Captain Bill has done a major disservice not only to the residents of New Milford, but to all who have respected his position as Riverkeeper. The misinformation concerning the United Water property in New Milford is simply mind boggling. First, the one and only application ever submitted to the Borough of New Milford is the one currently being reviewed by the Zoning Board. This is the monstrosity that Captain Bill concedes is "an inflated development plan." His assertion that this was not the first plan submitted is absolutely inaccurate. Hekemian Developers made a presentation in April 2011 describing the "smaller" plan. That plan was NEVER formally submitted. The current plan was introduced early in 2012. SOD was formed AFTER this application was submitted.
Second, how Captain Bill can possibly consider the removal of green space in a community that lacks green space to be a "good, practical alternative" is beyond me. The commercial ratables he touts would be offset by the increased costs incurred due to that development. That development alone would trigger additional obligations to provide affordable housing in a community that lacks the space (both physically and in our schools) to build more housing. The benefit to the school system would be minuscule: the acreage provided for a field would not be big enough for anything other than a practice field and would be located in the lowest area, most prone to flooding. What this community needs is a facility large enough for real competition. The UW property, not a tiny piece of it, is the only space left in New Milford that would be large enough to accommodate a full service athletic facility.
Third, how can Captain Bill say that this property is devoid of vegetation? It is loaded with both flora and fauna. It serves as home to many different species. It is far from being dry: there is a berm around it to protect it from the all too often floods, courtesy of Mother Nature and UW's inadequacy in managing their reservoir system. It is GREEN, not industrial. Come take a look, Captain Bill.
Fourth, concerning the inability of New Milford to afford the $8 million price tag, no one ever asked us! This was decided mostly by Mayor Subrizi even after the grant writer informed her that this was very doable. But it was Subrizi's "vision" to have a new ShopRite on that land. As the Superintendent of Schools has stated: "Do you know of any community whose leaders celebrate the legacy of a strip mall?" Perhaps Captain Bill has not talked to the other elected officials in New Milford. The majority do NOT support Subrizi's vision. Perhaps Captain Bill should not be urging those of us in New Milford to support our elected leaders in this effort. Perhaps he should be urging Mayor Subrizi to support the majority on the council who support SOD's vision to maintain open space that will not impact flooding in a flood prone community, will not add to pollution (air, noise, water and light), will not impact negatively on the ability to provide emergency services, and will not add to already congested roads (necessitating the widening of River Road and removal of even more trees).
And now, how do we undo the damage that Captain Bill has wrought? Patch readers need to know that Captain Bill has provided them with fiction rather than a truthful account of the real situation in New Milford.
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