The Board of Mayor and Burgesses rejected a proposal to create a in town by a vote of 7-3 last week. Mayor Bob Mezzo and burgesses Mike Ciacciarella and Bob Neth voted for it, while all others voted against the proposal.
The idea was brought forth by resident Melissa Leonard, president of the local land trust. She pointed to many local municipalities, including several in the Naugatuck Valley, that have conservation commissions. She said many communities that have conservation commissions also have ample development and that conserving land and natural resources is not contrary to smart development. Part of her concern in Naugatuck, she said, is that local land use boards regulate development but cannot focus enough of their attention on conservation.
According to Mezzo, a conservation commission is "separate from local land use boards (planning, zoning, planning and zoning and inland wetlands). Many serve in an advisory capacity to promote the protection of open space, natural resources and watercourses."
He believes such a commission would benefit Naugatuck, and he posted many reasons why on his blog. He writes:
"Unless the matter is reconsidered, Naugatuck will remain without this valuable resource in the community. I understand and respect the reservations expressed by some of my colleagues on the (Board of Mayor and Burgesses) regarding creating another commission, increasing staff responsibilities and/or providing a burdensome obstacle to responsible development. I believe, however, that conserving our natural resources and encouraging the reasonable preservation of open space is a very positive and proactive activity that should be endorsed by the Borough’s legislative body."