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Updated: Happy Landings Kanine Kingdom Petitioned to Referendum

Residents have petitioned to move the question from a town meeting Monday to a referendum.

Residents submitted 249 verified signatures to the Town Clerk Friday on a petition to move the vote to from to a town wide referendum. The town meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday will now be to set the date of the referendum, though, by procedure, the public will be allowed to comment and ask questions.

According to section 7-7 of the Connecticut General Statutes, residents can force a referendum for any item on a town meeting agenda with the signatures of 200 registered voters (or 10 percent of registered voters, whichever is less). With the signatures verified by the Town Clerk’s Office Friday, the statute requires a town wide ballot vote be held within seven to 14 days of the town meeting.

After speaking with the Registrars of Voters, First Selectman Bill Davidson said the selectmen will be suggesting Tuesday, June 26 for the vote, as the week after that is the July 4th holiday.

“The people who did the petition have the legal right to do that,” Davidson said, “But this is the wrong way. This is precisely the kind of thing to have a town meeting about.”

Davidson said referendums should be saved for “big, global matters,” as each vote costs the town upwards of $7,000.

“This is what the town meeting form of government is for,” he said, as it allows for public participation in niche matters at limited expense.

“Members of the Happy Landings Association worked diligently to obtain this referendum and have entirely legitimate reasons for doing so,” said Laila Ferrara, one of the petition organizers. “Not only were people unaware of this proposal, but they were also angry that it has even been considered, and that a town meeting was called so quickly without a substantial timeframe for notifying the entire Brookfield population.”

Ferrara argued that the relatively short period between when the town meeting was called (June 8) and when it was to be held and the fact that Happy Landings is publicly owned warranted more public awareness and a town wide vote.

“The people we reached out to overwhelmingly prefer an all-day referendum rather than a town-meeting at 7:30 p.m. on a Monday when an incredibly small representation of our community could attend,” she said.

Davidson encouraged residents to still attend Monday night’s meeting, not only to set the date for the referendum vote, but also to learn more about the proposal and have their questions answered.

LFerrara June 17, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Lastly, what gave us our ultimate burst of energy toward pursuing a referendum was an excerpt from the Brookfield Facility Planning Committee’s February meeting minutes. The following is taken from those minutes: “Field house/soccer field will need a couple of acres to allow for parking. Happy Landings would have enough flat area, but the Town would have to build a road – if the property’s status as open space could be reversed.” Why is Happy Landings being suggested for such use? Clearly, this dog park is nothing but a vehicle for more expansive projects that will require REVERSING THE PROPERTY’S STATUS AS OPEN SPACE. Since when is a field house, soccer field, a road, and acres of parking considered passive use?
LFerrara June 17, 2012 at 06:17 PM
And now, this morning in the News Times, Mr. Davidson called all of us who are fighting to protect this parcel of land ABUSIVE! Since when is following the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS abusive? Every action we have taken has been within the letters of law! I am not one to point fingers, but if I had to, it certainly would not be in OUR direction. We urge you all to watch video of the Board of Selectmen meeting. The dog park issue is discussed in the beginning, the middle, and again at the end. You tell us…have we lied? Manipulated the truth? The link is: http://www.youtube.com/embed/HnonOA6RM8o In conclusion, what we are most emphatically saying is, put the bark-park elsewhere…and leave Happy Landings alone! Thank you
Lisa Foltz Allan June 17, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Please see: https://www.facebook.com/BrookfieldCtDogPark for a response on this comment
Andrew Turkenkopf June 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Overall, it seems me that certain parties want Happy Landings to exist as it is, just as long as people that aren't themselves use it. Maybe I'm reading into some comments I've been hearing and reading too much, but complaining about park visitors blocking driveways but then opposing even the consideration of increasing the parking lot would indicate that at least my guess leans in the correct direction. Everyone loves park land and hiking trails and nature and such right in their neighborhood . . . but with that blessing, comes that fact that other people might want to visit said land. And as for the implication that the dog park is part of some "foot in the door" conspiracy, that is frankly ludicrous, and just because one commission mentions something, doesn't mean they have the power to actual do it. One could suggest anything at any meeting and have it in the minutes, doesn't make it fact. Operating on such fear does a disservice to us all.
Peter NAPOLI June 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Seems to me that there must be alternate sites to locate a dog park. I have 2 dogs and would love to see one in Brookfield but why not in a location less devisive? Why not in the rear of Burr Farm at the end of Dingletown Road? Far enough from local houses to be acceptable?
shannon June 18, 2012 at 01:49 PM
oh and its Dinglebrook
shannon June 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
There is no parking at burr farm for one and two its a small dirt road with a lot of little kids on it that you would have to go down (we already have a problem with people speeding down that dead end)...and its protected under the same thing happy landings is sooo it wouldn't be any different in the main concern
Greg Van Hoof June 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Lisa, Dog parks were started for people that live in high rise buildings without yards,in big cities. The last time I looked Brookfield is a Rual community were people have yards. By all means let your dog run free in your own yand.and if your concerned for your dogs safety put up a fence in your own yard. Not in an area allready protcected. It"s ashame that a small minority is putting the wants for there dogs above the Humans that live in this town and voted on this issue years ago.
Andrew Turkenkopf June 18, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Greg, you are mistaken about the reasons for dog parks and the aspects of dog socialization. I believe Lisa has kindly tried to explain the necessities of dogs being allowed this free socialization time, meeting new and different dogs and people, learning how to interact properly and be properly stimulated. Also there are many reputable online sources explaining such. Furthermore, one could argue that it is a small minority of people living next to Happy Landing's that have placed their interests above other residents' (who might have animal companions.) By all means, preserve the "natural" setting of your own backyards, which, as I understand it, the dog park attempts, by creating a small, safe area in which they can frolic. Frivolously frolic, our furry fellow friends. (I hope I got all my apostrophes correct)
Stephen June 18, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The comments by Greg and then Andrew recently AGAIN show that individuals each have different ideas about dog parks as well as everything POLITICAL. A referendum voting is a method in which our society allows each of us to express our point of view at the ballot box. Patch is another place where we, in a free society, can express our views. Unfortunately, if we as citizens cannot understand that others have different views than us and they may be just as valid as ours and that we need to COMPROMISE in order to benefit the town as a whole; unless we do this as regards important issues like town government, town budgets, we as a town will become a less desireable place to live. Here we have a relatively minor issue of putting a dog park in town. Why can't we get off our positions and THINK of reasonable solutions. The issue here seems to be the LOCATION. I think ANY location in this town will be fought against by some people. So unless there is compromise there will be NO dog park in Brookfield in my opinion.
LFerrara June 18, 2012 at 09:25 PM
In response to LA's response to this post. It is NOT just a fence. It is a double fence, along with a separate (internally) fenced in area for smaller dogs, benches, bins,an acre of grass that will be tuned to dust OR an acre of artifical grass that requires a drainage system, and possible expanded parking lot. Saying, "don't take it out on us if you have a problem with the government," is ridiculous. YOU (meaning the dog park) are exactly what we do NOT want there. In response to Concerned Brookfield Citizen, according to Mr. Davidson, there is NO real definition of "Permanently Protected Open Space"...this is why the decision on whether or not a dog park falls into that category is an OPINION...there is NO LAW. It was left at the discretion of our Conservation Committee to make this decision. Many people do not agree with the decision made by the committee, which explains why this has become a debate.
LFerrara June 18, 2012 at 09:27 PM
And furthermore...it is not "just a fence" because it's location is a BIG DEAL, obviously not to the dog park committee, but to the people who live around the property and to the town who do not agree that our open space should be used for this purpose.
Jim Marks June 18, 2012 at 09:47 PM
The best place to put a dog park in Brookfield is on Bill Davidson's desk!
Andrew Turkenkopf June 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM
*Not sure where in the comment thread this will appear. I am attempting to reply so that is appears in the right "subsection," so it is clear to which comment I am responding. This response is to Michael Norman's comment: "Andrew.. again it comes back to the point that this is protected open space based upon condition in which it was bought and voted to protect by town. That condition would be an open space, field/farm land. Which has had windmills there since at least the early 1900s. So by its CURRENT natural state as voted upon . . ." I understand what you are trying to argue, but did those windmills have fences around them in "the early 1900s?" I suspect they did not. Yet fences were constructed to accommodate legitimate safety (and other) concerns, much like fencing for a Dog Park would? Follow my reasoning?
Jim Marks June 19, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Maybe we can get all the dogs in Brookfield to have a party at his house
Andrew Turkenkopf June 19, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Let's have a virtual dog park. Give every dog an ipad!
Bobby Caselnova June 19, 2012 at 01:49 AM
This is really ridiculous that Lisa and the other supporters are still trying to force this on everybody, even though it has met enough resistance to be brought to a referendum. Are you serious Lisa? Have some respect for the rest of the town. You need to realize that it is a small MINORITY of Brookfielders who want this dog park to be at Happy Landings. Happy Landings is your last hope of a location for your dog park so you are desperately trying to get it passed. It's become a big competition with you; you want to 'win' and get your way. I can't believe your selfishness and lack of respect for your community. You want your way even if the majority of the town disagrees with you. Take a look at yourself! That is just so incredibly self-centered. You have a lot of nerve for someone who didn't even grow up in Brookfield.
Steven DeVaux June 19, 2012 at 04:58 AM
How is Brookfield's First Selectmen going to get Bridgewater's First Selectman to farm the fields if they are used for a dog park???!!! No WONDER.
Lisa Foltz Allan June 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I'm going to disagree. Just because you are not on the "dog park" side that doesn't mean we have no respect. I try to ignore the personal attacks because there's no way you know where I'm coming from or who I am. As for not growing up in Brookfield, that is correct. We looked for over 10 years for a house and neighborhood that we loved; a place where we wanted to plant our roots and raise our children. After 10 years we CHOSE Brookfield. We were not born here and here for that reason. So, to say I have a lot of nerve because I didn't grow up here gives me a bit of a different view. I really wish you hadn't said that.
Brian Boodry June 19, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Can someone explain to me why this has degenerated into attacks on our First Selectman? Someone ... please? Grind that axe elsewhere.
shannon June 19, 2012 at 02:24 PM
My family has been in brookfield longer then most family's in this town does that mean our input more important than people who haven't been here as long? Because I'm for the dog park.
Andrew Turkenkopf June 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Dog park fencing is also only for safety. Fences that only cover 3 sides and that can easily be climbed by any child worth their salt don't really make anything safer. Some people just pick and choose what is "natural" on their own whim.
Andrew Turkenkopf June 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Foremost, it is the people opposed to the Dog Park at Happy Landings that bear the responsibility for the costs of the referendum. Rather than wait until the town meeting and whatever the result of the vote at the town meeting was, they decided (for I assume some reason of strategy) to jump the gun and force the referendum, and now they blame (and some threaten, like the white-haired fellow (Giger? Geiger . . .) did in his second comment at the town meeting,) people that support the dog park? If the people opposed to building a dog park at Happy Landings had merely waited until the town meeting, there were two possible results: 1. The people opposed to the dog park win the vote, and the process is over for the time being, with respect to building the at Happy Landings, with the proponents of the Dog Park given the option of collecting signatures and petitioning for a Dog Park. 2. The vote goes the other way, and the Dog Park at Happy Landing goes forward (or too the next stop.) In this case, then the parties opposed to the plan could have submitted the signatures they had already collected and petition for a referendum to overturn the result of the town meeting. Essentially, one side jumped the gun and now blames the other side for their actions.
Andrew Turkenkopf June 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM
(cont. of my previous post beginning "Foremost, it is . . .") Furthermore, using the fact that enough signatures were collected to force a referendum and the fact that at both the BoS and town meeting, a majority of the comments were against the dog park, as an argument to cancel the referendum and accept that the 'town people are against the dog park at Happy Landings" disregards the whole process. Petitioning for a referendum is a means to an end, not the end itself. Moreover, it has been suggested that those for a Dog Park are merely a minority pushing an agenda. It can be argued, rather successfully, that such a skewed representation between the two main sides at the Town Meeting is a result of a small, vocal minority of people living next to or near Happy Landings, and also a fact that many of the arguments brought up by said people had little or nothing to do with a dog park, or at least were based on misconceptions. Overall, it is perhaps a problem with modern politics and government and the lack of involvement in (or even knowledge of) most issues unless personally affected. Also, I agree with Shannon. Bringing up how long one has lived in the town as a way to someway declare one's opinions are more valid is just wrong. I suggest if so, it should be done by percentage of age, where my 2/3's of life is probably more than the speaker who has been their 46 years.
David Propper June 22, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Being neither for nor against a dog park in general (let alone Happy Landings), since this is going to referendum, how could you say that this is going to be "forced" on anybody? If the vote is yes, that is the will of the people. If the vote is no, that is the will of the people. (And yes, not showing up is a choice so long as it is well publicized.)
JM June 22, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Bobby,That is ridiculous, you should look at some of the "leadership" iof the anti dog park side they did not grow up here. Does that mean they also have "a lot of nerve"? How do you already know its a small MINORITY who want the dog park? Have you been taking opinion polls?
JM June 22, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Brian, For some people that is all they know how to do.
Steven DeVaux June 25, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Shannon, Nah. It based on campaign contributions. Everyone knows that.
Steven DeVaux June 25, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Lisa, But what about the $2,000,000 bike path? They already built the Barking Lot and it's right next to K-9 headquarters!
LFerrara June 25, 2012 at 02:50 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? There you have it :)

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