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Development Of Unprotected Land Could Permanently Change Character Of The Borough



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To the Editor:

I would like to comment on the proposed Castle Hill housing development. I bought a house in 2019 that directly abuts the development site. When I was considering the property, the adjoining open space and mature trees adjoining the property were important factors. My real estate agent described the area as conservation land, which could not be developed.

Unfortunately, I did not do my own real estate records search or I could have discovered that despite his stated intention, Mr Draper, the prior owner, had not legally provided for the permanent protection of the property from development. Apparently, after he passed away, his heir(s) or legatee(s) apparently no longer supported the property’s preservation as wooded and open wetlands, since it was now proposed for development.

I attended the public meetings held by the Inland Wetlands Commission, where significant flaws in the application were discussed. The Inland Wetlands Commission finally approved it 4-3, with strong opposition. The developers have benefitted from a pronouncement from the prior Board of Selectmen to abandon Reservoir Road to the development — an action that had no public notice or input, and does not seem to follow the common rules for disposition of public lands.

The same question applies to the deal to use the other acreage as “equivalent” for the zoning rules —made outside the public participation process, as I understand it. The current plan to put 117 large homes, with all egress and ingress to Mount Pleasant (via Johnny Cake Lane) will swamp an already busy road. Despite all reports that the housing that Newtown actually needs is for first-time homeowners and step-down housing for seniors, this development will serve neither group — the houses are supposedly priced at $900,000-$1 million, with clubhouse, swimming pool and pickle ball courts. More impervious surface for our increased rainfall to run off of. Run-off will be worsened of course by the loss of so many large mature trees and the loss of the wetlands.

In the four and a half years I have lived here, I have seen bears, deer, wild turkeys, bobcats, raccoons, possums, foxes, and skunks in my yard as well as eagles and hawks and many varieties of song birds in the trees. I don’t think any of them will be welcome at the pickle ball courts.

It is a shame that in 2013 Mr Draper did not act on his stated intent to protect this land legally. His failure should not become license to create an upscale mini-city that will permanently change the character of the Borough.

Patricia Hirsch


A letter from Patricia Hirsch.
Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. tomj says:

    We all would like nothing to change, but look at how much this proposed property will add to the grand list. The eastern lot is currently assessed at $352,000 which brings in just under $10k in property value. I appreciate you taking note that the new houses will be $1,000,0000 EACH! This means the property, including club house, pickleball courts, skeet range, putting greens could be assessed at 117 million which would collectively bring in over $3,000,000 in tax revenue. This could also mean over 200 new luxury cars which brings in over $300k in additional revenue. Let’s be honest though, they will register out of state. Either way, let’s be honest here, if we had 3 MILLON more tax revenue the school wouldn’t have to worry about canceling Spanish classes for kindergarteners.

    Lets get it passed!

  2. jmk1955 says:

    This is a pure case of those with the money get what they want. We are allowed to look on but not be part of what should be a town decision.Just saying?

  3. tomj says:

    Why should it be a town decision? The town does not own the land. This town is not one big HOA.

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