October 23, 2007, 6:00 p.m.
31 Pecks Lane, Newtown, Connecticut
Commissioners Present: Hovious, Barkman, Ferguson, Wright, Cramer, Kaley.
Staff Present: Rob Sibley, Conservation Official, Tammy Hazen, Clerk.
Executive session to discuss potential purchases of properties convened at 5:00 p.m. and adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Commissioner Ferguson moved that Town of Newtown Conservation Commission recommend to the First Selectman and Board of Selectman the purchase of property number 06-07 which has received one of the highest ranking of all properties reviewed to date by the Conservation Commission and or Open Space Task Force. Commissioner Cramer seconded. Motion carried.
The public hearing was called to order at 6:09 p.m.
Note: Commissioner Hovious left at 6:45 p.m. and turned the chair over to Commission Barkman.
I. Public Participation
There were no members of the public present.
Minutes of October 9, 2007. Commissioner Wright motioned to approve minutes. Seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Minutes approved with changes.
III. Old Business
1. Update on Plans to Implement 2007-2008 Budget.
2007 – 2008 Budget: The Mr. Sibley asked the commissioners to submit office supply orders or requests for training to the Land Use Agency. The laptop is available for the Commissioners use.
2008 – 2009 Budget: Mr. Sibley asked the Commission to review and provide requests for this budget as soon as possible. The Director of Land Use must hand in the budget by the end of November.
2. Surveying Status.
The surveyors will begin surveying the four properties within the next month.
3. Commerce Road Economic Development/Open Space Discussion.
Position Paper Update. Commissioner Ferguson incorporated Commissioner Wright’s work. Commissioners Hovious and Ferguson will complete and submit the position paper to the commission for final adoption.
Newtown Survey. The two versions of question 34 in the Newtown Survey were distributed and discussed. Mr. Sibley will contact Paul Lundquist (Harrison Group), Liz Stocker, the Legislative Council and Herb Rosenthal to discuss the survey.
4. Action on Recommendation to P & Z to Clarify Open Space Definition.
Mr. Sibley distributed copies of the current open space definitions for Newtown and discussed wording within the current regulations. He discussed the definitions and noted that the priorities and “reasonings” should be.
5. Membership and Future Meeting Procedures.
Commissioner Barkman will chair the November 14th meeting in Commissioner Hovious’ absence. Commissioner Wilson will be submitting a letter of resignation. Commissioner Hovious discussed meeting attendance via telephone. Mr. Sibley researched options for the current conference room at 31 Pecks Lane and found it unfeasible to provide a conference phone system at this facility. The commission will research a better way of using cell phone technology until the Fairfield Hills facility is available.
6. Care and Custody of Town Open Space.
Commissioner Hovious is working on a list of Newtown’s Open Space. Mr. Sibley discussed current resources the Commission can use to gather information, including the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the Tax Assessor’s new Total Valuation Services database. The commission also discussed hiring an outside contractor to help on this project.
IV. New Business
1. Referral from Planning & Zoning – Application by Julia Wasserman for a four-lot
Commissioner Hovious discussed a referral from Planning & Zoning for a four-lot subdivision submitted by Julia Wasserman. Mr. Sibley displayed a map and provided background information on the property. Ms. Wasserman is generously gifting 92 acres of land to the State of Connecticut and providing a Conservation Easement of this property for the Town of Newtown. The property is sloped and contains mature forests. On the northern end of the property, the State intends to place a 3 to 5-vehicle parking lot, a split-rail fence, and a sign designating the park and a trail. Planning & Zoning is looking for confirmation that the Town is interested in receiving a conservation easement over State land.
Lot #1 contains a newer home built by Ms. Wasserman. Lot #2 has the foundation of Ms. Wasserman’s home that previously burned down. Ms. Wasserman intends to rebuild on the original foundation.
Commissioner Ferguson made a motion to advise the Planning & Zoning Commission that the Conservation Commission finds the proposed subdivision, as presented, to be not only acceptable, but an extremely generous gift to the people of the State of Connecticut and the people of Newtown.~ The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wright. Motion carried. Ms. Hazen is to e-mail the exact motion to Commissioner Hovious.
2. Conservation 2008 Schedule of Meetings.
Commissioner Ferguson motioned to accept the 2008 Schedule of Meetings. Commissioner Wright seconded. Motion approved.
Commissioner Cramer motioned to adjourn at 8:35 p.m. Seconded by Commissioner Wright. Motion approved.