To the editor:

A July 6 headline announced the resignation of Ed Ramsdell as chair of our Zoning Board of Appeals and from the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.

The article cited a controversy related to an application to allow construction of parking behind a High Street funeral home as the reason for his departure. I won’t comment on the details of the controversy, as I believe our boards and commissions usually work best when they are able to make decisions without interference by elected officials.

I do, however, want to publicly thank Mr. Ramsdell for 24 years of service to the city. I once served on the ZBA and know firsthand the difficulty of deciding whether or not property owners deserve special relief from the limits imposed by zoning laws.

Everyone who appears before the board believes their request is justified, yet the board has to weigh the merits of each application against the wider impacts on a neighborhood and the city at large.

Mr. Ramsdell guided the board through scores of difficult decisions in his tenure as chair. You and I might have agreed with some of those decisions, disagreed with others. But throughout his service, Ed Ramsdell treated everyone with respect and genuine care. He is the consummate gentleman.

None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes, which may explain why Ed felt it was time to resign. But he should leave satisfied that he did his best for the city. And we should thank him for his dedication and service.

The views expressed in this letter are those of a private citizen, not those of the City Council.

Barry Connell

Newburyport