Suspicions over how it might be used to thwart the development of municipal ball fields stalled action this week on a proposal to establish a Naugatuck Conservation Commission.
Mayor Robert A. Mezzo told the burgesses that if they vote to establish a commission, its role would be mostly advisory, unless they wanted to give it additional authority to oversee management of municipal open space.
But some members of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, which considered the proposal at a meeting Tuesday, were worried that the Conservation Commission would be used by conservationists or neighborhood advocates to prevent other borough officials from building new recreation facilities.
Burgess Ronald San Angelo said in the past, every time the town wanted to build a sports complex it was opposed by someone. Indeed, a proposal to build such a facility at Oxford High School has received mixed reviews.
Another reason some burgesses opposed creating the commission was that it would create another bureaucracy, although Mezzo assured them it would not have any paid staff and would only be as effective as the members they would appoint.
Among its roles, Mezzo said, would be to inventory open space, research issues for the burgesses and other town officials, formulate watershed management policies and make recommendations on proposed land purchases.
Burgess Michael Bronko said the commission would be redundant, because its responsibilities are already duties of other land-use boards and commissions, such as the Inland Wetlands Commission.
Mezzo said the Inland Wetlands Commission’s job is to issue regulatory permits, not perform the duties that the Conservation Commission would have.
The wetlands and other land-use boards were asked to comment on the proposal, and Mezzo said some Inland Wetlands Commission members gave it a positive recommendation. He promised to present those recommendations to the burgesses at their next meeting.
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Do you think Naugatuck needs a Conservation Commission -- why or why not?