Revisions to ordinance under consideration

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BEACON FALLS — Officials are reviewing potential changes to an ordinance on open space.

Conservation Commission Chairwoman Diane Betkoski submitted a letter to the Board of Selectmen this month that laid out two proposed changes to the ordinance that created an Open Space Preservation Fund. Both the changes are based on language in Connecticut General Statutes.

The first change is the way the money can be used for open space. According to a letter from the town’s land use attorney Steven Byrne, the town’s regulations appear to only allow funds to be used to purchase open space. Under state statute, funds can be used for the purchase and preservation of open space, Byrne wrote. Preserving open space can include such acts as building hiking trails on open space the town owns, Byrne said.

Byrne also recommended changing the budget line from “Land Acquisition Fund” to “Open Space Preservation Fund.”

“This will provide consistency and emphasize that preservation is a proper use of this fund,” Byrne wrote.

The second proposed change to the ordinance is to clearly define the term preservation, Byrne wrote. He recommended referencing state statute 7-131d, which explains what preservation is and what cannot be done on preserved land.

According to the statute, the prohibited uses include commercial or recreational purposes that require intense development, such as ball fields.

The Board of Selectmen voted to send the revised ordinance to counsel for further review. Once it has been reviewed, the board will set a date for a public hearing on the changes and a town meeting to vote to re-adopt the ordinance.