Brox Environmental Citizens letter inaccurate
To the Editor:
The inaccurate and misleading letter from the Coordinator of the Brox Environmental Citizens (that was printed in the Thursday, Jan. 15, Cabinet must be challenged. The BEC have undertaken an ongoing campaign over the past several years to preserve the entirety of the Brox Community Land from its longstanding, overwhelmingly community-supported intended multi-use plan (inclusive of recreation fields, future municipal facilities, a reserved school site if one is needed in the future, possible cemetery space, all balanced with trails, open space, and wetland protection ). This effort has to be addressed as its purpose is to override what Town citizens have voted in favor of over the past 15 plus years.
Firstly, the letter notes that since 2005 it has been known that there are approximately one million cubic yards of earth material located within the Brox Community Land. In actuality, this was explained to Milford voters in 2000 when the Town was asked to purchase the property for the very uses noted above, as well to sell the commercial-industrial parcels. This purchase was approved by a huge margin by 71 percent of the voters (1318-538).
Secondly, in 2007, after several years of study and analysis by professionals and citizen-based committees, Town voters authorized the Selectmen to sell up to $500,000 worth of the earth materials located in the Community Land to help fund the road and utilities to move forward on the master plan developed for these community facilities. This authorization was approved by the same huge margin of 71 percent of the voters (1444-582). Because this authorization expired in 2012, the reauthorization will be before the voters once again this March.
The letter states there is ‘no guarantee of making a penny’ from the sale of the materials. The market for materials is strictly driven by the state of the economy. The year 2007 was the beginning of the recent recession which hit the local and regional construction economy very hard and subsequent years saw construction nearly come to a standstill . The economy is improving and construction is increasing.
The likelihood that the Town will obtain needed income from the sale of earth materials is far better than in 2007. The Town Administrator has stated this to be a fiduciary responsibility of the Town to generate non-property tax income.
The letter goes off the deep end when it alleges that the proposed gravel removal plan will result in ‘a long, dragged out ordeal of raping the land and leaving behind a much larger, empty, flat gravel pit than what we have now, several times larger’. The Coordinator of the Brox Environmental Citizens has spent countless hours researching, submitting countless Right-to-Know requests to the Town, obtaining copies of reports and documents, and attending many, many meetings in which the updated Brox Community Lands master plan and the proposed gravel removal plan have been explained. It is extremely surprising that the gravel removal permitting and operation process and all the existing planning isn’t understood.
The intent of the proposed gravel removal plan is to RECLAIM, not rape and leave barren, the existing pit the Town purchased so that new facilities can be built. Only 5 acres can be operated on at a time, per state law, and must be reclaimed before moving to the next 5 acres. The Planning Board and state agencies approve all gravel removal plans and regulate traffic, noise, reclamation, and hours of operation. Without this project moving forward it is unlikely there will ever be reclamation of the grandfathered pit that exists now.
I urge Milford citizens to read the 2014 Brox Community Lands Master Plan Update which recommends careful consideration of balancing community needs with open space and conservation, including the wetland area commonly referred to as Heron Pond. This report is online at www.milford.nh.gov. This update lays the foundation for moving forward on the gravel removal engineering.
And by the way, when did the Brox Community Lands become “also known as The Heron Pond Wetland Complex” as stated in the letter? I don’t argue that Heron Pond and its wetlands are a significant part of the property. But there are also significant wetlands (which will be preserved along with Heron Pond) associated with Great Brook and Tucker Brook. In my 21+ years of working for the Town I’ve never heard this name for the Brox Property. This nomenclature is just another attempt by the BEC to distort the facts and reverse what Milford voters have spent well over 15 years supporting and hoping to implement.