Board of Selectmen Meeting of September 23, 2021

At the start of the year, the Board of Selectmen moved its second regular September meeting from the 16th to the 23rd due the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Our normal schedule calls for meetings to be held on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

The board approved the minutes of its meetings of September 1 and September 16, approved recommended tax refunds to seven taxpayers, authorized a driveway variance to install Belgian block on the town right of way, and authorized the refund of a driveway opening bond. These are all routine matters which require board approval to effectuate.

The board accepted the resignation of Thomas Maisano from the Planning and Zoning Commission with thanks for his service to the town.

The board unanimously approved the contract of sale by the town to the Aspetuck Land Trust of the approximately 18.7 acres of land located at 22 South Park Avenue. This is a portion of the town owned property commonly referred to as South Park Avenue. The acreage comprising the sale is the area along the Mill River which forms the northeast and southeast boundary of the property. The total sales price is $470,000.00, a portion of which will come to the land trust from a state grant. The balance of the purchase money will be raised by the land trust from other sources. A closing must occur by September 17, 2022. Before a closing can take place, three significant contract contingencies must be met. First, the Board of Selectmen must make an 8-24 referral to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Second, a public hearing on the plan must be held by the board. Third, the Town Meeting must vote to approve the transaction. There is much additional work to be done before a closing and before these contingencies can be addressed. The board also presented a video from David Brandt, Executive Director of the Aspetuck Land Trust endorsing the agreement.

First Selectman Bindelglass read a proclamation declaring September Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in Easton.

The board heard public comment both before and after taking up the items on its agenda as is its custom. Here is a summary of the topics addressed and the names of the commentators:

Speaking in favor of signing the contract of sale to the Aspetuck Land Trust: Devon Wible, Mimi Jacob, Debbie Barer, Scott Charmoy, Pat Linnane, Nate Yordon, Amy McKeon, Justin Giorlando (in his capacity as Land Use Director for the town), Ira Kaplan, and Karen Thorsen.

Speaking against signing the contract of sale to the Aspetuck Land Trust or criticizing this specific plan: Dan Lent, David Antonez, Grant Monsarrat, June Logie, Jeff Becker, Paula Barker, Dwight Senior, Anthony Possidento, and Bev Dacey.

Praising the referendum process from September 21: Devon Wible and Debbie Barer.

Amy McKeon said the multi-use pathway lost because parents did not understand the facts. Grant Monsarrat and Jeff Becker said they are glad the multi-use pathway project was defeated.

Pat Lannane asked the selectmen to continue to offer Zoom participation at its meetings as it is very convenient for people who cannot attend in person.

June Logie said we need to think more about town maintenance of its assets in general.

Grant Monsarrat thanked the board and townspeople for supporting the land use ordinance and the ethics ordinance.

The board members offered the following comments:

Selectman Lessler thanked everyone who voted in the referendum on Tuesday. He particularly thanked the poll workers and election administrators who work hard behind the scenes. He expressed dismay that some voters were unkind and uncivil towards poll workers on Tuesday; questioning whether the equipment was from Dominion Voting Systems, alleging the tabulator would tally more yes votes, deliberately putting ballots into the tabulator the wrong way, and generally being rude or impolite to poll workers.

He welcomed our new middle school principal, Steven Clapp, and our new superintendent of schools, Jason McKinnon, and wished them long and successful careers in Easton.

Selectman Sigofsky thanked those who voted. She expressed appreciation for the land use ordinance and for those who worked on drafting it and noted the many compromises made to agree on a final version for the voters to act on. She thanked the town police, Easton EMS and the Aspetuck Lodge members for a terrific day of events on September 18th, referring to the town party and fireworks display.

She urged citizens to stay involved, attend the public hearing and to vote on the matter of South Park Avenue in general and the sale to the Aspetuck Land Trust specifically.

First Selectman Bindelglass echoed the thanks offered by the other selectmen. He pointed out that the town has lots of dedicated public servants and that we appreciate all that they do; both the poll workers but also all the people who serve the town. He is pleased that the land use ordinance passed with the unanimous support of the board. This endeavor has been worked on for a long time and now we’ve finally got it done. He pointed out that it also means that citizens will have a responsibility to educate themselves on land transactions and to show up at hearings, to participate in discussions and to vote. People will need to seek out facts, truth and make good decisions.

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