Report from the Sub Committee

Last night our sub committee met for the second time and we spent a good 2 and a half hours talking mostly about trees.

It’s amazing once you dig into a subject how much there is to know, and how dedicated our public servants can be. Ken Placko, our tree warden, attended the meeting and talked about his experiences with homeowners, public property and the town’s laws with experiencing dating back to the waning days of John Sullivan, Fairfield’s First Selectman for a large part of the 20th century.

Thanks to Ken’s experience and insight, we learned that we didn’t need to do much to augment his existing authority. We spent some time talking about trees on private property that grew so they touched public right of ways and whether or not we should even enact any regulation that might constrict what a home owner can do on his property.

On a related issue, we also spent time talking about the historic stone fences that once separated land and provided some measure of defense against the British. To preserve the town’s “character”, we talked about an ordinance to retain the existing walls especially those visible from the roads and streets.

As you may recall, our sub committee was formed to act on recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Task Force that looked into ways to ensure the town’s “character” could be retained. It’s a hard trick given how much reconstruction of older homes has already been accomplished in addition to the arrival of sub-divisions and condo complexes that have shrunk the open space that reminded people they were in New England not Long Island. To understand some of the thinking that went into the Final Report, we also spent an hour hearing from the Task Force chair, Ken Flatto, who also happens to be the First Selectman.

Overall, it was an enlightening conversation that touched on all five recommendations and then some. It was a freewheeling conversation as all five of us on the sub committee poked and prodded. The five of us are being polite to one another and our guests while taking the task before us quite seriously. I see consensus on some points already forming which should make the actual ordinance writing a lot easier. It’s also a nice case of bi-partisanship working for the good of the town.

There’s a lot more to dig through and we’re many meetings away from adjournment but I like our progress and collegiality.