Posted on 07 June 2014.
We have received a large number of Letters to the Editor regarding the Satan’s Kingdom rezoning application currently being considered by the New Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission: see our coverage of this rezoning application by Allan Borghesi, principal of Satan’s Kingdom LLC, in our June 6 issue, our May 30 issue, our May 28 post, our May 23 issue, our May 9 issue and May 2 issue.
We published excerpts from 29 of those letters in our June 6 issue of the (NH+) Independent. Below are the full texts of those letters, arranged in the same order as their excerpts appeared on pages 4 and 5 of the June 6 issue. The first letter below, however, are the 30th and 31st letters received which were not included in the June 6 issue due to lack of space.
An Open Letter To Allan Borghesi, Principal, Satan’s Kingdom LLC
Dear Mr. Borghesi,
We are asking you to reconsider your industrial park project in Satan’s Kingdom and sell the property to a developer who will build the low impact homes the current zoning was meant for. The land is zoned residential because there is no sewer or water line there. No one these days designs industrial parks without sewer lines because of the liability of septic systems.
Hazardous materials will predictably be poured down the drain and into the septic. Septic systems are not designed for hazardous waste disposal which would render them useless by killing the bacteria in them. Because of the wetlands and slope of the property all this waste would go directly into the river.
There is land right up the street currently for sale. There is commercial land for sale. Why hasn’t the zoning commission changed the status of that property to industrial? Why not give that a try?
There are a few inconsistencies, Mr. Borghesi, that are worrisome.
1. In January, you stated that you intend to put in a bus depot with 80 buses and 90 cars.
In April, you stated that there would be modest traffic at the site. Did you mean modest traffic going to the New Hartford side, but 170 vehicles going to the Canton side? What will you say when you bring this to the Canton planning and zoning committee?
2. On your application in January you stated that “it is impossible to build residences on this property’, yet somehow you are able to put in industrial buildings?
3. At the May public hearing, with your application still stating it is impossible to build homes on the property, you showed a 31 home high density residential development. You said you could build this if we liked or a ‘nice little industrial development’. Town Hall does not have that map. Why wasn’t it submitted as public record? Was it because you didn’t want anyone to notice that 31 homes would not fit in there with the current zoining and the mdc right of way that the map ignored?
Despite your comments that this land was for sale as residential and no one was interested, no one has ever seen a for sale sign there. You spent $482K on this land you bought from Roger Toffolon.
How did you have the confidence to know that this land, zoned residential, would have the zone changed and not become useless to you, a commercial developer? Who spends money on residential property when they are a commercial builder? First Selectman Jerram told my neighbor that this was going to go through. When was it decided?
Please do the right thing and build in the more appropriate area just up the street.
We thank you,
Concerned New Hartford and Canton Residents
[ Below is the 30th letter which was inadvertently deleted during the production process of the print issue. We were able to recover the letter and are including it below. ]
An Open Letter to The New Hartford First Selectman And Members Of The Planning & Zoning Commission
Dear First selectman, Chairmen, Board Members, and Alternates of New Hartford, and The New Hartford Planning and Zoning Board,
It has come to my attention that Satan’s Kingdom area of New Hartford, is undergoing a zone change for an Industrial Park. This zone change can and will have a large negative impact on the environment and the towns around the area. Construction and possible chemical use in this area can further damage the natural environment in the Farmington river valley. The Farmington River Watershed is in danger of being polluted once again by manufacturing pollutants. Furthermore, the ever encroaching human activity is endangering many wildlife species. Areas down river from the Satan’s Kingdom area are also sites for federal & state endangered, threatened, and special concern species. All Species and wildlife are extremely important to Connecticut’s biodiversity. To put it simply, the area in which you wish to create an Industrial park is in need of conservation consciousness. Without your help to rehabilitate our biodiversity in the area, we are all at fault for destroying the extremely important natural state of our home.
Mr. Borghesi is well known in the state of Connecticut as a developer of industrial properties. This has been good for the state and local communities because it helps create jobs and improve the tax base. When he looks at his Satan’s Kingdom LLC property he sees this land for industrial use. This is because he is good at what he does, and what he does is move dirt and change the land to fit his vision.
People that live in the area and have walked this land know how special this particular piece of property is. It is absolutely an oasis along the most beautiful part of the Farmington River. It needs to be developed responsibly. Changing the property to industrial is not responsible development.
Industrial parks last for decades, not centuries. At some point the income from the industrial park and for the town will decline. The infrastructure of the development (roads, parking lots, septic systems and fuel oil tanks), will not be maintained and will deteriorate. We know this just by looking at other older developed industrial property in the area and in the state. That is when the pollution of the land and of the Farmington River will begin. So in response to the New Hartford first selectman who states that the environmental concerns are over blown, and to the zoning commission, if you change the zoning for this property you are short sighted. Do not leave an industrial park on this special piece of property as your legacy. There is vacant land nearby on route 44 already zoned industrial which would be better suited for this type of development. Why is this not being developed?
What endures for centuries is quality homes and the families who live in them and pay taxes. What will last until the end of time is the land. We as a community must make sure that this special piece of property is developed responsibly. There is no turning back.
An Open Letter To The New Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission
Dear members of the New Hartford Planning and Zoning Board,
My name is Jake and i am 18 years old. I am a student and an active member of the community. I am writing in my opposition to the zoning change in the Satan’s Kingdom area. My reasoning for this is my concern for the environment. The river is a vital resource to the community. My friends and I are on the river 5-6 days a week during the summer. We frequently swim along the bottom with dive masks looking for lost treasures. During these dives, in any direction you look, you can see a huge amount of fish! The river is thriving with life and is an amazing place to relax in during the summer. The problem with building, or even operating an industrial park that close to the river is that it will release pollutants into the river. These pollutants have the potential to ruin the eco system for decades to come. The river will carry pollutants down into neighboring towns effecting everyone. New Hartford has plenty of unused industrial park buildings, so why build more with the gamble of maybe filling them when it could destroy an entire eco system? Personally, I would like to see a park be set up on this property. That would benefit the community and give people yet another way to connect with nature in this beautiful town. Additionally he said that he would level the property which would destroy wetlands as well as natural ridge lines.
In conclusion I ask that you vote no to this zone change, and do your duty to vote in the interest of the people and the eco system of this nationally recognized stretch of river. Thank you!
I don’t live in New Hartford, so I don’t know if my opinion will carry any weight or not, but I figured I would put in my .02 anyway.
I am finding it increasingly hard to believe the decisions to trade open space and protected land for industrial, commercial and retail.
As a resident of Avon, I have witnessed so many changes in the landscape of Avon, Simsbury, Canton over the past 25 years it sometimes makes my head spin. When I see Rt 44 and I really can’t distinguish it from Rt 6 in Bristol, it saddens me. I am an avid cyclist and often ride out Rt 44 from 179 out to New Hartford. I know the area well, by bike.
I truly think it would be a heartless and ill advised decision to change the area from what is now open space. Once it is gone, it is gone. Leave it alone, respect the beauty and the wildlife.
I would be wholeheartedly against any change to the Satan’s Kingdom area.
Karen J. Grouten
An Open Letter To The Planning & Zoning Commission, New Hartford
As a former resident of New Hartford I implore you to help to see that this mess does NOT happen. This was done in Canton and the traffic issue ALONE is horrible. If this developer has such a need to ruin some of CT…………..he can go do it in HIS backyard!!!!
(former New Hartford/Canton resident)
My name is Jonathan Lichtig. I’ve lived on Satan’s Kingdom Rd. for 21 years. I’m completely against this proposed industrial plant. It will add more pollution to the area during and after construction, on the land, in the river and in the air. It will also add noise pollution There will be more traffic and I’ve heard possibly a traffic light. This is a traffic busy area as is. I see ala lotf ATV and 4 wheel drivers going into Neapaug, about as much as I can stand and I’m afraid this plant will bring even more people littering and making noise! Lastly how about the impact on the wildlife? I can’t imagine what it will do to the wildlife. I’m sure it would be detrimental!
I attended the P&Z meeting this past Wednesday and though I did not speak I did not hear anyone from the community speak in favor of this plan.
There were issues raise by folks much smarter than I such as, traffic increase onto both Indian Hill and Farmington River Turnpike on which I live at the New Hartford end, the lack of applicable studies, site, environmental, traffic to name a few. I did hear, however, how there would be jobs and an increased tax base. I did not hear how these objectives could be accomplished.
I also heard about a dangerous precedent of a zone change without all the facts and information in place.
I appreciated the FRWA comments that residential may be just as detrimental to this particular parcel.
The President of the Land Trust opened a door that I personally feel we should walk through.
I do not understand how the First Selectman and the Economic Development Committee can support (unanimously) this incomplete proposal. It is detrimental to the major industry this community should boast about, the scenic Farmington river.
I do have history doing battle with the town, developer/ landowner about zone changes, exemptions. It’s is not pretty, it’s a pain in the ass, can cost in legal and expert dollars but is worth spitting in the wind for.
Please listen to the suggestions and needs of the townsfolk who spoke so eloquently last week. Listen to what the community is saying.
An Open Letter To The Towns Of New Hartford and Canton
Towns of New Hartford & Canton,
-NOT ON OUR WATCH-
If we, as concerned anglers, boaters & well intentioned stream stewards are not willing to support the cause to preserve our beloved Farmington River in it’s current pristine state…then we shall all be prepared to collectively kiss it the heck goodbye as we know it forever.
I’m nearly positive that any INDEPENDENT ecological impact study would reveal, but would not be limited to the following…
- Increased runoff of petrochemicals (from newly tarred pavement, vehicles & various other carcinogenic compounds from construction/factory equipment).
- Cutting down stream side trees & vegetation will dramatically increase stream temperatures and destroy thermal refuges. Without trees to absorb runoff, we’ll see an exacerbation of flooding that ultimately lead to the decline of trout habitat.
- Mass septic tank leaching of human waste into the river. (the proposed industrial park is not zoned for city sewage.)
- Excessive ground water usage leading to river levels that will be difficult to replenish during droughts.
- “Accidental” chemical discharges from manufacturing areas.
And all that in concert will most likely turn our beautiful, wild & scenic waterway into an unenjoyable cesspool devoid of any aquatic or avian life. This could possibly even lead to some negative human health ramifications somewhere down the line. (Think of all the future potential class action lawsuits against town & company).
Are we really that short-sighted to believe the addition of a few dozen low paying jobs are worth the long-term permanent impairment an such a delicate & valuable natural resource?
Hasn’t this beautifully historic waterway already suffered enough through it’s tumultuously destructive history? Even though the industrial revolution wreaked it’s havoc, over a hundred years of valiant effort put forth by the many noble individuals combined with local/national conservation organizations, this lovely river has made a triumphant recovery. And it was a remarkable enough of an endeavor for others to take notice and mimic around the country on their very own home waters.
It makes no sense to regress by developing a piece of land that would not only be an eyesore to the wild & scenic status of the area, but most certainly be to the detriment of the water quality of what has arguably become the one of the premier blue ribbon trout streams in all of New England?
The Farmington River in its current unaltered & protected state has attracted hundreds, if not thousands of anglers from many states across our country. This alone has made it economically viable enough through the years without the need for any intrusive mass industrial addition(s) along it’s protected banks.
In fact, year in & year out, our river has brought sustainable amounts of revenue into local businesses. Is there really a need for new manufacturing industries, who only come in with vested interests in their own bottom lines, not the people they string along with promises of crappy benefits & poor work conditions. To hell with the environment, local businesses who depend on the river to make a living, and any anything getting in the way with the all mighty divine profit.
If they’re allowed to set up shop in & around Canton/New Hartford’s premier scenic & wildlife river-way, all fisherman, boaters, tubers & established local businesses be damned! But we do have a choice. This is our final warning…
An Open Letter To The New Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission
The town of New Hartford is a great town mostly for its natural beauty and wonderful open spaces that the people of New Hartford love, and is the reason why many chose to live there. Too many times open space is only thought of as a space to build on, when in reality, open space is the life blood of a clean, beautiful town to live in. Please take the residence of your town into your thoughts before you decide to destroy another beautiful area of New Hartford for the sole reason of making progress and more taxes for the town. Money doesn’t always have to be the deciding factor in everything you do.
An Open Letter To:
Daniel V. Jerram, First Selectman
Jack Casey, Selectman
James Steadman Chairman Zoning Board
Robert Moore Jr.
I spoke at the last zoning meeting and was very frustrated with the tone and behavior of the people at it. Canton residents came to the New Hartford meeting in good faith and were supported by residents of New Hartford. The irony of the whole discussion is that 10 months ago it was discussed among residents and Selectman about why we did not have certain businesses brought in to New Hartford. The response was that the plan was to keep New Hartford as the jewel it is.
I will also remind you about what the web page for Town of New Hartford it states and I quote “The Farmington River traverses the downtown area, providing scenic beauty to all who frequent the quaint shops and businesses located there. In the spring, fly fishermen can be seen casting their lines in one of Connecticut’s most well known catch-and-release areas. The summer brings kids of all ages to this river to experience the thrill of riding the rapids on a tube or in a kayak, available for rent from local vendors.
Fall brings its own charm to New Hartford. Residents and visitors flock to the antique shops in the area while enjoying the spectacular colors of the foliage-covered rolling hills surrounding the town. Ski enthusiasts are drawn to New Hartford to the ski area with a great range of slopes sure to please all, beginner to advanced. A great variety of events are held throughout the winter; we welcome all to join in or just watch.”
Now we have new construction for more houses on farm lands. We have the loss of a hardware store on Main Street that stands empty, another store front ( the old Sheer Obsession) that is empty on Main Street, the old Waring Blender factory that has empty store fronts and many other commercial building for sale just on the 44 corridor. Recently, we lost Ovation Guitars and that building has since caught fire and the Mobil gas station is now an empty building. We have an existing industrial park that is not fully utilized and now you wish to destroy what brings people to town to create a spec industrial park. How in the world does this compute? We need to focus on the buildings we have and filling them before we build more since it is all on spec and no firm is committed to it.
As a small point, I will remind you of the serious issues that the town had with Dattco since it was mentioned they might be interested in using the park. The people of New Hartford were not happy with the management. This needs to be reviewed as well? Does New Hartford lose all power over who goes there and what they do? How much of an economic gain is it versus the loss of wilderness and scenic property?
New Hartford is known for the use of the Farmington River and the appeal of the views. I just wonder if the Zoning board is looking at the very big picture. You are talking about destroying a ridgeline and wildlife and creating an industrial park that would require access for big rigs or buses. How is that going to affect the roads and people around the town? Do you know if you will need to add a light and how do you plan on that? Have you thought about how the developer will be blasting and using other excavations tools and the damage to the environment and wildlife in the area.
I also think that New Hartford would be better off reviewing its actions since the majority of the property is in Canton. What are the true economic benefits from destroying the land we use to attract people to town? I also think that the foreclosure of approximately 30 homes last year and the number of homes for sale in New Hartford should be thought about in making this decision.
This is not just about changing the zoning for a piece of land but destroying that which is beautiful and special to our town.
New Hartford Resident
(Former Canton Resident)
My father built a house on Indian Hill Road in Canton, and my family lived there for thirty years. Although I now live in Australia, I am very distressed by the proposal to drastically and irrevocably change the landscape of the Farminton River corridor around Satan’s Kingdom.
Like many residents of the area, I feel a sense of attachment to the river through many find memories spent exploring its banks and braving the rapids in tube or canoe. The cultivation of those memories, and the feelings of peace and connectedness with nature that come with spending time in places of great beauty such as Satan’s Kingdom, are worth far more to the local livelihood than the revenue from a bus depot.
These shared experiences make better human beings of us. We become more aware, more grateful, more patient, and more serene when we breathe in the tree-and-soil scented air and listen to the rushing of the water. We become more attentive to our families when we spend the day with them in the outdoors, fishing, paddling, picnicking, and we teach our children more about what’s important in life during these brief and brilliant times than what they learn in school in a year.
Of course, economic growth is important to the town, but progress can not be made at the expense of the values which define the towns identity. Furthermore, the “if we build it, they will come” attitude of development seems foolish. Surely, there are numerous vacant or underutilized areas in New Hartford that could be used for light industry without leveling a hillside or building a new eyesore, and if there aren’t already businesses clamoring over one another to open up shop in the existing real estate of New Hartford now, what good will building yet another office park do? Re-zoning Satan’s Kingdom may serve to line the pockets of a few developers in the short term, but in the long run, it robs the town of much more by threatening one of the places that makes New Hartford truly spectacular.
Malissa Washburn Groome
Perth, Western Australia
(Former Canton resident)
Satan’s Kingdom is a beautiful pristine area beloved by all who have ever been. It would be a shame to ruin its natural state with this development. Building a bus depot will not stimulate the local economy, and there are many other abandoned places that could accommodate their needs. Please consider the ramifications of your actions to the ecology.
Andrew A. Sussman
(Formerly of Farmington and New Britain, CT
But still go back home often)
An Open Letter To Daniel Jerram (First Selectman); James Steadman, Theodore Stoutenburg, Daniel LaPlante, David Krimmel, Gil Pratt (P&Z Commissioners)
Dear Daniel Jerram, James Steadman, Theodore Stoutenburg, Daniel LaPlante, David Krimmel, Gil Pratt,
I am a resident of Canton and I have been following this zoning proposal be heard by your board. I would like to voice my opposition to the proposed zoning change.
I have been an avid user of the Satan’s Kingdom area, and I am very concerned about this industrial park and the effects it will have on the area. My main concern is about the recent announcement of levelling a large portion of the area to grade of 250 ft. There is a large portion of this area that is close to 500 ft. and removing that much soil, I feel is incredibly unnecessary and very harmful to the surrounding area. Erosion is already an issue all along the Farmington River, and this kind of action will only add to the sediment in the river system affecting countless species and ecosystems down stream.
I am also concerned about the proposed bus lot. The oils and fluids associated with this can be very harmful, not only to the river system itself, but for those who use the river down stream; fisherman, boaters, kids swimming. The restriction of only 100 ft from the river bank is just not enough to contain any of the runoff, or debris from the construction. The bank itself is very steep and 100 ft from the river itself is basically at the edge of the bank.
I urge you to vote against this proposal. Not only for the surrounding ecosystems and river systems, but for all of us who use and enjoy the Farmington River. There is no need for this industrial park, and there is plenty of empt lots in the area that could serve the purposes needed. Thank you for your time, and please vote against this proposal.
I am Ron Merly, a life long Connecticut resident of 50 years, author of Flyfisher’s Guide to Connecticut, served as President of the Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited for 3 years and I also hold the current Connecticut state record for sea-run brown trout. I have seen and continue to see many of the lands along streams and lakes becoming privatized due to over-development. The state takes in millions in recreational dollars from trout fishing alone each year with the Farmington River being the largest contributor. If the state and its towns continue to allow development and privatization along our streams, those recreational dollars will go away and the landowners will charge the public to fish on their lands as they do in europe. Is this the land of the free and home of the brave that our forefathers fought and died for? I don’t think so. Leave Satan’s Kingdom and the rest of the lands surrounding Connecticut’s amazing streams and all waterways as they are before we only have public lands to enjoy recreationally. Legislation should be put into place immediately to protect buffer zones and provide public access/right of way along our waterways before it’s too late.
With that said, how will a development of this size affect the health and beauty of the river?, a river designated Wild and Scenic by the federal government. One of only 2 rivers out of nearly 300 in our state carry that designation. Only 2 percent of rivers in the United States carry that designation. Do not develop Satan’s Kingdom.
My property is within 500 feet of the parcel under consideration for a zone change in Satan’s Kingdom. I object to this zone change as, I am concerned with the risk to the river and surroundings being polluted with bus/car emission into the air, industrial runoff discharge, trash and, what this would do to the balance of the river environment. Approval could, also, lead to future abuse of the adjoining tracts bordering the river. Since the river is also used for recreation, the impact would be hazardous to fish, wildlife and humans.
I’m petitioning that a 2/3 vote be required for any zone change. I urge the Zoning Commission to reject the application for a zone change.
An Open Letter To The New Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission
Dear New Hartford Zoning Board,
Do not change the zoning and allow Satan’s Kingdom and the surrounding areas to be developed for industrial use. Leave the strip mall, 4 lane highway mess on the other side of Canton, where there are plenty of empty lots that need to be re-purposed and put to good use . We don’t need to pave the way for the destruction of one of the prettiest outdoor recreation areas on the Farmington River, and ruin the Northwest Corner’s rural, scenic charm. It would be a tragic loss for all the surrounding communities that come to enjoy the river.
(Formerly of Simsbury, CT)
To any and all:
My deepest concerns for the proposed industrial park along the Farmington River in Satan’s Kingdom is the dramatic change to the land by leveling such a major area and the potential run off into the river from a major bus facility. There is not a town garage in the country that did not have an oil sump dump behind the garage. This is not the standard now but the problem still exists. In addition surface water run off is such a major concern that this site is a potential disaster. As a Canton and down water resident I am extremely opposed to such a development.
There’s a funny story in the history of New Hartford that dates back more than 200 years -
“In the eastern part of this town there is a rough and mountainous district, formerly designated Satan’s Kingdom, and the few inhabitants who lived here were in a measure shut out from the rest of mankind. An inhabitant of the town invited one of his neighbors, who lived within the limits of this district, to go and hear Mr. Marsh, the first minister who was settled in the town. He was prevailed upon to go to church in the forenoon. In the course of his prayer, Mr. Marsh, among other things, prayed that Satan’s kingdom might be destroyed. It appears that the inhabitant of this district, took the expression in a literal and tangible sense, having probably never heard the expression used but in reference to the district wherin he resided. Being asked to go to meeting in the afternoon, he refused, stating that Mr. Marsh had insulted him; “for blast him,” said he, “when he prayed for the destruction of Satan’s kingdom, he very well knew all my interests lay there.”
I live in a Canton neighborhood association that shares property in and pays taxes to the Town of New Hartford. We border the Farmington River, The Satan’s Kingdom area of New Hartford and the property owned by Satan’s Kingdom, LLC and Richard L. Sundgren Jr.. I oppose their application for zone change from R-1.5 to Industrial Park. I attended the first public hearing in April with an open mind, hoping to learn that the plans for development were in keeping with the nature of the location. Anyone driving along Rt. 44 is likely familiar with the gated entrance to the sand and gravel pit at the Canton/New Hartford town line – and I’ll grant, it doesn’t look like much from the road. Mr. Borghesi described it as a property degraded by mining and complicated by an MDC right of way that make it unsuitable for residential use. He failed to note the presence of a steep ridge line that provides a natural boundary between the front highway facing and rear riverfront portions of the parcel. He failed to linger on the value of the unspoiled woodland, farmland, wetland and riverfront property that borders a federally designated Wild and Scenic portion of the Farmington River directly across from Nepaug State Forest. When approached from that perspective, one must consider the role this property plays in allowing this stretch of river to be the haven and attraction that it is to hikers, anglers, paddlers, tubers and hunters alike. Traveling the river under the bridge and through the gorge you reach this rare, quiet, peaceful and accessible oasis where both banks of the river are entirely insulated from civilization and teeming with a remarkable array of wildlife that also depends on this corridor’s natural state. While I expect that in time economic development of Rt 44 is inevitable, at the present time it would seem premature given the current vacancies and opportunities to infill existing developed areas and the nearly rural nature of the immediate area. I firmly believe that the rear of the property can and must remain residential with minimal disruption to the natural character of the area. It would be short sighted and irrevocably detrimental to the valuable recreational resources if this application is approved. During the most recent and final hearing on May 28, the applicant revealed incredibly disturbing plans to develop this property without sewer service and proposed to “level” the ridge line that affords a natural buffer for the river valley. What possible gain could justify such a betrayal of our river stewardship?
When he prayed for the destruction of Satan’s Kingdom, he very well knew all my interests lay there. They are your interests too.
I live on Mohawk Drive. This is my backyard. If you are reading this, the river is yours. Nepaug State Forest is yours. This is your backyard.
An Open Letter To The New Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission Members
Dear Mr. Steadman, Mr. Stoutenberg, Mr. LaPlante, Mr. Krimmel, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Post, Mr. Ventre, And Mr. Moore,
I am writing regarding the proposed rezoning of the Satan’s Kingdom plot. I emphatically appeal to you to protect this area as a natural space. It is extremely valuable as a wild area and developing it would be extremely detrimental to the ecosystem. Additionally, there would be many ramifications on the residences around the site.
The true value of Satan’s Kingdom is in its nature, and it would be truly tragic to turn it into an industrial park. New Hartford has a choice about which direction it will go as a town, and I think that protecting the ever-more-rare natural beauty is far more important and in line with the town’s mission and personality. The town pamphlet even proclaims the importance of natural beauty and wild areas as a main attraction and pillar of the town!
Please make the choice that will be beneficial to all in the long term, do not allow satan’s kingdom to be rezoned!
Thank you for your time.
Industrial Parks, parking lots – they come and go.
We see them everywhere – they are ugly, nameless, faceless – senseless.
The river was here long before any of us. The beautiful stretch of land that winds beside it doesn’t just nestle up to a few homes. It belongs to all of us – men, woman, children, the birds, the animals – it is a pure and precious GIFT to us all. PLEASE don’t take it away and replace it with tar, cement and brick that will come and go and mean nothing someday soon. Our wilderness is an IRREPLACEABLE TREASURE. Once gone we can never get it back.
Bob & Jill Staubitz
I am against the proposed zone change for the parcel of land owned by Satan’s Kingdom LLC. The town of New Hartford has committed to preserving our natural resources but the planning and zoning committee is considering changing the parcel from residential to industrial just to get a few extra dollars in taxes and to possible create new jobs for residents. The committee should reread the vision for New Harford in the Plan of Conservation & Development that the citizens felt were most important. Section 3. After all, they wrote it.
Back when the Town Planners developed their plan of town development, they realized that only residential development should be in such close proximity to the Farmington River, especially with no access to either town sewer or water. As Mr. Borghesi acknowledged, there still is no access to New Hartford Town sewer or water. Individual septic systems for industrial facilities on a a former sand and gravel quarry in this location is an invitation to disaster.
I am truly puzzled by the reactions and attitudes of the P & Z Commission. Rather than requiring soil testing, engineering studies and an environmental impact statement BEFORE approving a zone change to industrial, they seem ready to approve a project that the applicant, Mr. Borghesi, said would require leveling all the land, including the escarpments that protect the river. What will happen to the river?
Is this what we want for New Hartford and Canton…..tell the committee now, and later, to require sensible studies that would allow for an intelligent decision driven by what is best for the land and the community by all the Commissions in both towns. I believe that is accomplished by allowing only appropriate residential development on this parcel.
George and Laura Frascarelli
An Open Letter To The New Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission Members
Dear Zoning Board Members:
I want to express my adamant opposition to the zoning change that is one property away from my home. My husband and I moved to this area 36 years and have always been moved by the extraordinary natural beauty of this area by the river. That town leaders would contemplate such an egregious action at this time is beyond comprehension. The fact that you could jeopardize the health of the river in this day and age is mind blowing. I understand that this proposed industrial site will be serviced by a septic system!! You have no idea who will be leasing here and the possible damage that could ensue to the river as a result of drainage. In addition the issues of soil, air and sound pollution have to be considered. These are consequences that I would not like to be responsible for. Please please protect this very beautiful natural resource and wildlife habitat. I also understand that the landowner has a right to develop, but it was purchased with the full understanding that it was zoned residential. Please keep it that way.
Elaine R. Morisano, Ph.D.
After attending the public hearing in New Hartford last week, we felt compelled to write about our opposition to the request for a zone change being considered for the area in Satan’s Kingdom, New Hartford. We believe that New Hartford is best known for its access to the picturesque Farmington River and to the beautiful country scenery that surrounds all who bike, hike, fish and canoe here. With our home located on Satan’s Kingdom Road, situated just above the proposed industrial park, we enjoy a majestic view of the hills and the wildlife that passes through our property, including bear, deer, the Bald Eagle and even the moose tracks spotted when we first moved here four years ago.
Please know that we believe that future homes constructed on this residential parcel of land will not diminish this scenic area and would be suitable to the neighborhood. What Mr. Borghesi proposes — construction of several industrial buildings, including a bus depot — does not belong along a river nor in our neighborhood. In no way should the Commission confuse the town of New Hartford with the towns of Torrington and Windsor Locks, where Mr. Borghesi indicates that he has successfully built industrial buildings that blend with those areas. Neither town brings to mind the beautiful open space found here in New Hartford.
We ask the Commission to deny the request for a zoning change from residential to industrial.
Brett and Patty Wilson
I am in opposition to the proposal to rezone residential land along Satan’s Kingdom to industrial park status. The developer Alan Borghesi, principal in Satan’s Kingdom LLC, wants to level and remove an aproximate 40-acre mountain that rises to 500 f.t along the Farmington river ($$$$ in sand and gravel). He then wants to install an industrial park without sewer or water lines because it would be too expensive for him to bring them to the site (that’s why it is residential!). When a large capacity septic base system fails because of the eventual accidental or purposeful misuse by future businesses using hazardous materials, who will be liable for the huge cost of an environmental cleanup along the Farmington River? There will be nothing to get from a few Limited Liability Companies. It will be the Town of New Hartford and its taxpayers. I can only see this proposal becoming a burden for the Town of New Hartford with no economic value.
New Hartford doesn’t need more empty industrial buildings and residential areas. It needs more town assistance to use what it has already that is sitting empty! Fill and appropriately use what you have already first! Yes we need jobs; I personally need a good job due to the economic downturn. Why can’t we create them with what we have? This Satan’s Kingdom area is historic and the scenic entryway to both Canton, New Hartford and on to their sister town Barkhamsted. Why do we have to build everywhere and then empty buildings become eyesores? Right now part of this property is being used to encourage local farming. Can we get the state to expand the current Satan’s Kingdom recreation area? Or can New Hartford? Can this developer, the town and state get together and create something wonderful to endure in perpetuity that deserves to bear the historic name? Rather than Industrial, can we bring in more recreation use of this area, which will draw people to existing businesses? Create a historic area with a few appropriate buildings for displays and lectures portraying the area over the years. What would be the zone for this? What would be the zone for leaving this as is?! Why are our naturally beautiful and historically important areas always threatened by property purchasing speculators? The chance to preserve, once lost, really is gone forever.
Kathleen A. Gillane
We are concerned residents of New Hartford regarding the property at Satan’s Kingdom designated Wild and Scenic by the Federal Government and held in partnership with our town to preserve forever. A zoning change from residential to industrial park would inevitably change this land forever.
New Hartford has a designated industrial park. We do need new businesses in town but not at the entrance to New Hartford. Once this primal land is levelled, the town will lose existing tax revenue and income from this natural recreational area. At present the river brings income from fly fishermen, rafting and kayaking. There are added benefits to restaurants, churches, tea rooms, bakeries, bed and breakfasts, motels, etc. This loss of income to the town businesses – the people who live and work here would be dramatic and disastrous.
A second major concern is the impact on traffic on route 44. The only business mentioned by Mr. Borghesi was a Datco bus terminal on one of the 8 parcels he has designated for development – 80 buses and 90 cars (2 Xs a day?. The entrance would be at the MDC entrance. A traffic light would be a necessity. And there are 7 more building lots 2 or 3 stories high. Imagine the traffic!
Anyone with concerns about this zoning change for our town can write their name and address along with a request to vote against this change. You must get it to the Town Hall by June 11th, when the board meets to decide Satan’s Kingdom’s fate. Every person counts!
George and Frances Phelps
I am writing to say that I oppose the proposed zone change for Satan’s Kingdom – it is the exact wrong place for industrial development. Have you ever been to Satan’s Kingdom? It is incredible. Growing up, Satan’s Kingdom was my playground. A developer obtained this land and assumed he could easily rezone the land in order to clear it, flatten it, pave it and park a couple hundred buses. Did he not think that people might not want to have a bus depot on the most beautiful section of the Farmington River? Did he think about how this might kill UpCountry Sportfishing, the fly shop and fishing tackle store right up the road? This is a favorite spot for fishermen, but who will want to fly fish next to a bus depot? Will he be gassing up these buses on the land? How will that smell? What about the Farminton River Tubing? How will they suffer? Let us not forget that there is already a hidden economy built into this sanctuary we call Satan’s Kingdom. Do you know why it is called Satan’s Kingdom? The legend is that Satan himself once claimed the area as his own, until the angel Gabriel decided that the area was far too idyllic and cleared out the dark lord and his band of demons. As far as I am concerned, it is holy land.
Most importantly, I must mention the overwhelming opposition. The bottom line is that the people of the community do not want this. Even a Facebook group has formed in opposition to this zone change and, at the time I am writing this, has 1,844 members. The voices of the abutting properties have been heard. The community at large has been heard. Now it is time for the zoning board to OPPOSE THIS ZONE CHANGE.
Los Angeles, CA
(Formerly from Canton CT)
Open Letter To The New Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission Members
Dear New Hartford Planning and Zoning Board,
I am writing to voice my strong opposition to the proposed zone change (residential to industrial) for Satan’s Kingdom. I know that I am joined by the landowners whose land abuts this property (our property is one house over from the border of the proposed development). If this land had been up for public sale, we would have bought it. I grew up on and still hike this land–I have been swimming in its river and crossing its streams for 30+ years. This resource is RARE and BEAUTIFUL–a state treasure–with forest, water, fields, and sand. This land is the reason that I love New Hartford, and that I love Canton (it crosses town lines)–it forms a strong part of my identity. On this land I learned how to identify many plant species (e.g., lady’s slipper orchids) and the tracks of deer, bears, foxes, and other animals. I brought many visitors from all over the world (Europe, Canada, Asia) to see this precious CT resource–a beautiful field of wildflowers (now partially farmed), forest and trails, a quarry, and a beach. We swam and sat on the rocks of the river and watched as tubers joyfully traversed the rapids. We learned to steer clear of the large snapping turtle that lived at the gorge. We camped on the embankment and rode bikes in the quarry–we sled down the sand pit in the winter. We ran through the fields. This land is a precious natural resource for future generations to enjoy and as a natural habitat for many wild species. There is a strong chance that it contains wetlands, which must be protected. It also provides a habitat for many black bears, deer, and foxes in the region–who have already started to crowd our yards due to over-development and deforestation in the adjoining areas of our towns. We want to know–what will happen to these animals if this land is developed?
The developer mentioned plans to “level the whole area, including the ridge” for an industrial park and install septic systems–which would be hugely destructive on many fronts. This would not happen if the area was kept residential–anyone who would want to live there would want also to experience the beauty of the land as it is. There is talk of housing 80+ buses and a garage there, in addition to several other industrial buildings and plots. It is most likely that most of the actual buildings will be on the Canton side of the property–and New Hartford will not benefit from any generated taxes. It is not clear that any jobs will result from this development (or whether they will last). We are greatly worried about river pollution (which would be nearly impossible to avoid), air pollution, and sound pollution (this is already a concern in the area). We are worried about what will happen to the wildlife. We are worried about what will happen to our health. We see all of the existing empty industrial spaces and buildings in New Hartford and wonder why this is necessary. We wonder–why can’t this be left alone and deemed protected land by the State? Is this really the ONLY place to house buses? A gorgeous natural habitat on the river? Why can’t it be developed into a state park or resource that this and future generations can enjoy? This kind of land is rare and it is imperative that it be utilized in the best way possible. I urge you to take a tour through its forests, streams, and fields. Once it is gone, we cannot get it back. Once the river is polluted, it will be lost as a fishing, tubing, and swimming resource. Once the trees are cut down, the wildlife will need to find another home. Once a park is put in, the plants will die. Even residences would better serve the land and better protect its beauty than an industrial park. Its zoning should not be changed from residential to industrial. Such a change would be short-sighted.
If you love your town–if you love its beauty–if you love what living in this part of CT represents–if you want your children and your children’s children to know what nature in CT looks like years from now–please protect this land and do not change the zoning. All who have seen this land, and who will see this land, will thank you.