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.
Category Archives: Farmland preservation
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.
Rob Maquat, Planning & Zoning Chairman via email at email@example.com and Dori Wollen, Conservation Commission Chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Easton’s Eighth Annual Farm Tour, this year scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, from 10 to 3, will offer free chances to win five prizes instead of last year’s single “Big Red Basket.”
Arriving visitors to the Firehouse Green, the first stop on the tour, may enter the free drawing for five different prizes, all of which were donated by Easton farms, businesses, artists and artisans. Baskets containing local non-perishable treats, autographed books by local authors, and a children’s gift bag are among the offerings.
Winners will be contacted at the end of the tour and may claim their prizes thereafter. This year’s donors include James Prosek, the Apple Barn, Silverman’s, Sport Hill Farm, and the Easton Village Store.
Tickets (one per family) will be at the Citizens for Easton tent on the green.
This year, the odds of winning are five times better!
Forever Yours or Forever Gone: On Thursday, August 18, 2016 (location and time to be determined by Board of Selectmen) Citizens for Easton will present to the Selectmen a proposal to retain the unique 29.6 South Park Avenue property as open space in perpetuity. This pastoral landscape is part of Easton’s rural character and abuts the Mill River, one of only nine Class A Wild Trout streams left in Connecticut. Your presence will send a strong message to the Selectmen that townspeople feel very strongly about preserving this important part of Easton’s character and heritage for current and future generations.
Please also pass this information to others interested in preserving part of what makes Easton special and safeguarding the sensitive Mill River.
Email email@example.com to signup for important updates.
Thank you for your support!
EASTON — The legal battle over the proposed Saddle Ridge development on 124.7 acres of watershed land along Sport Hill Road has officially ended.
For more than five years, town residents, officials and others argued a housing development was too intense a proposal for the privately owned parcel bordered by Sport Hill, Westport, Silver Hill and Cedar Hill roads.
Developers Huntley “Bucky” Stone and Robert Carlson, on the other hand, contended that their plans, which would include affordable housing within the development, would not have a substantially different impact on the land than a plan approved in 2009 for 21 mansions. They appealed the commissions’ decisions in Superior Court.
Earlier this year, Hartford Superior Court Judge Marshall K. Berger ruled that the plans were not appropriate for the area. And recently, ending the debate once and for all, the Appellate Court decided not to take up the case, as requested by the developers.
Verne Gay, president of Citizens for Easton, a community group formed in the 1970s to help protect the town’s open space, said he’s not sure whether Stone, the face of the development, will now give up plans to develop the site or submit a new proposal.
“The courts rejected the appeal,” Gay said. “Does he have another move? I don’t know.”
For town residents, the legal battle was a long one that required constant attention and funds to pay a lawyer of their own. Citizens for Easton created the Coalition to Save Easton for this reason, which attained intervenor status in the case, meaning it was always aware of the latest actions in the case.
“It has been very hard,” Gay said. “We all have our own jobs and lives. Over the years, Bucky was well funded and he had a very good legal team. At any point through this process he could have prevailed. Our difficulty was to just keep fighting.”
“We’re very simply a local tree-hugger group here,” Gay added. “It has no other motivation. It’s just protecting the town.”
Stone and Carlson did not return calls for comment.
The town’s regulations limit development in the property’s zone to one dwelling unit per 2 acres of buildable area, excluding the wetlands. The developers sought a more dense housing complex of 99 units in 31 buildings, with 30 percent of the townhouses set aside as affordable.
Under state statute, if a town with less than 10 percent affordable housing rejects a developer’s application to build affordable housing, the burden of proof is on the town to show the plan would harm public health, safety or other matters.
Ira Bloom, of the law firm Berchem, Moses and Devlin P.C., served as legal counsel for the town commissions. “For Easton it was extremely important to protect the town’s resources and, in particular, the public water supply area,” he said
The complex would have sat within two watersheds: the Easton Lake Reservoir and the Aspetuck Reservoir. Both serve as the Aquarion Water Co.’s public drinking water supply reservoirs that serve more than 400,000 Fairfield County residents.
First Selectman Adam Dunsby said protecting the watershed land merits appropriate restrictions on developments.
Brian Roach, program manager of environmental protection for Aquarion, said the 99-unit complex proposed housing densities that were more than two times the maximum density shown to be appropriate to protect water quality within watersheds.
“While Aquarion acknowledges the need for affordable housing in Connecticut, it strongly believes that high-density residential developments should only be considered for locations that are not within public drinking water supply watersheds,” Roach said.
In his 56-page decision, Judge Berger noted that the state statute that addresses affordable housing, section 8-30g, was not meant to tie the hands of communities like Easton, who have a low percentage of affordable housing.
“Saddle Ridge’s application highlights Easton’s need for affordable housing,” the decision states. “The Legislature’s enactment of (Section) 8-30g to accomplish that goal was not intended to allow every development at the cost of damaging natural resources such as our wetlands and watercourses. Sometimes, a different type or less intensive use of the land is demanded.”
August 20, 2016-Save the date!
More info to follow!
Two town commissions and the Coalition to Save Easton have filed memos opposing Petitions for Certification to the appellate court by Saddle Ridge Development LLC, et al, to hear their case on appeal.
The memos cap a multi-year dispute over Saddle Ridge Development LLC’s proposal to build Saddle Ridge Village, a 99-unit townhouse development with affordable housing units on watershed land bordering Cedar Hill, Silver Hill, Sport Hill, and Westport roads.
The developer sued to overturn Easton’s land use commissions denials of the dense housing development, which was to be located on the 124.7-acre site, which drains into the Aspetuck and Easton reservoirs and provides drinking water to more than 400,000 Fairfield County residents.
The reservoirs are part of an interconnected system of reservoirs that serve Stratford, Bridgeport, Trumbull, Shelton, Monroe, Fairfield and Westport. During the summer months, they are also used to supplement water demands in New Canaan, Wilton, Ridgefield, Stamford and Greenwich.
A Petition for Certification is a request for the Appellate Court to hear the case on appeal. Appeals in land use cases are not automatic, according to attorney Ira Bloom of Berchem, Moses & Devlin of Westport, who represented the Planning and Zoning and Conservation commissions and filed the memos on their behalf.
Bloom sent the memos to the appellate court on March 2 and said that Attorney Jan Brooks, representing the Coalition to Save Easton, intervenor in the case, sent a memo opposing Saddle Ridge’s petitions the same day.
The legal wrangling follows Hartford Superior Court Judge Marshall K. Berger’s Jan. 25 decision to dismiss the appeals of Saddle Ridge Development LLC and Silver Sports LP against the Easton Planning and Zoning Commission and the Easton Conservation Commission.
Berger’s decision was based on the finding that the public drinking water watershed is an important public interest that merits strong protection.
The appellate court court may decide to hear one, two or none of neither of the cases and likely will will make a decision in one to four months.
“My experience is they can take a few months to make a decision,” Bloom said.