April 16, 2007
It is important that residents of Trumbull, especially those in Nichols, are accurately informed regarding the town’s ongoing negotiations to acquire the St. John’s Woods property behind Cemetery Drive and abutting Nothnagle Park.
Immediately upon learning that St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Church had offered to sell 27+ acres of its land to a developer, and that the developer intended to build 32 units of housing there, Trumbull’s Land Acquisition chairman communicated the town’s interest in acquiring the property to all involved parties. Trumbull, like other municipalities interested in controlling development, preserving open space and containing school populations, actively tracks large open parcels, and frequently purchases them. Initially, the church and the developers rebuffed the town’s inquiry, and opted to pursue their applications for the permits necessary for construction. Following contested proceedings before various town boards and commissions, and as a direct result of intense negotiations initiated by town officials, a tentative agreement was reached. The terms were as follows:
~ $4,800,000.00 would be paid by the town for the 27+ acres in question (approximately $178,000.00/acre);
~ The developer would build for the town another baseball field, due east of the existing tennis courts, and near the existing baseball field. Nothnagle park would thus be nicely expanded, and another much-needed ball field would serve the town’s children;
~ The purchased land would remain open space perpetually, for town residents to enjoy. Disruption to wildlife presently there would be minimized; and
~ The town would be granted a right of first refusal to buy the existing church if it should ever be offered for sale.
As this agreement neared fruition, a small group of residents hired a lawyer and raised objections. Essentially, they insist that Cemetery Drive remain a dead end, and that all Trumbull residents wishing to access the new ball field and park area take a circuitous route from Shelton Road to Wheeler Drive to Woodcrest Avenue to St. John’s drive to enter it from the rear. (See copy of attached E-mail*) Although they claim that “safety issues” necessitate that Cemetery Drive remain a dead end, the truth is that Cemetery Drive as a through street is no more or less safe than any other through street in town. Although this group calls itself “Save Nichols,” they are, in fact, attempting to save their own small area from a relatively minor and only seasonal increase in traffic, at the expense of every other town resident, not to mention the residents of Shelton Road, Wheeler Drive, Woodcrest Avenue and St. John’s Drive.
*From their Attorney Joel Green
If a housing development is built on this site our zoning regulations will require that Cemetery Road and St. Johns Way be connected, thus making it a through Street. (Zoning regulations prohibit a Cul De Sac from being more than 750feet).
We invite any interested town resident to go to the end of Cemetery Drive and look at the property in question. We are available to meet you there. Then, drive the abovementioned route to the proposed new ball field, and let me know your opinion as to which alternative offers the greatest good to the greatest number of Trumbull residents.
As an aside the town of Trumbull has recently negotiated the purchase of 7.5 acres from Trinity Church on Huntington Turnpike and 23+ acres from Mary Bill, 1434 Huntington Turnpike.
Both of these properties will be utilized as open space and passive park use and will be added to our already substantial inventory of property.
Raymond G. Baldwin, Jr.First Selectman
Daniel Kryzanski, Chairman Land Acquisition Committ