Common Council public hearing: 03.18.08. Photo by CTBlogger.
Mayor Boughton's attempt to sell city-owned land on Rockwood Lane reeks of hypocrisy since this the same mayor who made a campaign promise to acquire 12,000 acres as open space by 2012.
While I could go on and on pointing out the ignorance in Boughton's latest stunt, thankfully someone else did all the work for me...and made the Common Council second guess the deal.
For those not familiar with this idiotic proposal, here's a quick recap.
The Common Council is considering selling two acres of undeveloped land to a homeowner on Rockwood Lane.Now, lets forget that DeFabritis' request to have a buffer is already in place BECAUSE THE CITY OWNS THE LAND...I'll sit back while Gucker explains the stupidity of Boughton's ways.
Resident Paul DeFabritis is offering $20,000 for the land, which is next to his home. He is not planning to develop the land, according to his attorney, Peter Hunt.
"It's an unimproved road and it doesn't have access," Hunt said. "It's basically landlocked."
DeFabritis, who owns about nine acres next to the city's two acres, said he wants to buy the land to protect him from any development that could take place around his property, which is close to the New York State border.
"I want the buffer," DeFabritis said. "It's basically a cliff. I couldn't develop it if I wanted to."
Kenneth Gucker, a politically active city Democrat, is questioning why the Common Council is selling the land -- especially when voters recently approved spending $6.6 million to purchase open space.Hmm...why does the Cotswald case come to mind?
"The mayor stated when he was running for office he wanted to get, I believe 12,000 acres by 2012," Gucker said. "I can't see how that can happen when you're selling off city property."
While there may be no plans to develop the land at the moment, no one knows what will happen in the future, Gucker said.
"Rather than selling off property we should be acquiring property," said Gucker, who also questioned the proposed purchase price for the land. Gucker said the city owns a few other parcels on Rockwood Lane and should be drafting a long-term plan to manage its properties. Doing so would help address over development, which Gucker said is the city's number one problem.BINGO! Gucker nails it. Unfortunately, Boughton doesn't seem to get the message and offers an excuse that makes NO SENSE.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said the land deal gets the property back onto the tax rolls.Now, as I said, I'm going to step back, bite my lip, and not explain why Boughton's remark is simply wrong as well as short-sighted. Instead, keep the last honest man's comment in mind when you hear Gucker rip the proposal to shreds when he addressed the Common Council during the public hearing.
"The land can't be developed. You can't get a building lot out of there," Boughton said. "There's a benefit here. We'll be able to collect taxes, it won't be developed and it still remains as open space. If the city can get a chance to develop some revenue, clearly we are going to do that.
I guess Gucker did his homework and didn't drink the mayor's kool-aid. Gucker's presentation was instrumental in convincing the Council to modify the deal.
While Councilman Saadi understood the desire to purchase land to act as a buffer, he expressed concern with combining lets and future development. He inquired about Deed restrictions. Mr Pinter suggested that if Common Council decided to sell the parcel of land in question to the petitioner, negotiations could be made whereby the Common Council authorized the sale subject to a clause in the Deed which would require some form of restriction for conservation purposes.
A motion to amend was made by Councilman Saadi and seconded by Councilman Visconti to authorize and direct Corporation Counsel to draft an appropriate Deed restriction/conservation easement to prevent the 2-acre parcel (Lot #B09001) from being developed by the current petitioner or subsequent owners.
The motion to amend carried unanimously.
You can watch video footage of the debate on the Rockwood Lane land deal by clicking here.
With the deed restriction amendment in place, last night, Gucker approached the Common Council and offered these remarks.
In closing, as I'm sure Ken would say, DO YOUR HOMEWORK and NEVER TRUST ONE WORD THAT COMES OUT OF A POLITICIAN'S MOUTH. Boughton was wrong DEAD wrong in even selling this land off in the first place...not placing deed restrictions only adds insult to injury. With irresponsible development being the NUMBER ONE ISSUE in this city, Boughton should not be in the business of selling off city-owned land. ASk the people of the 1st and 2nd ward who live by the Cotswald property how they feel knowing that the city didn't keep their hands on that land when it was in their possession.
It's simple: If the mayor's promise was to purchase open space, don't sell undeveloped city-owned land. Anything else is a slap in the face to the constituents who took the mayor at his word. You don't get to 12,000 acres of open space by 2012 by selling land in 2008.