Letter: Conservation Commission should oversee open space

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To the editor,

Authority for supervising passive open space must be transferred to Naugatuck’s Conservation Commission. There are many reasons for this transfer of authority from the Park Commission. Along with this being mandated by state statute (Sec. 7-131a), our town has grown. We are no longer a small town of under 20,000 people.

The responsibilities of the Park Commission have grown along with our population. They have responsibility for all parks, parklets, and traditional holiday and other recreational activities. They are presently adding two new ball fields, one off Osborn Road and another on Andrew Mountain. They have added a dog park and a community garden. Their plate is overflowing.

The Conservation Commission has the training to give guidance to passive use of land without hard surfaces that is with permeable surfaces, and no structures. They have the expertise to guide the research and propose policies necessary to conserve and preserve our passive lands and waterways.

Conservation Commission members have local experience e.g. capping the Laurel Park Land Fill, the fight for clean water, the struggle for the extraordinary Gunntown Passive Park and Nature Preserve, the establishment of the Naugatuck Land Trust, and the push to clean up the Naugatuck River.

Beacon Falls is a local example with this logical division of labor between a Park Commission and a Conservation Commission.

It is the law. It’s common sense.

Len Yannielli

Naugatuck

The writer is the community outreach director for The Gunntown Group.