To the Editor:

As a contractor who has lived in Washington for nearly 30 years and is raising two children in town, I've followed the news about the upcoming election with great interest and have concluded that Ray Reich and Gary Fitzherbert are the clear and logical choices for our zoning commission and here's why.

Both of these men are involved in our town and its health in a deeply committed way.

Ray Reich is a trustee for Steep Rock and a volunteer at the Gunn Library. He was a baseball coach at Shepaug for 15 years and is still their scorekeeper. He was also on the Parks and Recreation Committee for 16 years,

Ray Reich knows our town.

Every zoning meeting I attended for the Wykeham Inn was overwhelmingly supported by the hundreds of people in attendance who, I'm sure, are all supporters of preserving rural character too. It's why we choose to live here.

I checked the town Web site and the town Plan of Conservation and Development, which identifies four main community objectives in no order of importance: preserve Washington's rural character, enhance the community's village centers, guide and manage housing development, and address other community issues.

Preserving rural character doesn't mean the town cannot embrace smart growth. The Wykeham Rise Inn is a good idea for the town of Washington.

It is an appropriate use of an old girls' boarding school. The property has been derelict since 2002 and is falling into disrepair.

The neighbors who oppose the inn could have purchased the property. Instead, they have chosen to spend money on lawyers to fight a smart-growth proposal, which the dissenting members of the zoning commission, led by Mrs. Friedman, seem also to embrace.

The deciding vote on the project was cast negatively not out of a direct concern with the inn, but with its overflow parking plan.

It is time for a fresh perspective. Please vote for Ray Reich and Gary Fitzherbert on Nov. 3.

Frank Monteleone