Letter: Vote NO on South Park Sale–The Town Owns It, It Is Not In Need Of Rescue

To the Editor:

1) This is not Trout Brook Valley. The Town of Easton already owns the property. It is not in development danger unless one considers the Affordable Housing Committee’s report suggesting the remaining 10 acres might be suitable for a cluster housing project. Ironic, Yes. Conspiracy theory, No. Read page 25 Section 3 of the report: https://www.eastonct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif3071/f/pages/affordable_housing_plan_04-20-2022.pdf

2) South Park has never been classified as “Open Space”. Why? Read Dori Wollen’s letter.

3) Why is there reluctance from those advocating the sale to put deed restrictions on the entire property if the goal is to protect it?

4) Know that if the sale is approved, the town will give up 2/3 of the property ownership but still be liable for 100% of the remaining mortgage ($2.5 million dollars) which will shift to the remaining 10 acres. Financially, that does not make sense.

5) If the sale is approved, why not put a right of first refusal clause in the contract that if ALT ever proposes to sell the property Easton has the right to buy it back at the original sale price? That would negate the limited concern that ALT might do so in the future.

6) All advocates for the sale seem to agree Easton is incapable of maintaining open space properly. Why is that? What will ATL do to the land that, with proper budgeting and volunteer efforts, Easton cannot? What adverse impacts to natural resources and the water resources and surrounding habitat of the Mill River is feared if Easton continues its ownership? What evidence supports such fears? What binding commitments do we have that ALT will maintain it on an ongoing basis?

Easton is fully capable of maintaining this land. If not, then we should question its maintenance of all the other open space in town. The real problem is the town has never focused on how to retain and maintain the land. All efforts to date have been about selling it. That’s a shame and a wasted 14 years. The hemp farming pilot program demonstrated that such an effort, if permitted on a larger scale at the site, can generate income for the town that the town can turn back toward the preservation and maintenance of the land. We can make this work if the people of the town say NO to this sale.

David Antonez
Easton

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