I oppose the proposed amendment to current zoning regulations to create a new district called a “Town Green Center” at the intersection of Sport Hill Road, Center Road and Banks Road.
I oppose this amendment for the following reasons:
- Approving the proposed amendment will effectively break our Town’s current zoning laws that have protected Easton from developers and businesses since 1941. The stores that are currently doing business in Easton pre-date Easton’s strict no-commercial zoning regulations.
- We cannot limit commercial development to a particular piece of property in Easton since “Spot Zoning” is illegal.
- The revenue generated from a small shop is negligible. For example, a small commercial facility with a fair market value of $1 million would generate annual taxes of $16,520 or a savings of about $6.61 per household. Accordingly, it would take approximately 20 to 30 village stores to make a 1% dent in the Town budget.
- Commercial development will bring about increased traffic, higher Town expenses for the infrastructure to support it, a loss of the uniqueness of our Town and a decrease in property values.
- Some people advocate commercial development for the sake of convenience, including a bank, pharmacy, dry cleaner, ice cream shop, hardware store, wine shop, butcher, pizzeria, etc. If everyone’s idea of convenience is not satisfied, then what is accomplished and at what cost?
- As the current stewards of Easton, the residents bear a responsibility for our Town. Anything we do will affect the Town for generations to come and any changes that are enacted will be irreversible.
- Many people point to the Weston Town Shopping Center as a model for Easton. This is a bad comparison for several reasons. First, Easton is close to Monroe, Fairfield, Trumbull where Easton residents can go to stores, restaurants, etc. Weston does not have the same proximity to town(s) with significant commercial development. Second, Weston was in the process of enacting zoning regulations which would have prevented the center, but the center was rushed to get in under the gun. Weston continues to have pressure to expand the center which they resist or to have other commercial areas which they also resist.
- The State Department of Environmental Protection discourages development in the watershed, especially sewers, and encourages no more than two bedrooms per upland acre. Easton does not have the infrastructure (i.e. – sewers, roads, etc.) for commercial development.
- Remember that once the doors to development are open, they can never be closed.
- The bottom line is the “reward” of having some minor conveniences and minimal revenue is outweighed by the risk of jeopardizing our current protective zoning regulations.
Thank you for your time and consideration. James Riling 265 North Park Avenue. Easton, CT 06612