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Developers see Haddam land swap as good for the region

May 15, 2011 Letters to Editor No Comments
An artist's conceptual drawing of the development proposed for 17-acres of land currently preserved by the state in Haddam, CT  Source: www.haddamlandswap.com

An artist's conceptual drawing of the development proposed for 17-acres of land currently preserved by the state in Haddam, CT Source: www.haddamlandswap.com

Dear Editor:

The proposed Haddam land exchange [See “Legislation would allow developers to use state-protected land” posted May 12, 2011 ] will benefit our local communities and the state as a whole, both environmentally and economically.

Our plan is to create a resort destination in the Tylerville [section of Haddam] near existing development while preserving woodlands for the Cockaponset State Forest in Higganum.

Recognition of the positive attributes of the plan is reflected in the broad support our proposal enjoys within Haddam from people intimately involved with the town’s economic development, land conservation, wetlands protection and zoning regulation.

They all believe the proposal is a win-win for everybody – environmentalists, the tourism industry, as well as municipal and state governments.

Our proposed development is consistent with the Town of Haddam’s Plan of Conservation and Development that was approved in 2008. The Plan calls for development and commercialization to happen in Haddam’s two village centers  Tylerville and Higganum – and that natural resources should remain conserved in the rest of town.

The planners reasoned that Haddam should promote targeted economic opportunities while also being smarter about residential development that has sprawled in recent years. Therefore, Riverhouse Properties is proposing to give the state 87 acres of Higganum forest land adjacent to Cockaponset State Forest and Haddam Land Trust property.

This land was previously approved as Phase Two of the Walkley Heights subdivision. If not preserved, the 33 residential properties would likely be increased in a new application because of the town’s recent cluster regulation.

However, if preserved, it would create a Greenway connecting the Haddam Land Trust Cedar Hill Preserve on Route 154 in Higganum through the Cockaponset State Forest and south to the town of Killingworth. Haddam citizens, wildlife, hikers, hunters, trail bikers and countless tourists would all benefit.

In exchange for the forestland, 17 acres of state-owned property in Tylerville overlooking the Connecticut River would be provided. This parcel surrounds our Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station banquet and conference center on three sides and is itself nearly surrounded by fully developed commercial and industrial properties.

We believe the most logical development for this parcel would be tourism-related, creating a synergy with nearby existing attractions such as The Goodspeed Opera House, Essex Steam Train, Cruise Boats, Gillette Castle and of course the Connecticut River.

The site is ideal for a boutique hotel, retail shops, a train station and a transfer point for the Valley Railroad. Our vision is a Mystic-type experience linking “The Haddams” so that visitors can enjoy what both sides of the river will have to offer.

The one thing all interested parties can be sure of is that because our popular Riverhouse is directly overlooking and surrounded by the 17 acres, we would never do anything to jeopardize this existing business. Any development on the 17 acres will be thoroughly reviewed by all state and local boards and commissions and it will be of the same high quality as the Riverhouse which has been so well-received by people of the area.

We look forward to working closely with the community toward the common goal of enhancing the natural resources of our town while also providing an economic boost to the region.

Signed,

Jim Bucko

Trevor Furrer

Mark Poole

Steve Rocco

Posted May 15, 2011

Related links:

Web site for supporters of the land swap http://www.haddamlandswap.com/

Web site for opponents of the land swap http://www.landswap.org/Mission.html

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