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Open Space Grants to Preserve Over 30 Acres of Land in Southbury

$178K awarded to Southbury to protect open space.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday awards of more than $9 million in Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grants to support 35 communities in purchasing 2,732 acres to be preserved as open space. 

Two separate grants were awarded to Southbury to preserve open space in the Georges Hill section of town and at Stillmeadow Farm.

“Land conservation is an important investment in our future, and moves us closer to meeting our goal of protecting 21 percent of Connecticut’s land as open space in the next ten years,” said Governor Malloy in a release.  “These preservation projects are key to maintaining our high quality of life and making Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The program, administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) assists land purchase using state bonds and funding from the 2005 Community Investment Act, according to the release from the Governor’s Office.

The land at 365 Georges Hill is an addition to a 38-acre parcel of land the town purchased with a grant in 2007.  It is an undeveloped forested parcel with a steep rocky ridge running through the middle.  The town plans to utilize this parcel along with other town-owned land to provide parking and access to land purchased under this program. The grant totaled $96,500 and will preserve 18.91 acres.

The land at Stillmeadow Farm is a link to an emerging greenbelt with resources that include vernal pools, grasslands, wooded wetlands, ledge formations, and prime agriculture soils.  It is within Southbury's Aquifer Protection District.  The property is approximately 2,000 feet from the Larkin State Bridal Trail.  The grant totaled $81,500 and will preserve 12 acres.

F. Pielmeier December 31, 2012 at 12:30 PM
It is a shame that the state doles out hard earned tax dollars to towns such as Southbury. It is a town, while having an environmental ordinance for the preservation and protection of the environment, town officials have a long history of ignoring those requirements. This abuse also happens when land is donated by private specifically for the purpose of open space preservation. Therefore, well intentioned people wanting to donate their private property should look else where than to government; safer organizations are the Nature Conservancy or Audobon. Sometime back an official from the Town of Woodbury publicly confessed that towns can do what ever they want with open space. Recently State Senator Kane and Representative Labriola assisted the Town of Oxford in obtaining $500,000 from such a grant, intended for the preservation of the environment and watershed. Do you know what that public money was actually used for? The construction of a municipal project! After countless letters to these 2 politicians and copies sent to Malloy, not one has been able to answer the mail and justify that "grant". I suggest that the author visit Southbury's Open Space areas. That list can be obtained from Deloris Curtis of the Planning Com. and a copy of ARTICLE IV from Ed Nagy, Conservation Com. Then visit Southbury's Open Space areas such as Seman, Scheilke, Settlers and see if those open space areas comply with ARTICLE IV! $9 million of more waste, fraud and abuse by govt.!
Tom Oakes December 31, 2012 at 01:47 PM
People who are interested in the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program should check out this link: http://ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2706&q=323834&depNav_GID=1641 The Connecticut General Statute (C.G.S. Section 7-131d to 7-131) clearly states the intent of the program. It states in part that: Land acquired will be preserved in perpetuity: 1) predominately in its natural scenic and open condition; 2) for the protection or provision of potable water; 3) or for agriculture. A permanent conservation easement will be provided to the State to ensure that the property remains in a natural and open condition for the conservation, open space, agriculture, green space or water supply purpose for which it was acquired. The easement will include a requirement that the property be made available to the general public for appropriate recreational purposes. Where development rights will be purchased and where general public access would be disruptive of agricultural activity, an exception to the provision for public recreational access may be made, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Where development rights are to be purchased, the State of Connecticut will become an equal holder of those rights as a substitute for the easement.
Tom Oakes December 31, 2012 at 01:48 PM
The comment by F. Pielmeier hints at government conspiracy and misbehavior, but never provides any evidence or even a description of what these violations might be. I suspect his concern, like that of all anti-government agitators, is not evidence based, but is rooted instead in the concerns articulated in his opening and closing statements: "It is a shame that the state doles out hard earned tax dollars to towns such as Southbury" and " $9 million of more waste, fraud and abuse by govt.!" The Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program is a good program, and the money spent on it is money well spent. I’m delighted to see my tax dollars used in this way. It makes little sense to attack a law on the grounds that the law is being violated. If Mr. Pielmeier knows of situations where the requirements aren't being adhered to, he should document the violations and make sure his concerns are dealt with. That’s the proper way to respond.
My 2 cents December 31, 2012 at 02:02 PM
It should be noted that the grant for preservation of the Stillmeadow farm was made to the Southbury Land Trust, not the town. This is to provide a permanent, perpetual conservation easement on this historic property. Therefore any future "abuse" of this property is not at issue.
Pgmr9 December 31, 2012 at 05:51 PM
until a builder comes up with the right amount of cash
Tom Oakes December 31, 2012 at 06:40 PM
No, Pgmr9, the law is quite clear on this. Of course, democratic rule is flexible by design. The word permanent speaks only to the intent of the lawmakers of today. Future lawmakers elected by future generations of Connecticut citizens might write new laws to allow the development of currently protected land, but not without the signature of the majority of our elected representatives. This is democracy in action.

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