Friday, August 22, 2008

After two fizzled trial balloons

Commentary from Paul and Karen Torop

The army's plan to go back to square one is a frustrating one for residents of Maromas and for all the environmentalists in Middletown and elsewhere who want to preserve the rural-residential character of this part of the city. It reopens the opportunity for the special interests who wish to use an army base as the thin edge of a wedge that can lead eventually to big box stores and condominiums in Maromas. (As the city Planner said back in the days when City Hall was openly in favor of the Freeman Road site: "When you bring sewer service to an area, you basically open it up for development.")

I wasn't impressed by Colonel Landry's presentation. He was not familiar with the conditions on the ground. Instead, he seemed to rely on professions of sincerity, his resumé, and an attempt to establish a male-bonding relationship with the mayor and members of the Council. He said that he had been told that there was an opinion by army lawyers that the BRAC legislation, which says that a base should be built in Middletown if (my italics) a suitable site is available, actually means that the base has to be built within the Middletown city limits!!! Attorney General Blumenthal implied that this "legal opinion" was ridiculous, but the colonel, who could not produce the opinion or even say that he had seen it, said that he was acting on the assumption that it was his duty to build the base within the city.

Other examples of lack of preparation: not having seen resolutions by the Council about the unsuitability of proposed sites and not being aware that the original letter to Middletown's mayor had asked for the recommendation of sites in town and nearby communities (not just in Middletown).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of suitable land in the city. The boardman rd site is a zoned industrial parcel now. There is land up and down middle st that's suitable. I would rather have a base than a factory or more homes and condos they put a larger strain on resoure's. Just my 2 cents. Besides it has to be built in someones backyard,