Suffield residents will be asked to vote on four issues at a Town Meeting tonight regarding roads and development rights.
On the agenda are:
- Bonding for the Boston Neck Road at a cost of $750,000.
- Bonding for roads and drainage at a cost of $3.7million.
- Acceptance of a State Grant for sewer and water lines to be installed down South Street in the amount of $980,000.
- Spending about $201,000 to purchase development rights for a portion of the Bielonkos’ Farm on East Street.
The road and bridge bonds, if approved, would not necessitate a new millage or tax increase, according to First Selectman Ed McAnaney, who said the debt service will be paid out of an anticipated combined debt service/capital projects portion of the budget (about 11 percent of the total roughly $51 million town budget.)
The Boston Neck Bridge was closed in April due to severe deterioration. The town chose to repair the one-lane bridge instead of replace it under a state plan that would widen the road and take up to eight years.
Repairing and replacing the bridge’s deck, which is the affected piece of the structure, and reopening the bridge could take as little as year, with considerable fast tracking of the process.
Also at the meeting, the town proposes to purchase the development rights of nearly 60 acres owned by Bielonko Farms. The town can then control the development of the property, although it would not necessarily own the land. The landowner would continue to pay property taxes.
Selectman Brian Fitzgerald said the purchase would help fulfill the farmland preservation and open space needs of Suffield and is especially excited about it's location "on the east side of town. Most of (the preserved farms) are on the west side and we need more on the east side."
The Town of Suffield would pay $201,000 or 25 percent of the cost with the State of Connecticut picking up the remaining 75 percent. With $361,000 left in the town's farmland preservation fund, the remaining balance would be $160,000 for future purchases.
Bielonko Farm is fifth on the list of 20 farms targeted by the town for development right purchases. It is 900 feet away from the already preserved Zielinski Farm, according to Bill Hawkins.
According to town data, approximately 1,300 acres of prime farmland has been permanently saved from development in the Town. The Town of Suffield, through the Heritage Committee, has deemed preserving Suffield's farmland as its number one priority in achieving the Town goals to permanently preserve 55% of its residentially zoned land.
For more information visit the Town website suffieldtownhall.com or click on this link http://www.suffieldtownhall.com/filestorage/71/callof_the_townmeetingnov12012.pdf