Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June Conservation Commission Meeting - New logo, new members? and nothing new…

From Kate Miller:

The Eye’s anniversary has spurred me out of my guilty negligence to offer a brief report on the Conservation Commission meetings I attend as a member. Last week’s was a sort of a “conservation light” kind of meeting. Sparked by the City’s recent acquisition of a conservation easement on the Merriam tree farm property – the first time Middletown has bought the development rights, rather than the property outright - the only vote taken was a unanimous request to Planning Department staff that they look into what other towns and entities do when they have ensured public access to private land. Is access 24/7? Do owners post signs holding them harmless? What about hunting or other activities that might conflict with passive recreation?

A logo to be used on new signs at the City’s open space properties, including many new ones, was finalized, and staff was asked to look into moving ahead on the getting the signs made an installed. The idea here is to encourage more use of the many amazing properties we’ve got.

Somewhat dishearteningly Commissioners heard reports about how the Army’s development plan was reviewed by staff without comment, and approved by the City Council and Planning and Zoning without review by the Conservation Commission or Inland Wetland. There was a brief discussion about a letter written by members to various City officials requesting the addition of specific “best management practices” to the plan to merge the Melili and City Hall parking lots, in order to reduce pollution entering the Connecticut River and use the public project to educate developers and others about stormwater control options. This comes under the disheartening category as well, since by the time the Conservation Commission was told about the project, the plans had already been approved. However, the changes being proposed by the commission are integrated into the current layout and plan, and shouldn’t be too difficult or costly to incorporate.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Catherine Johnson (bless her) is moving ahead with her courageous project to rewrite the Plan of Conservation and Development as a single, usable product, rather than the duel(ing) documents originally proposed by staff. She’s seeking more input at a meeting Wednesday, June 17th, 6:30pm, at the Russell Library.

Lastly, it was noted that there are two vacancies on the board. Patient, optimistic and hard-working souls, especially, encouraged.

And a birthday note…
The Middletown Eye makes my roots grow just a little deeper. Lucky, lucky to be in such a colorful, compassionate, community! Happy Birthday, Eye!

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