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Hearing Pharos Farm December 10, 2012

Public Policy Issues



Pharos Farm Hearing



I would like to express my concern about what appears to be a
bait and switch presentation. Can the Town arbitrarily decide to sell the
property to Hall, a private resident without asking others to bid? The town
purchased Pharos Farm many years ago for open space and other municipal
purposes. Presently the town has leased the land to the Hall family for
farming.  Many years ago the town
contracted for a study on the land usage and one of the options was for playing
fields. Many of the surrounding neighbors rejected this proposal as too close
to the homes in the area and a traffic issue. However, the land is presently unencumbered
from restrictions and could be used for municipal purposes as needed. The
proposal that is being presented restricts the land to farming. The town
presently owns the Community Farm of Simsbury that is not in compliance with
the Eno Trust, Pharos Farm, Dewey Farm and other areas of open space. Simsbury
presently has Rosedale Farm,  Tuller Farm,
 the Hall Farm, Flamig Farm  with restricted land. 



It appears that Farming is the nugget of day and money and
is being thrown at this resource. However, as the fad disappears and money is
redirected, purchasing of farm land will no longer be on the agenda. As
organizations and towns purchase the land from farmers and restrict their use,
the need for more farmers becomes ever present. It appears that most of the
farmers are aging and will no longer be able to farm small tracts of land. Who
will fill the void?  What will happen to
the land? Who will provide the oversight?



The Town has been confronted with developers coming before
this board stating that restrictions placed years ago on developments are too
restrictive and reduce their profit margins. The town has approved a change in
the 55 and over restrictions on the Powder Forest land which will bring more
families with children and increase our taxes. This board was asked to overturn
an affordable housing restriction on Powder Forest land because it is too cumbersome
although the town is still short on 31 affordable homes. The developer
purchased this property from Ensign Bickford knowing that these restrictions
were imposed by the land use boards. The same thing will happen with the farm
land….not enough farmers …. restrictions too cumbersome, then what happens to
the land?  Another example is the Eno
Farms Affordable housing as part of the Eno Trust, for people with low and very
low income has been in litigation for many years with issues arising from the
restrictions. 



In the 1980’s Simsbury had a concentration of contamination
from the use of pesticides on the tobacco fields and the drinking water from
Simsbury’s aquifer was polluted as were people’s wells. Farming, whether
organic or not has years of pesticide use that could result in contaminated
soil and drinking water.  With the
transfer of the Hall property to the Land Trust there is an opportunity for an
environmental impact study and testing of the soil and water for pesticide contamination
on the farm land and in the surrounding area.



In a memo dated March 12, 2012, to First Selectman Mary
Glassman, Hiram Peck, Director of Planning, 
had 8 comments regarding the transactions before this board. Has his
concerns been answered to his satisfaction?



I would urge this board not to rush into this transaction
without fully vetting the issues before you.



This board is not here to appease the Land Trust but to
protect the citizens of the town.



 

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Skip Deubel December 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM
The Culbro land is an interesting point. At one time it to tainted with pesticide residual to build housing or a school on, nut a decade or so later "fresh local produce" was being grown on it!!
Robert Kalechman December 12, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Say what you will Ms Coe has it right and as recent as the Selectman Meeting 12/10/12 monday last she reported on drugs and a drug raid on town land run by the town now we have raid by local or the Federals enforcement call it what you will it is a raid looking for drugs at the Simsbury High school and our boards are trouble over water going to U -Conn Ms once again has it right and Simsbury's attack dogs and some selectman have it wrong the town owes Ms Coe a good round of applause

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