Town records document land gift and its impact

To the Editor:

This letter is to clear up misconceptions in two July 20 letters about the 30-acre land gift from Melendy Country Association to the Milford Conservation Commission (CC), based on the evidence found in official town records going back to 2015.

On June 11, 2015, the association offered 35 acres to the CC that it accepted with no apparent strings attached. But a year later, strings were attached.

On June 16, 2016, the Zoning Board granted a variance that made a new house lot possible on condition of a 30-acre land gift, an agreement that had the approval of the CC when Greg Boggis, whose family is in the association, was still an active and valued CC member.

Thus, Ms. Costantino, coordinator of the CC, is off on the timeline for the land gift by almost a year. Town records show that the land gift agreement was initiated on June 16, 2016, not in March 2017.

It was nearly another year later, on March 9, 2017, that the plan for impacts to wetlands and buffers for the new house lot’s driveway came before the CC.

One CC member reminded everyone of the 30-acre land gift, making it clear to me that if the CC didn’t approve, the 30-acre gift would not happen. The CC approved the wetland impacts.

On April 6, 2017, the Zoning Board, with the support from the CC, granted approval for impacts to the wetlands and buffers. The association’s representative had told the Zoning Board that a small disturbance to wetlands was being offset by the much larger 30-acre gift.

On April 25, 2017, the Planning Board approved the subdivision with the condition of the 30-acre land gift.

Mr. Hughes, chair of the CC, thus incorrectly stated that the 30-acre gift to the CC is wholly separate from the wetland impact application before the Zoning Board. Town records, in fact, show the influence of the land gift on the CC’s decisions that helped actualize Zoning and Planning board approvals.

The gift of 30 acres by the Melendy Country Association is generous, but it required the CC to agree to negative impacts to two vernal pool habitats and the creatures depending on them for their very lives.

In the future, I would like the CC to avoid making agreements that harm vernal pool wildlife.

Suzanne Fournier