To the Editor:
The sale of the lower portion of our town-owned S. Park Ave. property to the Aspetuck Land Trust may seem on its face to be a way to preserve the S. Park land; however, nothing could be further from the truth.
If we sell the lower part of our property (18.7 acres) to the Aspetuck Land Trust, we leave the upper part of the property (11.3 acres) vulnerable to development (commercial, residential, and/or state mandated affordable housing). If we sell the entire property to Aspetuck Land Trust or keep the entire property as one parcel and deed restrict it, we can protect the entire property forever as open space with the option of designating it as William J. Kupinse Jr. Memorial Park.
On April 20, 2020, P&Z chair Rob Maquat told the South Park Advisory Committee (SPAC) that we could put a commercial building on this upper portion of the property and that he could easily accomplished this with a simple “text change.” This is why leaving the upper portion of this property vulnerable to exploitation by separating it from the lower part will most assuredly result in its development with a consequence of polluting the Mill River on the lower part from downhill runoff from the upper part.
Aside from protecting the Mill River, we obtain other benefits from maintaining the entire property as one parcel: 1. Economic benefits for Easton; 2. Environmental benefits for Fairfield County; 3. Quality of life benefits for our Easton citizens; 4. Benefits of avoiding potential lawsuits by adhering strictly to the June 17, 2008 town-wide referendum where we voted overwhelmingly 75% to 25% to purchase this property “for preservation, conservation and land use control.”
These benefits are all explained in the SPAC Final Report found on the Easton Town website (scroll to Section IV item #2 “Dwight Senior’s recommendation for action”): https://www.eastonct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif3071/f/agendas/bos_-_spac_final_report_august_2_2021.pdf
The wisest decision we can make is to keep this property whole.