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To the Editor: Irwin Park is a Park

Town Council member Kenneth Campbell aims to clarify the status of New Canaan's newest park.

To the Editor:

There is some discussion in town regarding the status of Irwin Park. The purpose of this letter is to clarify its status—it is a park.

The only authority in town government that may designate park land is the Town Council. At its regularly scheduled meeting of Oct. 13, 2004, the Town Council did just that—by a 7-5 vote, it designated that portion of the Irwin property that was not deed restricted as park land. The deed restriction protects that portion of the property to which the restriction applies. So between the deed restriction and the Town Council designation, the Irwin property became Irwin Park.

The only authority in town government that may define zones is the Planning and Zoning Commission. That P&Z has not yet placed Irwin Park within a park zone does not void, nullify, alter or in any manner affect that designation by the Town Council.

I believe the confusion stems from Mr. Papp's statement at the League of Women Voters panel discussion on Nov. 12 that Irwin Park is not in a park zone—an accurate statement. That was interpreted by many as meaning that it does not have parkland designation—an incorrect interpretation.

A few individuals took advantage of that confusion to alarm the community into falsely believing that the property is unprotected and therefore in imminent danger of being bulldozed into a steel and concrete something or other—an obvious scare tactic disseminated by those that oppose a specific conceptual project also being discussed in town.

If there needs to any further discussion on this subject, let it be based on fact and not on misinterpretations or scare tactics.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Campbell, Town Council member

Jon S. December 09, 2009 at 05:26 AM
That's pretty audacious. Mr. Campbell should not be so quick to accuse people of employing "obvious scare tactics" when it's the very people he's accusing who are the ones who are scared. And why might they, and all New Canaanites for that matter, be scared? In truth, the Town's recent record toward parkland and open space is worth being scared about. Town Hall disgracefully tried to sell gifted property on Michigan Road, and a few Town Council members seem to be the only ones in town willing to turn Waveny Park into a strip mall of their pet projects, from office buildings to bus parking to apartment houses to parking garages to stand-alone homes. In context, I don't believe anyone is employing "scare tactics," and it concerns me that an elected official would be so quick to make such a personal attack. If Mr. Campbell wants facts, here's one. Said Parks & Rec Chairman, Scott Gress, quoted in the 12/3 New Canaan News: "The town of New Canaan purchased this land [Irwin Park] and represented to the townspeople that this is a park and its zoning should reflect that," Gress said. So let's forget Mr. Campbell's nutty accusations of "scare tactics" - I agree with Mr. Gress, and I'll bet many of us here in New Canaan do to.
Ken Campbell December 10, 2009 at 02:15 AM
Jon, Thank you for pointing out the 12/3 New Canaan News article. It was in that article that Scott Gress called the same individuals I'm referring to as engaging in "scare tactics." If you agree with Mr. Gress, as you say you do, then you agree with me. I've been on the Town Council for 6 years and involved in Town governemnt since 1992 and this is the first I've heard, Jon, from you, that there have been attempts to build houses, apartment buildings, parking lots, bus parking or parking garages in Waveny. Can you share what you are talking about? "Personal attack?" Against whom, Jon? Other than my signature, is there a name in my letter? I notice that you replied to my letter at 12:26 am so you apparently didn't focus on the point of my letter - the park is protected as park land. Lastly, I signed my name to my letter and I will sign it to this comment. I was not aware that Patch publishes material from unidentified sources, but I won't continue to engage in exchanges with those who don't. Ken Campbell Town Council
Jon S. December 10, 2009 at 03:31 AM
1) Please re-read the 12/3 New Canaan News article. Scott Gress does not refer to "scare tactics" as you erroneously claim. He says there is a "fear" of what might happen if Irwin does not gain park zoning status. Please don't put your words in his mouth. 2) I'm surprised, as a Town Council member, that you need to be reminded about what has been proposed by Town Hall for Waveny. Office building: the attempt to build a school admin office in the wooded buffer, soundly defeated by New Canaan voters in 2002. Bus parking: the attempt to rip into the woods for bus parking, circa 2006. Apartment buildings, parking garages, and stand-alone homes: all part of the current plan to take 18 acres of public parkland for a CCRC; yes, the plan clearly shows 8 stand-alone homes, each with a 2-car garage, effectively turning public park into private residences. 3) Personal attacks can be made without naming names; you refer to "a few individuals" and this town is small enough for everyone to know who you're talking about. They did write letters to the papers, after all. 4) Yes, I replied to your letter at 12:26 AM. Thanks for noticing this important detail. You apparently didn't focus on the point of my letter, which is that Town "protection" of parkland has recently been dubious. Maybe, for example, you don't recall how Town Hall decided Mill Pond wasn't a park, and happily swapped some of it away. 5) Sorry you need to know the name of every voter who calls you on your rhetoric.

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