LETTER: Saddle Ridge: ‘Bad for everyone except for the developers’

To the Editor:

I urge the Easton Planning & Zoning Commission to reject the proposed Saddle Ridge development for the following reasons:

First, much evidence has been presented as to the deleterious effect this proposal will have on the public water supply, and we must err on the side of caution since tens of thousands of people drink water from our reservoirs. One need look no further than Flint, Mi. to see the potential risk. Moreover, the Aquarion Water Company opposes this plan.

Second, approval would encourage future development on the watershed, further impairing the water quality. Third, developers often use the affordable housing law, as they are here, to circumvent local zoning regulations. They do not use the law so people can obtain housing they might otherwise not be able to afford but instead use a well-intentioned law to create high-density housing to maximize profits. This was clearly not the purpose of the law.

Fourth, there is legal precedent to deny the application since the court has already ruled against Saddle Ridge’s prior filing.

Last, 2017 marks 76 years since many of Easton’s strict zoning regulations were enacted. These laws were passed to protect public water, and there is no compelling reason to change them. This application is bad for everyone except for the developers, and it should be rejected.

Jim Riling

North Park Avenue

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  • J.Brannigan

    The effects on the water supply are marginal. Not that I’m in favor of the development. The Town hired soil engineer concurred on this. The truth is everyone just wants to keep Saddle Ridge as it is, because we live and love Easton as we know it today. But guess it’s not our land and if there is a legal way for it to be developed with higher density than our Zoning allows it will eventually happen.

  • Blargrifth

    I agree with the position here, but this was very poorly argued and I imagine would be unconvincing to any officials.

  • J.Brannigan

    The town should buy the property

    • Jamie Weinstein

      Going back to your own point above, if there is a legal way for the developer to develop the land it will happen. Currently there is a legal way for this to proceed so the town would have to match the developed value (or close to it) for a sale to even be considered by the property owner. The town is already in a major cash crunch with the state reducing it’s education allocation so to take on more debt to buy Saddle Ridge would be unfeasible. We’re not even halfway paying through our South Park purchase and that’s already costing us more than we wanted.

      Like it or not, Saddle Ridge will eventually be developed and we should be concentrating on imposing cautionary restrictions rather than fighting the inevitable. Control the expansion.

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