Fairfield Hills Authority consider Open Space
Several community members including CPC Director Ann Astarita spoke at the Fairfield Hills Authority (FHA) meeting on Monday, January 25, 2016 in support of the continued legal use of the High Meadow Open Space on the Fairfield Hills campus.
While Ms. Astarita’s comments included aspects of the High Meadow Open Space’s value from an ecological viewpoint, the key issue was a legal one. Can the High Meadow Open Space be used for a permanent memorial which includes road, structure/s, parking lot, lighting, and attendant utilities? When you look at Connecticut Law, town records, intent of the Conservation Commission, Plannning & Zoning, Board of Selectmen, and Fairfield Hills Ad Hoc Committee, the current proposal is inconsistent with the intended use of such space. Town officials reportedly consider the development proposal to be a “passive” use, specifically “passive recreation”.
The FHA considered that their purview did not include review of the High Meadow; and only leases of existing and planned buildings applied to them. One of the commissioners stated that if families of the victims of 12/14 wanted the High Meadow open space property for permanent memorial, the Town had to give it to them. This statement is not supported by any law, ordinance, policy, or precedent. .
Citizens for Public Commons, its members and supporters will continue to work with town officials and public and private agencies to advocate for all legal uses of Newtown’s Open Space.
“I want you to hear something,” resident Ann Astarita told Fairfield Hills Authority (FHA) members Monday night, January 25. The lower meeting room at Edmond Town Hall filled with sounds of the outdoors — insects, birds’ whistles and chatter, wind, all added to the brief recording.