This letter, originally addressed to New Hartford officials, was forwarded to Canton Compass by its author.
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