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STAMFORD – It’s unlikely Stamfordites would have much interest in a zoning fight that’s dogging the town of Easton, half an hour to the north. The communities have little in common, other than seats in Fairfield County.
Stamford, with 130,000 residents, is diverse, largely urban, a business center known for its traffic and proximity to Manhattan. Easton, with a homogeneous population of 7,500, is largely rural. It has one traffic light and not a single commercial zone. But they have a vital connection – most of Easton is on watershed land owned by Aquarion, and its reservoirs are a big source of Stamford’s water. Now Eastoners are in court battling a development of 66 houses and duplex units that has been approved for a tract of land between two significant reservoirs – Aspetuck and Easton Lake.
Aspetuck — along with the Saugatuck Reservoir, which runs along the Easton border into Weston and Redding; and Hemlocks Reservoir, which crosses into Fairfield – are part of a system that supplies 5 million of the 11 million gallons of water Stamford uses each day. The feed can go as high as 7 million gallons a day in normal times, said Bruce Silverstone, vice president of corporate communications for Aquarion, the area’s water utility.
But, because of a drought plaguing the region, Aquarion in November installed a temporary above-ground pipe and the Easton area began feeding Stamford all 11 million gallons. The water flows far beyond Stamford. The Easton-area system is a source for all of southern Fairfield County. “We are hoping that all towns in the county that get water from us would help us,” said Bill Kupinse, a former Easton first selectman and an attorney on the board of Citizens for Easton, a group he said has “been around for about 40 years trying to protect Easton from one developer or another.”
The Easton Planning and Zoning Commission approved the housing project in March, after months of debate, tacking on “a whole bunch of conditions,” Kupinse said. “But the citizens of Easton don’t think the conditions are sufficient to protect the watershed.” Continue reading
A fun event for all ages, the Citizens for Easton Farm Tour will again celebrating Easton farms with tours, educational opportunities, tastings, and other special activities! More details to follow, but read more about last year’s event here.
– Photo courtesy of Katie Henry
Please send any photos that celebrate Easton’s scenic, rural agrarian and small town characteristics to email@example.com with a note in the subject line: “Photo Submission.” Periodically, we hope to randomly select images to post on our website. If you’d like your name to be credited, kindly note that also. Thank you in advance!
Easton Conservation/Inland Wetlands Agency never received for review an application from Saddle Ridge for the 2016 development proposal
January 3, 2017 letter to P&Z from Conservation Chair and Resident Dori Wollen:
“This is a follow up to my letter to you dated November 18, 2016 regarding the latest Saddle Ridge development proposal. As noted before, the Conservation/Inland Wetlands Agency (“Conservation”) has yet to render an opinion due to the lack of receiving a formal application from the developers. The developers continue to claim that there is no new wetland impact and therefore the 2014 Conservation permit remains valid. However, until we know the extent of the regulated activities we cannot determine their impact. This issue was last discussed at our meeting on November 15, 2016 which prompted my letter referred to above. Continue reading
Excerpt from letter from Environmental Planning Services, (CSE’s intervenor expert) regarding the Saddle Ridge development application to Easton P&Z:
“The Planning and Zoning Commission cannot rely on the wetland permit as the Conservation Commission’s report or approval for several reasons. The plans do not meet the conditions of the Conservation Commission 2014 permit, which included modifications to the design of the drainage and stormwater treatment systems, as well as permanent restrictions on impervious cover, restrictions on construction timing, and individual review of the site plan for each home lot that includes an upland review area. It appears that individual reviews will be required on 44 of the 49 lots. The current application and plans also do not address the condition calling for a third party engineering review of the construction, as required by the wetland permit. The Conservation Commission conditions are also consistent with my recommendations with respect to establishment and permanent funding of a long term maintenance mechanism for the stormwater management system. If it is true that the applicant has maintained an active appeal of the permit, these concerns are especially significant.”