone ample opportunity to weigh in, if they want, is just the right way to make decisions on issues like this that have such far-reaching impacts.

And here’s the best part: People showed up to weigh in. More than 100 people attended the committee’s two in-person feedback sessions, and Dietrich said earlier this week that the committee had also received around 140 online survey responses.

To the people who’ve showed up, you deserve some credit, too. It’s important to remember that whatever the outcome, your voice matters. Showing up matters.

Relationships and conversations are a two-way street. At the end of the day, local officials can’t listen to the community if no one shows up to public hearings and no one is willing to speak up when public feedback is sought. Don’t be discouraged. Keep showing up, keep saying your piece. This is your community. In ways big and small, you do have power to shape what the future of your community looks like.


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