Sep 4, 2013
05:49 AM
The Connecticut Story

Connecticut Preservation Advocates Hail New Plum Island Zoning

Connecticut Preservation Advocates Hail New Plum Island Zoning

AP Photo/ARS-USDA/File

People working to preserve Plum Island on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound welcomed the help of the Southold, N.Y., Town Board, which last week unanimously approved zoning for Plum Island that would prevent residential development there.

But that doesn’t mean Connecticut advocates and officials are going to stop trying to pass a federal law to preserve Plum Island and/or get the federal General Services Administration to transfer ownership to another federal agency, such as the Fish & Wildlife Service, they said Tuesday.

“This local zoning decision is tremendously welcomed and tremendously significant in halting any possible commercial development and preserving Plum Island as open space. But there are a number of red flags that have to be raised,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Chief among his concerns is that “what is decided by the zoning commission now could be undone and changed by a zoning commission later,” Blumenthal said. “So the only real guarantee here and — and a highly necessary safeguard — is a federal law that protects the open space.”

Blumenthal also said there is potential, however unlikely, that local zoning could be overridden “if somehow the sale were structured to attach a condition to the deed that allowed or required commercial development.

“I think ... this decision is very important, but it should not be the last word, legally and practically speaking,” said Blumenthal, who just two weeks ago led a trip out to Plum Island, along with U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2, to highlight its value as a natural resource that should be preserved.

The federal government plans to sell Plum Island if it follows through with plans to move the Plum Island Animal Disease Center to a new, higher-security $1.4 billion facility it proposes to build in Manhattan, Kan.

Read the full article at New Haven Register online.


Connecticut Preservation Advocates Hail New Plum Island Zoning

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