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THE Spruce

June, 2006


Development Opposition || Tribute to Stan Nichols || Commerce Drive
Leaf Grant || Protecting Beavers || Trails Day || Land Trust Convocation

Newsletter Index || Home

Trust Opposes Development Plan

The Trust has voiced strong opposition to the proposed construction of 16 condominium units on 2 acres of land in the Commerce Drive area.

In March, Members of the Board of Directors voted affirmatively to oppose the Commerce Drive development. Land Trust representatives also appeared before the Shelton Planning & Zoning Commission in April, and again, in May to speak in strong opposition to the planned construction.

The building site fronts directly on the Far Mill River (Commerce Drive side of river across from Mill Street) and is bracketed on both sides by river front open space owned by the Trust.

Proposing to utilize Shelton's questionable PDD floating zone process, the developer even asked to reduce the required set back from Land Trust property from 25 feet to 20 feet. Paved access and parking areas would abut directly up to the Trust's open space.

Ideally the Trust would like to see the City buy this water-front parcel for open space. If not feasible, the Trust is urging the members of P&Z to provide at least a 75-foot buffer along the open space boundary. The proposal was still before the P&Z when this issue went to press.

Trust Pays Tribute to Stanley Nichols         (index)

The Trust was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Stanley Nichols. Stan, a friend of conservation and the environment, died earlier this year in a boating accident, while on vacation in the Galapagos Islands.

Nichols was instrumental in seeing that Nicholdale Farm was purchased for open
space instead of development. He gave the Trust the time it needed to raise funds to purchase the Nicholdale parcel in 1991.

In appreciation for his many contributions, and support, the Trust planted several trees on Earth Day weekend, in a tribute area, dedicated in his memory. A picnic table is also planned for the area as well.

Maybeth Banks and Bruce Nichols plant trees
Marybeth Banks and Bruce Nichols share the
planting chores at the new memorial site.
Bruce Plants a Tree
Bruce Nichols, Stan's son carries a new tree.

Memorial Grove
Over 30 trees were planted in the memorial near Route 110.


Commerce Drive Improvements         (index)
Along Trust Property

President Joe Welsh has been busy this spring monitoring the construction and improvements to Commerce Drive. The Trust agreed to deed a 10-wide strip of its land to the City in order to allow the road improvements to go forward.

In return, the City has promised to repair and improve the outflow from drainage pipes discharging storm water from the corporate towers onto Trust property along the Far Mill River.

Tremendous water outflow from these pipes has seriously eroded portions of the Trust property, and caused siltation of the Far Mill River. Joe has been visiting with the contractor on site and has met with the City engineer to make sure the drainage is improved, and that the City follows through with some promised tree plantings.

Joe is also actively seeking to have a strip of land, created by the road realignment, deeded to the Trust.

Trust Receives Iroquois Leaf Grant          (index)

The Trust is, once again, the proud recipient of another LEAF Grant from the Iroquois Gas Company. The latest announcement came just as the Trust was completing its first LEAF grant and WHIP funding project. That project included field restoration and clearing of invasive plants at Nicholdale.

This latest funding will be used to improve a portion of the Shelton Rec Path that passes through the Trust's Lane Street parcel. That project was part of a proposal developed last fall in conjunction with the folks of the Shelton Trails Committee.

The existing rec path runs alongside the edge a hay field on the Lane Street parcel, and does impact some of the lots hay yield. The Trust has been very lucky to have a local farmer annually hay our Lane Street parcel (Haying helps to maintain desirable habitat for certain wildlife species, and control growth of invasive plants.)

Under the new project proposal, the path will be moved closer to the woods edge. That will result in improved hay production, and improved control of an area that has become overgrown with invasive plant species.

This proposal also includes the installation of a wider handicap accessible boardwalk, which will be constructed (after wetland approval) by dedicated Shelton Trails Volunteers. Stay tuned for other progress reports on this site. Better yet, why not come join us on trails day for a first-hand look at the area.

Trust Acts to Protect Beaver Family          (index)

The Trust was excited to learn this spring that a family of beavers has set up housekeeping on the Mean's Brook. Both the City, and the Land Trust own open space property adjacent to the Mean's Brook River.

The beavers have been erecting a dam and have built a lodge.

"It's just amazing to see them gnawing through 14-inch diameter trees," said Marybeth Banks, former Trust President. Humorously, they (the beavers) apparently do not see the benefit of leaving alone those trees marked with Land Trust wildlife habitat protection zone signs. "We must have posted our signs on some pretty tasty trees," said President Joe Welsh.

The beaver dam however has been blamed for water backing up into some yards, leading the City to look into possible eradication of the beavers. Apprised of this development, the Board of Directors voted to formally oppose any disturbance of the Beaver family. The Board further approved an offer to pay 1/2 of the costs of a "Beaver- Dam, Pond-Leveling Device," with the other 1/2 paid by the City Conservation Commission. That device would help prevent the water level from get ting too high.

The Trust will keep you informed as this issue progresses.

Beaver swims in Means Brook.

Trees felled by beavers
Trees felled by beavers.

Trails Day          (index)

Celebrate trails day on June 3 with folks from the Shelton Trails Committee and the Shelton Land Conservation Trust. Join us for the Bridge-to-Bridge Hike. This 4.9-mile hike, through the Shelton Lakes Greenway, starts at Pine Lake on Shelton Ave, and ends in Huntington Center. The hike starts at 10:30 AM (rain date Sunday June 4 at 1 PM). This hike follows the Shelton Recreation Path through a diverse landscape featuring old reservoirs, vernal pools, unique rock outcroppings, and old stonewalls. For more info visit

Visit us at the Huntington Green          (index)

Stop by and meet some or the Land Trust folks at our booth on the Huntington Green on June 4th. We will have info on invasive plants, and other Trust news. We hope to have a couple fund raising raffles as well. Hope to see you there.

Land Trust Convocation          (index)

A few of our members attended the 23rd Annual Convocation of Connecticut Land Trusts this past March. It was an intense day with several workshops where we were able to learn about the latest land trust topics ranging from land protection and stewardship, organizational structure, financial responsibility, new computer and satellite technology, and many other interesting topics.

There were over 200 people attending and we were able to talk with other attendees dealing with similar issues and concerns. The healthy exchange of comments, suggestions, and ideas helps to promote successful resolution to many of these issues.

PO Box 2276 - Huntington Station
Shelton, CT 06484

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