Archive for the ‘Farmland Preservation’ 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.

      Your browser may not support display of this image.

More Information:

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

Farmland Preservation News

October 8, 2007

A combination of federal, state, and town monies enabled the forever preservation of the Crooke Orchards farm in Ashford. Owing to an overwhelming local attitude of approval towards saving this 148 acre parcel from deveopment owner Elaine Crooke received over $500 thousand for the development rights. The contribution was divided 37.5% each from federal and state, and 25% from the town of Ashford. The Hartford Courant reports today:

Two years ago, the legislature instituted a $30 real estate conveyance fee for the towns, and about a fifth of an estimated $25 million in revenue from that goes to farmland preservation and other state Department of Agriculture programs, said J. Joseph Dippel, director of the preservation program.

“The Crooke farm was the first closing that occurred with this program,” Dippel said, adding that the new process is much faster than awaiting state bonding. About 10 other towns, including Suffield, Woodstock, Pomfret, Hebron, Shelton and Simsbury, are among the most active in protecting farmland.

317 Bebbington Road (1 mi from Jct Rt 44 & 89)
Ashford, CT 06278
(860) 429-5336

The beautiful farm pictured at the top of the page is one in Killington PA. Pennsylvania is another state very active in farmland preservation.

Farmland preservation is becoming a necessity in the United States, which produces the majority of the world’s farmland crops. However, each year America loses more than one million acres of farmland that had been dedicated to growing the world’s food supply.

“In addition to providing a source of fresh food, farmland supplies habitat for wildlife, green open space, and filters for clean air and water,” said Ralph Grossi, president of American Farmland Trust, a nationwide farmland conservation group. “By identifying and protecting our best agricultural land, we can safeguard the family farms and farm businesses that drive local economies.”

Source of above

See important Jonah Center news on our Jonah Center page; new posting today.