Town must do more to make POCD work

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorThe following is an edited version of a letter sent to elected members of town government and reprinted with the author’s permission.

To the Editor

The town and it’s elected members on the Board of Selectmen and RTM have an opportunity to lead in handling land use, environmental and water management responsibility for the health and safety of its neighborhoods.

As a six-year member on RTM Land Use, some progress has been made by creating a new Low Impact Development drainage manual and some green regulations to manage impervious surface build-out. However, there are three important suggestions from Land Use’s recent public review of the POCD.

1. The town needs a new “grade plane” regulation measured to the “original” topography of a site plan (not the current three feet above and below grade). This would help to limit the poor excavation and soil fill practices, severe disturbance of hydrologic flow, serious erosion and poor grading (along with tree clear cutting practices) throughout town.

2. An environmental approval protocol for town construction and for the public’s health and that of the taxpayer. This would ensure the approval from EPA and DEEP authorities for taxpayer-funded building projects before funding is requested of BET and RTM. This “condition for approval” for projects on town-owned land that may have a history of toxic and hazardous land fill would ensure clean land fill. The taxpayer would know up front.

3. We need a Land Use and Water Management Plan that is integrated with all land use departments with active enforcement by a Wetlands Commission with authority. And there needs to be immediate long-term attention to “storm drain” below ground infrastructure. One might even consider a storm water drain infrastructure system that recycles storm water runoff, made clean in the process and then recycled to holding areas or stored in detention systems for drought conditions.

A $1.5-million taxpayer funded study resides on a shelf in Public Works calling for repair of an ancient underground storm drain infrastructure to the estimate of 65 projects and $200 million. And while $200 million may be exaggerated now it may not be if action is not taken soon and for a long-term funding plan.

This is an opportunity to build the brand of Greenwich as a “best practice” leader for careful land use and water management, making the POCD a working document, not a static one.

 

Peter Quigley
Greenwich

The author is a member of the Representative Town Meeting’s Land Use Committee from District 7.

 

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