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Land Trust and Park Association Join Together with Offer to Protect Town Owned Open Space

Land Trust and Park Association Join Together with Offer to Protect Town Owned Open Space

The Woodbridge Land Trust (WLT) and the Woodbridge Park Association (WPA) have submitted a formal offer to the Town of Woodbridge to purchase a Grant of Conservation restriction on 145 acres of the former Country Club of Woodbridge (CCW) to protect the land in perpetuity.

In 2009, the town purchased the CCW, one of the largest contiguous land parcels in town, to prevent dense residential development and preserve the land as open space.  Former First Selectman Ed Sheehy sent a letter to every town resident on April 30, 2009, soliciting support for the purchase.  In that letter he stated, “The Board of Selectmen carefully analyzed the proposed purchase and recognized the importance of maintaining the property as open space…If the purchase is approved, the town will acquire 150 acres of beautiful open space to be enjoyed by residents for generations.  It would be irresponsible for the Board to allow the property to fall into the hands of developers.”  Town residents agreed and turned out in record numbers at the 2009 Annual Town Meeting and voted overwhelmingly to purchase the land.  Since then, Woodbridge residents have repeatedly opposed development proposals, defeating by a resounding 2:1 margin the one proposal that was put to referendum.

The property is home to wetlands and abundant wildlife; it is a beautiful and valuable asset that contributes to the quality of life of every Woodbridge resident.

In addition to its aesthetic and ecological value, this land has important historical value.  In the 18th century Roger Sherman owned the farm on this property and named it Clover Hill Farm.  As a Founding Father of the United States, Sherman is the only individual to have signed all four of our nation’s founding documents:  the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.  He represented the people of Connecticut by serving as a Judge of the Superior Court, as a U.S. Representative in Congress, as a U.S. Senator, and as the Mayor of New Haven.

Our proposal, which offers a $250,000 payment to the town, is by far the most financially advantageous for Woodbridge taxpayers.  Any proposed residential development leads to increases in school population, necessary added expenses for infrastructure, along with other additional costs including police, fire, etc.  It is well established that Open Space costs towns far less than residential lands.[1]

The 2017 Woodbridge Open Space Plan lists fourteen goals worthy of attaining when considering the preservation of open space.  Roger Sherman’s historic Clover Hill Farm (aka CCW) meets every one of those objectives.

The CCW has been a divisive issue for Woodbridge for almost 12 years.  This proposal is an opportunity to end the divisiveness and bring our town together.  Our organizations are strongly committed to working with the town to protect this priceless natural resource for the benefit of all to enjoy.

[1] Thomas DiNapoli, Economic Benefits of Open Space Preservation, (New York, Office of the State Comptroller, March 2010);

Isabel Holland and Spencer Meyer, The Economic Case for Conservation: A Synthesis of the Economic Impacts of Natural Resources and Conservation in New England, (Ridgefield, Connecticut, Highstead Foundation, 2018).

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