Town Crier Articles

Larry Salzman, A New Town Visionary
Posted on April 1, 2024 6:47 AM by John Marston
Categories: Life in New Town
 
The winter months brought with their chilling winds the loss of several neighbors, including Larry Salzman, a long-time New Town leader. Now as we enter Spring and begin to look forward, it is worthwhile to share some reflections. Most of us who have lived in New Town for more than a few years knew Larry as the “Developer” in his roles as President of the New Town Residential Developer Board, President of the New Town Commercial Association, and point person for New Town Associates.  I had the unique experience of interacting with Larry often in my years on the Residential Advisory Board (RAB) and as a member of the NTRA Developer Board before it was turned over to the homeowners, and more recently as a neighbor just a few houses up from Larry and Bonnie’s home.
 
Larry was a key player right from the start of New Town, when it was just a vision of a walkable community held by the consortium of the Casey family, William & Mary, James City County, New Town Associates, and others a quarter of a century ago. Anyone who has served in a leadership position knows that things never go perfectly smoothly or even as planned. Larry was in position to have responsibility for a complex interaction between Atlantic Homes (the main builder), New Town Management, the commercial side, VDOT, and James City County. No doubt there were some mistakes made and some strong disagreements at times between the developers and the homeowners. However, under his watch he established the RAB to give homeowners a voice during Developer control, which was not a requirement.
 
At times, when something went wrong, critics typically blamed the Developer. Sometimes it was the Developer’s misjudgment. But I know of more than one occasion when the real problem had to be placed at the door of the management company, the builder, and oh my, even the RAB. Despite some contentious episodes, Larry always held the vision of a friendly walking community. Behind the scenes he worked to better fulfill that vision for our evolving community.
 
Larry was a businessman and most of the time we only knew him in his more formal roles. However, he had a kind softness too. For example, I was often with him in those mysterious Board meetings called Closed Executive Sessions. Frequently, these meetings were about homeowners who were not following the declarations and time had come to impose sanctions and fines. Larry was always very sensitive to the reasons the person had gotten into the predicament. On one occasion, we had to insist Larry get with the rest of the Board to practice “tough love” because the violator had received multiple warnings and registered letters. Even when the history of violations was frustrating, it did not keep Larry from being sensitive toward homeowners.
 
Larry was consistently passionate about building a strong community and often mentioned moving here someday. In late 2020 he in fact became a neighbor. I remember his dog Kelly who often appearing in Zoom Board meetings during the Covid years. Those of us who have dogs got to know Larry in a different light when we would meet Larry walking sweet Kelly. We found Larry and Bonnie to be good neighbors and he will be missed. To honor Larry, we all should stay committed to the vision he championed, revitalize the flow of volunteers to the Association, and most of all be neighborly.
 
Larry Salzman pictured on left
(along with representatives of Town Management LLC and the New Town Commercial Association)
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