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Letter: Land Trust Directors Oppose Sale of Public Land at the Former Country Club of Woodbridge

For over 50 years, the Woodbridge Land Trust has protected, preserved, and conserved Woodbridge’s open spaces. Recently town leaders have asked Woodbridge residents to consider a proposal for dense residential development of a substantial portion of the publicly owned former Country Club of Woodbridge (CCW). The Land Trust Board of Directors has carefully reviewed the proposal and is unanimous in opposing the sale.

To be clear, we are not suggesting that the property should never be developed for any purpose — merely that the Insite Design Group proposal has too many unintended adverse consequences. Among the most important is that the proposal requires that we abandon the zoning protections that have allowed Woodbridge to remain a special and beautiful place. With this proposal comes the very real likelihood of similarly dense development of land throughout the town. The risk to our community extends well beyond the CCW property.

Our town’s founders and the generations who have come after had the foresight to protect open spaces for the enjoyment of all. Today, we know that protecting open spaces, and the natural resources within them, helps human and natural communities remain resilient to changes in the environment. The CCW property is therefore a precious, finite natural resource that needs responsible long-term stewardship. It should not be treated as a disposable commodity.

Protecting our open spaces, rural character, and natural resources makes Woodbridge a desirable place to live. We know this intuitively because we all chose to live in a town where open space is a defining factor in our quality of life. Beyond this, it is well-established that open space adds value to a community, both in terms of quality of life for residents and in financial terms: it reduces costs for public infrastructure and programs and increases individual property values of those who live nearby. In comparison, the annual cost of the CCW debt is minimal – the equivalent of one tank of gas per person – and will be fully paid in just ten years. This is a small price to pay to preserve our future.

Bryan H. Pines

President, Woodbridge Land Trust

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