When talk of Brox started, way back
To the Editor:
The purchase of the Brox lands by the people of Milford was accomplished by passing Warrant Article 3 in year 2000.
The Town’s promotional handout of Article 3 states that we would buy the 270 acres to have uses that place no tax burden on residents that would include – industry, community needs, AND "preservation of environmentally sensitive lands for open space and conservation."
It is that third prong that the Board of Selectmen is treating as if it does not exist, even though it has been stated in our Master Plan since 1999 that the Town should "Work with conservation groups, including the Milford Conservation Commission, to preserve and protect the significant wetlands, surface waters, and natural areas located on the property."
Unlike industrial land or community land, "conservation" has no boundary but rather, overlays all land. It applies to the 93 acres that the Selectmen are trying to sell.
The Conservation Commission (CC) has done its due diligence by commissioning a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) that the Cabinet reported about in "Brox North Value Cited" published June 4, 2015. The NRI found that the north land (zoned industrial), is ecologically sensitive and stated its best use would be conservation. On May 26th the CC Chair Audrey Fraizer recommended to the Selectmen that they allow the land to be bought for conservation. The CC did its statutorily-required job which is to inform the town of the proper utilization of natural resources. It’s up to the leaders to value the advice.
Apparently not deterred by the powerful argument made for conservation, the Selectmen proceeded with negotiations to sell 93 acres of poor quality industrial land and did so while telling the CC Chair on May 26th that there were no negotiations. Later, however, on July 27th, the BOS Chair Mark Fougere revealed that the BOS had indeed been in negotiations with a potential buyer since fall of 2014. These two representations are contradictory.
People expect better from government. We expect transparency and honesty. We want respect for our Conservation Commission and the conservation values for which it stands.
The 93 acres referred to as "industrial" on paper, are really best-suited for conservation because they are very much populated by forested wetlands, floodplains, streams, vernal pools and beaver ponds, making them very low quality industrial land, but great conservation land.
It is time that the Selectmen listen to the message of conservation as promised in Article 3 in Year 2000 and built into our Master Plan.
Brox Environmental Citizens