Archive for the ‘Conservation Commission’ Category

Open Space/Farmland in a Landslide!

November 7, 2007

Middletown’s ballot question #2….

“Shall the $2,000,000 appropriation and bond authorization for acquisition of open space and farm lands, as adopted by the Common Council, be approved?”

…was approved overwhelmingly; 4731 Yes – 1489 No. It is likely that an enthusiastic turnout by Wesleyan students and faculty was an important factor in the approval. The Jonah Center’s John Hall notes:


Farms and Open Space were the biggest vote getter on Tuesday.

4731 voted “yes” and 1489 voted “no.” No other question or candidate got that many votes. This shows what Middletown residents want to save our city’s rural areas.

Thanks to everyone who helped our effort by spreading the word, getting out the vote, or working at the polls. It paid off!

In other election news, a candidate for an Alternate Planning and Zoning seat, Wesleyan student Matthew Lesser, pulled in more votes than Mayor Sebastian Giuliano. Giuliano was running unopposed which may have contributed to his lower vote tally. Lesser noted in a recent email….

I don’t know yet how many students voted. Those figures will be available at some point from the Voter Registrar’s office (they may be available now from the Town Clerk, but I haven’t had a chance to check). I do know that about 400 Wesleyan students are registered to vote in Middletown.

We had good turnout from them and from Wesleyan faculty and staff as well (as indicated by strong results in the 14th Precinct around Wesleyan and in the faculty-heavy Snow School Districts), but Democratic candidates did well yesterday throughout the city.

I’m glad to see you were supporting the open space referendum. I’m happy to see that it passed, not the least because it shows that not every issue is partisan. The College Democrats were very active in promoting the open space and sewer bond issues on campus, and I know those issues propelled a lot of people to the polls.

Other Middletown news see: Alert Middletown Officials Stamp Out Wigwam

Tags: Middletown ct open space,middletown ct referendum,matthew lesser,sebastian giuliano,middletown election,wesleyan university voters,middletown ct election districts

Vote Yes on Farmland Preservation Nov 6

November 3, 2007

Question 2. on the Nov 6 Ballot in Middletown reads:

“Shall the $2,000,000 appropriation and bond authorization for acquisition of open space and farm lands, as adopted by the Common Council, be approved?”

Previous bond sales totaling $8 million have helped finance the purchase of nearly 700 acres of woodlands and recreation space in the past 18 years – land that likely would have become housing subdivisions had it not been preserved.This new measure would focus on the preservation of farmland.

If approved by the voters, the additional $2 million could trigger up to $4 million in matching state grants, allowing the city to buy or preserve a total of 500 more acres.

“We have a very good track record with the state; in well over 90 percent of our applications, we’ve won the matching funds,” Middletown Conservation Commission member Michael Ennis said. “Open space purchases pay for themselves over time by saving tax dollars, and all of that develop able land is like fruit [hanging] from a vine, waiting to be plucked.”

In these instances, the city either buys the real estate or the development rights. The latter option allows a farming family to continue to work their land if they choose…… Every hour, another acre of land is chewed up by developers. To demonstrate these numbers and to honor land which has been preserved, Middletown Conservation Commission Member Michael Ennis rose before dawn, and three minutes before sunrise, he began a sit-in at The Guida Farm Conservation Area, a 100-acre pasture that was once a dairy farm.
At 7:13 a.m., Ennis arrived on the open meadow, spread out his blanket and began a sit-in. Each hour and a quarter, he moves an acre and marks the 40,000-square-foot area with orange cones. Each year, 7,000 acres of land are developed, Ennis said. That translates to 19 acres a day, or one acre every hour and a quarter. “This is more or less the amount of land we lose every day, open space, to developers,” Ennis said, indicating the rolling green meadow around him.

Source: Middletown Press

Here is cover photo from the November issue of The Chronicle picturing members of the Guida family of Sunshine Dairy and member of the Lee family from Lee Farm. These farms, along with others, could qualify for preservation if the bonding is approved. Credit: staff photographer Tom Keyes, Sr

Here is a portion of an article from the same issue about the farms: (see also our previous posting Farmland Preservation News and Jonah Center page in the sidebar)

Open Space on Nov 6 Ballot

October 18, 2007

      Help Preserve Middletown’s

      Farms and Open Space

    On the Nov. 6 ballot, there will be a question asking voters if the city should borrow up to $2 million for acquisition and preservation of farmland and open spaces.  This could preserve hundreds of acres.

    These City funds may be matched by up to $4 million in State or Federal funding.

    Vote ‘YES’ on Question # 2 November 6

    • To help preserve the scenic and rural character of our city.
    • To help protect wildlife habitat and the health of Middletown’s environment.
    • To help save the city money.  Residential development actually costs much more in city services than it generates in taxes.
    • To help preserve working farms and local agricultural products and jobs. Over 4,000 acres of Middletown farmland have been lost in the past.
    • To help provide outdoor recreational opportunities for Middletown residents.

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More Information:

Tags: open space,nov 6 election,ballot question,farmland preservation,middletown ct,sample ballot,jonah center

Environmental Survey On Open Space

September 14, 2007

The Middletown Press reports today on the presentation to the Common Council of a preliminary report on the acquisition and utilization of remaining open space in the city.

MIDDLETOWN – With farmland in Middletown dwindling and existing farmers being forced to sell off parcels of their land to make ends meet, the city’s conservation commission enlisted a environmental consultant to figure out which areas in the city could be used for farming and ways of promoting local agriculture.

The environmental group, LADA P.C., presented a preliminary report to the conservation commission detailing the potential farmland in the city and ways to encourage agricultural development, as well as what they see are the many benefits of agricultural land in a city, during Thursday night’s conservation commission meeting.

The box below provides some information about the L.A.D.A firm.

Also important meeting Tuesday Sept 18:

Jonah Center Meeting — Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Room of First Church, 190 Court Street.


Updates on Jonah Center projects: Recreational Trail project (including boat launch) and Landfill Gas project. Referendum on Farmland preservation to appear on November ballot.


Featured Program:  Demonstration of the Biodiversity Database, developed in cooperation with Wesleyan’s Environmental Studies program, with funding from the Rockfall Foundation.  Wesleyan intern Nick Field (who constructed the database this past summer) and Professor Barry Chernoff, President of the Jonah Center, will show us how the database works and explain why it is important.