We’ve tried to be reasonable. We asked to be listened to. We offered up ideas at every Auburn Planning Board and City Council meeting.

We’ve also been trying to encourage more public engagement from the city of Auburn. We even proved that the wider community does not want these zoning changes by gathering over than 2,400 signatures on a petition (50% more than required, thank you).

Did that matter? Not a single bit to five individuals on the City Council.

Yet, here we are again. More ramrodded zoning changes. But this time it’s worse — the city of Auburn wants us to believe T-4.2B zoning contains “compromises.”

In fact, these amendments are not compromises. Most of these amendments just change the requirement to “special exemption,” meaning the uses can still be permitted, and knowing our Planning Board, just about anything will pass with a vote of 4-3.

Perhaps even worse, the initial T-4.2B amendments were made in a meeting between two city councilors, the mayor and the assistant city manager that was not properly posted to include public participation. This places even more scrutiny on the sloppy process we’ve, unfortunately, grown to expect from our governance.

Just when you thought the process wasn’t disheartening enough. I grieve for the death of democracy, proper process, and public engagement in the city of Auburn.

How did this happen so quickly?

Ryan Smith, Auburn

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