In addition to electing politicians on November 6, citizens of Connecticut are being asked to vote on an amendment to the State Constitution. As it stands now, the General Assembly can direct the disposal of any state property, in whole or in part, without public involvement. This includes land acquired for open space or recreation.
This is not theoretical. In 2012, the legislature approved a deal to swap 17 acres of open space in Haddam, in exchange for other land in town owned by the developer. This, despite a non-binding directive in the deed to maintain the land in its natural condition. The bill was acted on with no public involvement. Fortunately, the deal died.
Ballot Question No. 2 would change the constitution of the state to require a public hearing prior to disposing of state-owned or state-controlled real estate. And if the land is under the custody of the Department of Agriculture or Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the legislation to dispose of the land must pass with a 2/3 majority vote of the General Assembly.
This proposal affects Greenwich directly. The 400 acres of the Mianus River State Park, which serves to protect our drinking water supply and provides beautiful, publically accessible open space, needs this protection. Without it, all or parts of the Park could be sold, swapped, or given away without any public input.
Additionally, land is owned by the state along the Merritt Parkway and I-95 that is critical in providing a buffer between the highways and the residences. These people deserve the opportunity to speak out on the sale of this land.
If this makes sense to you, please VOTE YES on Question No. 2.