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Letter to the Editor: Effort to Preserve Happy Landings

"What Brookfield won, by referendum... was a beautiful place to remain just as it is."

To the Editor:

When the people of Brookfield voted — twice! — in 1999 to preserve Happy Landings Farm as a "permanent, protected, open, space," they knew exactly what they meant by that term, and what they did not mean. A "mixed-use location" was what the other side was voting for, and that meant: A place with designations for special interest activities, or other possible amenities such as commercial interests, sodium vapor lighting, or hot dog wagons, etc... What Brookfield won, by referendum, with a margin of almost 3 to 1, was a beautiful place to remain just as it is — a wide open pasture with a wide open sky — all of it equally accessible to every Brookfield resident to find his or her own personal delight.

Although the June 4 town meeting this year was the first public announcement of it, the private concern, "Kanine Kingdom," mentioned in their presentation that they had been working on their project for 18 months. Those at the meeting who opposed this project (about 7-1 against, in a show of hands) stressed that they were in no way opposed to a dog park, but rather to the location proposed. Of course a dog park, encompasing only 2 percent of the total of Happy Landings Farm, can be thought of as hardly an incursion into the 74 acres, but it immediately changes the definition of the whole property from a "Permanent Protected Open Space" to a "Mixed-use Location" — the very meaning Brookfield citizens worked so hard to prevent — and makes the land vulnerable to any other private activity that someone may wish to set up on the field in the future. Why would the people of Brookfield have called two referendums to prevent it if that is what they wanted?

IMPORTANT: The town has recently changed the scheduled date for a town meeting to vote on this project, from June 28 to June 18, leaving the absolute minimum (five days, including Father's Day weekend) for those opposed to the private use of this public property to marshall opposition, or gather signatures for a referendum! These dedicated volunteers, the "Happy Landings Association," have an application in progress for a nonprofit 501c3 license, dedicated to preservation of the farm as "permanent, protected, open space." They have a Facebook presence for updates, and will shortly have set up a website.

The HLA are seeking an attorney, accepting volunteers, and donations for their cause. Messages can be sent to HappyLandingsAssociation@yahoo.com

Barb Norman

Andrew Turkenkopf June 17, 2012 at 03:05 PM
This is just me guessing, but I would assume the area near the fire department is too near the parks and fields around town hall, and I believe dog parks aren't supposed to be located near where children are likely to congregate? Also loud sirens hurt doggy ears? just guesses. I don't know, could be something to explore.
Lisa Foltz Allan June 17, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Good point Andrew. Sirens would not be good.
Andrea Grosner June 22, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I guess I'd like to know who the heck is on the Conservation Committee and why THEY feel the need to make/insist on decisions that should not only be PUBLIC knowledge to the town of Brookfield but also should be a TOWN decision. Just because Happy Landing was "recommended as the best location from the conservation committee" does not mean they can FORCE their decision on Brookfield. Shame on them for suggesting this because as we all know, it's a "permanent, protected, open, space" and shame on the BOS to AGREE to that decision. I wonder what other decisions the Conservation Committee has insisted on and the BOS have agreed to that the town has no knowledge of. And, Matt Dewkett asked Lisa if they looked "at some of the corporate landowners in Brookfield to see if a similar agreement can be worked out. Your consistent reply is effectively that you've exhausted ALL options other than Happy Landings. I think you might put some if this to bed if you'd specifically note which companies you've asked, and what their response was". The response from Lisa was "Call me stubborn but I don't feel like I should be bullied into telling people everything we've done." I think that was a completely fair question and I as a tax payer and resident of Brookfield INSIST on knowing EVERYTHING that was done regarding this issue and if Lisa wont tell us then I'd like to know WHO will.
Michelle June 22, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. ~Aldo Leopold
LFerrara June 25, 2012 at 03:03 AM
One year ago, KEITH WOLFF, PROPONENT of Kanine Kingdom said the following on the Patch: "There are multiple reasons why Happy Landings is not as good a location as Gurski: 1. Parking is more limited and yes it could potentially be expanded and remember that it is a state rd and we would need to go through the approval process. 2. There is a large area where drainage is poor where the park would be located. 3. The entrance would need to be improved to allow safer exiting and entering. 4. There are more residential homes in this area." So my questions to the dog park committee...Has the state agreed to the parking expansion? Has the drainage problem been corrected? Will your committee be paying for the entrance to be improved? And lastly, have the people all vacated their homes and moved away?

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