Local Legislators Back Land Preservation Measure

May 18, 2015

Sen. Art Linares on May 6 voted in favor of legislation which aims to boost land preservation in Connecticut.

The legislation, which has the support of conservationists, environmental officials and land trusts, lowers the share of matching funds that municipalities, water companies and nonprofit organizations looking to preserve open space must contribute toward land purchases. The proposal, if it becomes state law, would effectively lower the share that applicants for open space grants must contribute from 30 percent to 10 percent.

“Passage of this important legislation will allow us to continue our progress in protecting the state’s open space lands and preserving beautiful parcels of land here in Middlesex County and across Connecticut,” Sen. Linares said. Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

“Preserving open space in Connecticut is an initiative that many towns would like to accomplish. By allowing additional federal or state monies to go towards critical purchases, it will help those municipalities struggling under the fiscal pressures in their budgets,” said State Representative Melissa Ziobron, who represents Colchester, East Haddam and East Hampton. “By making it easier for applicants of open space, we will help safeguard the natural beauty and habitats Connecticut is known for. While we have many state parks in the 34th District, many towns would also like the opportunity to preserve open space and create greenways that connect to those state parks and habitats that we all cherish.”

“The citizens of Connecticut value our state parks and forests and want to see that these natural resources are protected,” said State Representative Jesse MacLachlan, who represents Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook. “Easing regulations to acquire land for conservation will allow us to preserve more land as open space.”

“The new matching contribution, down to 10 percent from 30 percent, would allow us to further advance the open space initiative that Connecticut residents so value,” said State Representative Devin Carney, who represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. “This proposed legislation will make preserving our rural character more attainable.”

The bill passed the state Senate with bipartisan support and now awaits a vote in the House of Representatives.