2011 News Flashes

SHARE News Flash - February 27, 2011

Letters to SHARE from the 3 Simsbury Selectman Candidates about Route 10

Also a Reminder - Open Seat Selectman Vote - Tuesday March 1, 2011 - Henry James Middle School

The SHARE Steering Committee has been closely following the Route 10Corridor Study and the charrette as the final plan will determine thefuture of Hopmeadow Street (Route 10)as well as many other roads andintersections around town.With the special election for the vacantBoard of Selectmen seat being held this Tuesday, March 1st we asked thethree candidates to write a response to the recommendations that werepresented to the public on the closing day of the charrette, February10th.At some point in the next six months the Board of Selectmen willbe asked to vote on an endorsement of the final Route 10 corridor planso please take the time to read all three candidates responses - one ofthem will be voting on the Route 10 plan.You can see the Power Point presentationof the closingmeeting of the Route 10 Charrette on the CRCOGwebsite athttp://www.crcog.org/transportation/current_stud/Route10.html

The responses from the candidatesare reprinted belowexactly as they were submitted to SHAREandpresented in alphabetical order; Jeff Blumenthal, Nancy Haase and JohnRomano.Our thanks to all three candidates for taking the time towrite thoughtful responses.Please remember to vote on Tuesday,March 1st at Henry James Middle School.

Question to candidates from SHARE:Please write a brief position paper (1 page maximum) on your responseto the Rte 10 Corridor plan presented by CRCOG and the team ofconsultants at the closing charrette presentation on Feb. 10th.Theclosing charrette presentation power point is on the CRCOG website at:

http://www.crcog.org/transportation/current_stud/Route10.html

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Jeff Blumenthal, Democrat Candidate for Board of Selectmen

I would be honored to be elected as a Simsbury Selectman at the March 1special election and would work hard for the people of Simsbury topreserve the unique character and charm of our Town.

I applaud the Rte 10 Corridor plan presented by CRCOG for itscommitment to preserving the fundamental principle that the state andtown maintain Route 10 as a two-lane road from the Simsbury-Avon toSimsbury-Granby town line.Further, as I did at SHARE's inception, Iview the Route 44 corridor as the only area infrastructure suitable forhigh density "big box" retail development, particularly in light of thedramatic difference in traffic volumes on Route 44, a 4-lane stateroadway, as compared to Simsbury's scenic 2-lane arteries.Thecharette findings support this conclusion.

As an original Steering Committee member for SHARE, I also continue tosupport a transparent process through which Simsbury residents andofficials discuss town-wide needs.Indeed, the findings of my trafficimpact research for SHARE in 2005 (which considered the Route 10Corridor study and the CRCOG Regional Transportation plan) cried out infavor of maintaining Route 10 as a two-lane road.The open dialogue atthe charrette evidenced that, with near unanimity; Simsbury residentsremain steadfast on this point, and I endorse the recommendation tonarrow (not expand) Route 10 to slow traffic, incorporate a bike lane,promote walk-ability, and highlight Simsbury's natural and historicfeatures.I also support efforts to relieve Tariffville traffic.

I believe I am the best candidate to be elected because, as a long timeresident and community advocate, I understand the need for townofficials and residents to work together in an open process to make thebest decisions possible for the Town.In fact, this is echoed in theSHARE mission statement that I helped draft:

"To ensure that land use activity and decisions affecting the Town ofSimsbury respect the unique character, beauty and quality of life foundin Simsbury including appropriate attention to traffic and safety aswell as potential impact on residential neighborhoods."

As an attorney with land use, litigation, and community relationsexpertise, much of my volunteer work involves collaborating with othersto understand and help our Town navigate the myriad issues presented bydevelopment of our precious land in accordance with the Town's Plan ofConservation and Development.Indeed, much of what we enjoy most aboutSimsbury didn't just happen.It happened by design, following athoughtful, forward-thinking process to invite in land uses that addoptimal value to our community while protecting Simsbury fromdevelopment that threatens our quality of life, natural resources andhistoric character.

I applaud SHARE and its many volunteers who were so instrumental insupporting the charrette concept for the Town Center and for theirinvolvement in the Route 10 corridor charrette.I am proud thatSimsbury was the first town in Connecticut to conduct a charrette aspart of a DOT corridor study and, as one of more than 200 participants,commented publicly following the table sessions that we must avoid the"if they come, we will build it" mentality.Rather, and in recognitionof the converse -- "if we build it, they will come" -- Simsbury'sinfrastructure must coincide with the development that we as acommunity want.

While on Simsbury's Economic Development Commission, I advocated forsuch development (corporate headquarters similar to The Hartford at thesouthern gateway) and, as EDC Chair, collaborated with board members,fellow residents, town officials, and businesses town wide to achieveconsensus on appropriate commercial land use such as high-tech, medicaloffice and health care facilities, corporate headquarters, small startup businesses, and local retail businesses that give so much back toour community.The charrette findings support this conclusion, but thecharette is just a first step.

If I am elected to the Board of Selectmen, I promise to remainvigilant, working closely with town officials and businesses, residentstown wide, CRCOG, the DOT, and other state officials in an opendialogue to ensure that Simsbury remains one of the best communities inwhich to live.I ask for your vote on Tuesday, March 1.

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Nancy Haase, Republican Candidate for Board of Selectmen

"Route 10 must remain a 2-lane road..."

This was the resounding statement heard throughout the Route 10Charrette process. I was pleased, as were many Simsbury residents, thatCapital Region Council of Government (CRCOG) and the consultants heardthat message loud and clear, incorporating this into their final reportto the Town.

As many of you know, the Route 10 Charrette was built on the success ofthe previous Town Center Charrette. As a member of the EconomicDevelopment Commission, I voted to support the Town Center Charrettebecause, among other things, it realized the importance of long-rangeplanning in an open and transparent manner. As a board member of theSimsbury Main Street Partnership, I worked to secure funding for theTown Center Charrette and advocated for a similar process in addressingthe future of the Route 10 corridor.

I am pleased that the final report contains many of the positive ideasof our residents and those contained in the 2007 Plan of Conservationand Development (POCD).It is encouraging that this was one of themany documents that the consultants studied in preparation for theRoute 10 Charrette.The February 10th report's vision for areas likeWeatogue Center and the Southern Gateway touch upon many of theelements in the POCD, whether it be in the form of pedestrianaccessibility, consideration of scale of development, maintenance ofvistas, and even the use of a roundabout.

On the Northern end of town, it is clear that other elements of thePOCD were taken into account.These include a new access road fromRoute 10 to Hoskins, contemplation of build-to lines, as well as therelocation of 315 in Tariffville; a hope of many residents in that areawho have long felt the daily safety of children walking to school needsto be addressed.

I know that leading up to the Charrette, many residents expressedconcern that the results would be one-sided, with an emphasis onwidening Route 10 and other plans for expansion. Fortunately this wasnot the case.Instead, it includes suggestions to narrow the lanes,introduce raised planted medians and other traffic calming andcharacter enhancing ideas.

In order to have the means to support our cultural, historical andeducational assets, we must recognize the need for growth to supportour existing local businesses to strengthen our business community. Iam encouraged that this report shows that careful planning can createeconomic development opportunities within our Town Center, in existingVillage Centers like Weatogue, as well as the Northern gateway. ThisCharrette demonstrates that we can do this in keeping with thecharacter of our community.

As a state highway, the future of Route 10 is ultimately in the handsof the Department of Transportation (DOT). It must consider not justhow Simsbury will address safety and access management but how ourneighbors to the north and south use of this road now and in thefuture.The plan presented on February 10th continues to be a work inprogress. Leading up to the Charrette, I urged you, the residents, toparticipate in the process through an email newsletter.I willcontinue to encourage you to stay involved in this ongoing planningprocess. I invite you to the next Steering Committee meeting being heldMarch 3rd at 7pm, at Town Hall, as we work together to refine the finalCharrette report to provide the DOT with our priorities for futurechanges to Route 10.

As a member of the Board of Selectman, I look to and open dialogue andto endorsing a plan put forward by the people of Simsbury as part ofthe Charrette process.If you have any questions, please visit mywebsite, NancyHaaseforSelectman.com, or call me at home at 860-651-1810.

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John Romano, Simsbury Citizens First Candidate for Board of Selectmen

I'd like to thank SHARE for asking me to comment on the Route 10Corridor Study.As a ten year former Selectman I have always beensupportive and responsive to the concerns of all resident groups suchas SHARE, Tariffville Village Association, andSouthwest HomeownersAssociation.Open dialogue with residents is imperative to good towngovernment so I appreciate the opportunity to continue the dialoguewith members of SHARE.

My primary concern with the closing presentation of the Route 10Corridor Study is that it does not solve the most pressing problem weface as a town; it will not prevent Route 10 from becoming a four-lanehighway.According to the lead Traffic Engineer for the Route 10Corridor Study, if Simsbury lays its existing zoning, including the PADmixed-use zone, from one end of Route 10 to the other - North to South- we would end up with a four-lane road even with the proposedimprovements recommended in the study.As a town we need to grab thebull by the horns and determine how we want to develop responsibly andencourage the correct type of development (businesses such as Biotech).

As we consider the recommendations in the Rte. 10 study, we must firstand foremost, be guided by the Plan of Conservation and Development(POCD).The POCD tells us how to preserve our open space to protectthe Farmington River, to maintain our scenic vistas and to provide uswith buffers to control development.The town should considerpurchasing some developable land to preserve as open space so that wewill be able to keep Route 10 as a two-lane road. This can be achievedthrough the many grants available to the town.Glastonbury is nowoutpacing us with open space purchases, many of which are funded bygrants.At one time Simsbury was first in the in the State inacquiring open space.

The inclusion of possible eminent domain seizures of private propertiesin the closing presentation was astonishing to me.We should neverenable or encourage eminent domain in any way, shape or form and Ipledge that as a member of the Board of Selectmen, I will fight anypart of the plan that would impact peoples' property rights.I wasespecially surprised that many of the property owners were not informedprior to the closing presentation, that their properties could beseized as part of the plan.

I was also very concerned with the potential extensive environmentalimpacts with the recommendation of a second bridge over the FarmingtonRiver, all the networks of new access roads that would encroach on theFarmington River, floodplain and wetlands.Simsbury needs to take thenegative environmental impact of these recommendations more seriously.

The recommendations to narrow Route 10 in certain areas and to improveinterconnectivity with the abutting neighborhoods, especially in towncenter and Weatogue, is a positive step to making Simsbury morepedestrian and bike friendly. The recommendation of calming trafficthrough Tariffville to improve safety for school children and reinforcethe village character is long overdue.

Simsbury must adopt appropriate zoning to control development to keepRoute 10 a two-lane road.I have suggested creating a recruitmentprogram specifying what types of businesses we want to recruit.Thekey word is recruitment.The town has not yet initiated a realrecruitment program as many of the surrounding towns have done.Othertowns also decide how much development they will allow by good land useplanning.With good land use planning and a good business recruitmentprogram, Simsbury would be pro-active and clearly state our vision ofwhat we want and then recruit the right development.As a Selectman Iwould advocate for a land use charrette for both the Northern andSouthern Gateways, preferably paid for by State and Federal grants, inorder to accomplish this vision and recruitment.

I have advocated for an Economic Development Coordinator to be paid ona commission basis to recruit business.This could be a regionalinitiative. He/She would be given a business plan of what we want andthen implement it.This would discourage inappropriate developmentproposals such as River Oaks by Konover Development that had largeformat big box retail and an overwhelming amount of density that wouldhave definitely made Route 10 a 4-lane highway, even with the improvements from the Route 10 Corridor Study.Additionally, theKonover Development did not embrace open space.

Thank you and I ask for your vote on March 1st.

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Concluding Message from SHARE:Thank you fortaking thetime to read these messages from thethree Simsbury Selectman candidates. The election to select one of them to serve on the Simsbury Board of Selectman isTuesday, March 1, 2011 at Henry James MiddleSchool.

Respectfully,

Your Devoted SHARE Steering Committee

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SHARE News Flash - February 3, 2011

URGENT - Route 10 Corridor Study Charrette

Your Participation Is Essential

Simsbury Route 10 Corridor Study Charrette - February 7-10, 2011Simsbury Public Library

For more information go to http://www.crcog.org/transportation/current_stud/Route10.html

What: Opening Public Workshop - Simsbury Route 10 Corridor StudyCharrette

When: Monday February 7, 2011 at 7:00-9:30 PM

Final Public Presentation: Thursday February 10, 2011 at 7:00-9:00 PM

Where: Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury

First of all, it's been about six months since we, your SHARE Steering Committee, have emailed you.We haven't gone away but rather we have been very active watching, listening and speaking to town officials to encourage responsible expansion for our town.

We have also increased SHARE's membership by over 200 households bringing our total SHARE membership to nearly 4000 Simsbury residents.

During the latter part of 2010, we have become increasingly concerned with the tone and attitude of Simsbury's land use and economic development boards and commissions.We believe that some very unfortunate decisions have been made which could pave the way for extremely unfavorable development for Simsbury which could forever adversely affect the character of our Town.We will be sending you an email in the next few weeks that will provide you with a summary of these events and our interpretation of their meaning for Simsbury.

But in the meantime, we urgently need your help.

Please attend the above detailed Route 10 Corridor Study Charrette.

A few years ago town residents were surveyed by a professional pollster and 74% of town residents wanted to keep Route 10 as a 2-Lane road.This Charrette is your chance to officially voice your opinion to the State of Connecticut and to the Town of Simsbury that you want Route 10 to stay 2-Lanes.

We believe that there are development forces in our town that are trying to have Route 10 widened to 4-Lanes and create many turning lanes and other traffic alterations.Just imagine what Simsbury would be like with a road like Route 44 running through Simsbury!Just think of all that would be forever altered and destroyed if that happened. Think of all those magnificent Sycamore trees that are next to the road that would need to be cut down.Think of all the eminent domain seizures of private propertythat isclose to the edge of Route 10. Take a mental driveup Route 10 from Avon to Granby and think about what our town would be like if Route 10 were 4-Lanes.We believe the widening and embellishmentof Route 10 would forever change Simsbury and destroy the character of our Town.

We know that a number of developers, business owners and commercial land owners will be showing up in force for the Route 10 Charrette.So we need residents to show up in force too.If we don't show up to speak our mind, then we risk not being heard and we risk not being able to influence the future of Route 10 in Simsbury.

Please attend the Opening Public Workshop for the Charrette and as many followup meetings as you can.

Now is the time for us to unite once again and ensure that our voices are heard.

Please voice your opinions to keep Route 10 a functional andlivable 2-Lane road through Simsbury.

We'll see you at the Route 10 Charrette.

Respectfully,

Your Devoted SHARE Steering Committee


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