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Hartford wants to hear from you! There is still time to comment.

reservoirYou may have heard that conflict continues over an application before Planning & Zoning which would break zoning and imperil the watershed. We’re sorry to say, you’ve heard right. An earlier application had been rejected by P&Z, while Judge Berger of the Hartford District Superior Court had sided with concerns that intensive development on the watershed would present a deleterious impact on the public water supply. The developer subsequently appealed, and was denied.
As always, the challenge before P&Z remains so-called affordable housing under CGS 8-30g. However, in an effort to redress the concerns over this law – often used by developers to force towns to break their zoning – our State Senator, Tony Hwang and Rep. Brenda Kupchick are soliciting comments. Those could help shape potential amendments that would protect the watershed and public health. The deadline for input for the public hearing was February 16 but you still can send in your comments, so please contact your representatives listed below.
If this application were to prevail, others would follow. A domino effect thus established, the threat to public health would be far-reaching, and irreversible.
“Irreversible” is a big word. Fortunately, “if” is not. It’s not too late to make certain this deeply flawed law doesn’t subvert our future, our health, and our mandate to protect this precious resource.
Citizens for Easton has a basic position:
If any portion of a proposed affordable housing development is on land that drains into a public water supply reservoir, a substantial public interest must be established which supersedes 8-30g.
Intensive development on the watershed puts at risk the drinking water of over 340,000 residents in towns across Fairfield County, including Bridgeport, which depend on Easton’s reservoirs for safe, clean, potable water.
Please send your comments to : HSGtestimony@cga.ct.gov with subject line: “Improve 8-30g” with copies to Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov, Brenda.Kupchick@cga.ct.gov and adam.dunsby@housegop.ct.gov

Residents can weigh in on controversial 8-30g law

As reported by the Fairfield Sun on February 6, 2017
Housing Committee Co-Chair Sen. Tony Hwang and Ranking Member Rep. Brenda Kupchick today issued the following statement: Area residents can now tell state lawmakers what they think of the controversial affordable housing state law known as 8-30g. The CT General Statute section 8-30g law:

  • Has been used by developers to bypass local control and zoning regulations and environmental concerns
  • Has caused controversial housing decisions throughout Connecticut after costly and inflammatory court litigation.
  • Has the potential to forever alter the unique and historical character of neighborhood architecture and communities.

This year, we have an opportunity to:

  • Take a close look at this law and how it can be improved and adapted to meet changing community needs.
  • Receive input from local zoning officials, community leaders and residents from impacted neighborhoods.
  • Come to a solution which provides towns with much-needed control and flexibility while also achieving the goal of increasing our stock of workforce housing.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Housing Committee will hold a public hearing on the 8-30g law on Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. You can email your comments about the law today to the Housing Committee at HSGtestimony@cga.ct.gov. The comment may be as brief as you like. Include your name and town in the email.
Put “Improve 8-30g” in the email’s subject line
Copy us on the email at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov and Brenda.Kupchick@cga.ct.gov
For more information on the law, visit cga.ct.gov/2017/rpt/pdf/2017-R-0013.pdf. For more information, call 800-842-1421 (Co-Chair Sen. Hwang) and 800-842-1423 (Ranking Member Rep. Kupchick).

Saddle Ridge: “Bad for everyone except for the developers”

Easton Courier: Letter to the Editor, February 1, 2017
I urge the Easton Planning & Zoning Commission to reject the proposed Saddle Ridge development for the following reasons:
First, much evidence has been presented as to the deleterious effect this proposal will have on the public water supply, and we must err on the side of caution since tens of thousands of people drink water from our reservoirs. One need look no further than Flint, Mi. to see the potential risk. Moreover, the Aquarion Water Company opposes this plan.
Second, approval would encourage future development on the watershed, further impairing the water quality.
Third, developers often use the affordable housing law, as they are here, to circumvent local zoning regulations. They do not use the law so people can obtain housing they might otherwise not be able to afford but instead use a well-intentioned law to create high-density housing to maximize profits. This was clearly not the purpose of the law.
Fourth, there is legal precedent to deny the application since the court has already ruled against Saddle Ridge’s prior filing.
Last, 2017 marks 76 years since many of Easton’s strict zoning regulations were enacted. These laws were passed to protect public water, and there is no compelling reason to change them. This application is bad for everyone except for the developers, and it should be rejected.
Jim Riling

Lack of need, expert objections call for denial of Saddle Ridge plan

Easton Courier: Letter to the Editory, January 24, 2017

To the Editor:
To legally reject an application for an affordable housing development such as Easton Crossing, the probable cause of harm to the health and safety of the populace has to outweigh the need for affordable housing in Easton.
Apparently there are 15 affordable housing units in Easton, which have had an approximate 50% vacancy rate for the last several years. If this is so, there doesn’t appear to be a demand for the existing affordable housing in Easton, much less a need for even more affordable housing.
Also, the fact that P&Z has received written objections to this development based on protecting the public water supply and aquifers from such credible organizations and authorities as the Aquarion Water Company, the Connecticut Fund For the Environment, the Easton Health Department, the Easton land use director, the Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments, and one of the region’s preeminent soil, biological and wetlands scientists, Michael S. Klein, certainly seems to prove that this development application does pose a considerable threat to the health and safety of the populace.
In summary, a demonstrable lack of demand for affordable housing combined with the distinguished and detailed opposition of the above-named organizations and experts would call for denial of this application by the Easton Planning & Zoning Commission.
Grant Monsarrat
Easton, CT

NEXT (AND MAYBE LAST) SADDLE RIDGE PUBLIC HEARING

Adequate water supplies of high quality are
necessary both for community use and local
ecosystems . . .

Citizens for Easton feel the development proposed by Saddle Ridge would be a danger to our drinking water.

But…we can’t do it alone

Attendance is critical: Thursday, Dec 22 7:00 PM HKMS

 

Citizens for Easton relies on donations

Click HERE to donate via PayPal and add instruction “CSE” or send your checks made out to Citizens for Easton with Coalition to Save Easton (CSE) in the memo, and mail to Citizens for Easton, PO Box 151, Easton, CT 06612. CSE is a division of CFE which is a registered 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization. With your support we can continue to hire experts to help in our efforts to protect and preserve our water supply.

Please contact

Rob Maquat, Planning & Zoning Chairman via email at manania@eastonct.gov and Dori Wollen, Conservation Commission Chairperson at kring@eastonct.gov, or send a letter to them at 225 Center Road, Easton, CT 06612.

Thank you  for your passion, support and dedication to something that affects every one of us – the environment and the future of our town. Citizens for Easton/CSE will continue to advocate to uphold Easton’s zoning and to protect the safety of the public drinking water supply.

Attend the Saddle Ridge Development Hearing, Monday, December 12

Easton is more than a place to live — it’s home to our most precious commodity …WATER. We feel the development proposed by Saddle Ridge would be a danger to our drinking water. The next public hearing on the Saddle Ridge high-density development application is Monday, December 12, 2016, 7:30 pm at Helen Keller Middle School. The 124-acre site is on watershed land abutting Sport Hill, Silver Hill, Cedar Hill and Westport Roads. Please attend if you can.

NEW SADDLE RIDGE THREAT TO WATERSHED

Droughts have a way of focusing our attention here in Easton. Lawns dry out, leaves too. Empty streambeds wind through dessicated woods enroute to reservoirs that slowly, then quickly, recede to regain a widening shoreline. What happens below ground is even more dramatic: Water tables drop, well levels too, and slowly, that which we take for granted  begins to assert an ominous hypothetical: What if water is no longer there to take for granted?

Easton is a water town — it has been our heritage and now, our destiny. Without the need for water, Easton might not even exist, or certainly not in the unique form of today. Reservoirs and the watersheds that sustain them have shaped our character for well over a century, but those watersheds sustain far more than just those: They sustain us.

This drought — hopefully relieved by rain — does at least offer another opportunity to remind ourselves why precious — and not automatically renewable — resources like water matter so much. By protecting this resource, we protect Easton’s county-wide mandate to provide a clean and steady supply of water. By protecting this, we ensure that  the next generation has a viable template  for conservation too. But most of all, by protecting this we ensure the health of our families, and our children.

As you are perhaps aware, there is yet another Saddle Ridge application before Planning and Zoning that seeks to build a cluster housing development on watershed land. Citizens for Easton has previously and successfully fought this assault on our health and on our water, and be assured, CFE will oppose this application as well.

We hope all Eastonites understand the vital importance of protecting a resource we can no longer take for granted. The health and well-being of our children, and their children, depend on it.

Verne Gay

Board Chairman

Citizens for Easton