Vote No on Highland Farm

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Vote No on Highland Farm

This petition made change with 246 supporters!
The Future of Highland Farm started this petition to Darien Taxpayers

RTM Members, Please Vote No on Highland Farm!

On June 10th, the RTM will be asked to vote on additional funding of $609,000 for Highland Farms. The procedures and rules that are applicable to a significant capital project such as Highland Farm have not yet been applied, and proceeding further without remedy would be a mistake.  As the legislative body that is part of a system of checks and balances, the RTM has the authority to ensure that Darien taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately, in accordance with what their constituents want, and can therefore vote to not fund this plan until more due diligence can be done.  

Highland Farm is the former open field at Ox Ridge Hunt Club on Middlesex Road.  The Board of Selectmen’s plan is for 92 parking spaces, up to four soccer fields, a storage shed, Porto potties, Portable structures, Year-round Parks and Recreation programming, and 8 community events.  Future budgets may contemplate an up to 1,000 sq. ft. comfort station.

Reasons to Vote No

No Building/Advisory Committee: Town capital projects over $1 million have building advisory/planning committees that are comprised of representative groups of stakeholders, yet Highland Farm does not. Pear Tree Point Beach, Shore Lane (Weed Beach), and Ox Ridge School all have advisory committees. At a cost approaching $7 million, Highland Farm should be no exception.

No Community Buy-In: No public hearings or community outreach efforts were held. To achieve community buy-in, several groups such as the Garden Club (Pollinator Pathway), senior groups, advocates for the special needs community, sports and recreation groups, and others would undoubtedly foster innovative ideas to determine best use for all Darien residents.

Contradicting the Town Study:  The current plan contradicts the town’s own Master Parks Plan study, which shows more programming and athletic field use is a “High Need Already Met. $609,000 is a lot of money for 92 paved parking spaces for a use that the study showed that taxpayers don't need.

No Cost Controls: The RTM should be concerned with runaway costs funded in piecemeal on a year by year basis, since future costs such as the "comfort station" and sidewalks have not been considered. Highland Farm would be the only town property with a high level of youth sports and recreation programming with no sidewalks.

At Risk for Future Development: The purchase of the property was to protect it from future development, as per the Plan of Conservation and Development.  The property is not designated parkland and leaving it under control of the Board of Selectmen makes it vulnerable to future development, which violates the original intent and spirit of the purchase.

It is a matter of principle and good governance to halt this plan and initiate a proper public process.  The RTM should take a step back and vote No so that the town can go back to the drawing board, appoint a building committee, and engage key stakeholders to create a plan that represents the best use for all Darien residents.

By signing this petition, we can show our town leaders that good governance and a transparent public process matters.  Please sign and share with fellow Darien residents.  This petition will be presented to the RTM by Friday, June 7th.

 

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This petition made change with 246 supporters!

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