To the Editor:

We recently discovered the Inland Wetlands Commission of the town of New Milford has approved a request for the construction and operation of an industrial crushing/grinding/pulverizing facility right smack in the middle of the Still River wetlands area.

This is not your ordinary wetland area. Rather, it is a watershed area, a flood plain absorption area, a riparian waterway area, a source of water that runs north and empties into the Housatonic River.

This is not your small backyard frog pond area, this is a river that, through the stewardship of the Still River Alliance and many on the New Milford Conservation Commission, along with concerned townsfolk, have brought this water course from a Class C (polluted and filled with debris, and environmentally unsound) to almost a Class A waterway which nourishes the environment and the natural living organisms, plants and wildlife within.

This is a waterway and wetlands bordered in part by two, town-owned open space parcels and also by the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust.

Was this just an oversight by the Wetlands Commission. Nope, no oversight here.

They even had to grant a variance to the proposal before it could be accepted, approved and passed along to the Zoning Commission.

And you might ask, why was a variance necessary? Well, because the facility needed a larger footprint in the wetlands than would meet the existing code requirements.

And you might ask, since variances are granted only for existing hardships, what was the hardship? I cannot find any reasonable or common sense hardship for the property owner.

The only hardship I can find is the hardship imposed on the citizens of New Milford, especially those neighbors living on June Road, Turkey Trot Drive and Pumpkin Hill.

If this proposed industrial facility goes through, those living in the neighborhood will be subjected to noises from the heavy machinery and tri-axle dump trucks loading and off-loading during the daylight hours.

They and many others will be significantly impacted by the flow of heavy trucks across the narrow Cross Road bridge and down Aldrich Road, currently designated a New Milford scenic road. Can the bridge carry 40 tons?

I can think of yet another hardship for the area - pollution.

With the airborne and waterborne particulates coming from the open-air industrial grinding of concrete, glass, road asphalt, asphalt shingles (asphalt naturally contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are carcinogenic and may put recycling workers at risk. Leaching and airborne PAHs have remained below detectable levels in most testing.

Who knows whatever else may be in those trucks during the dumping, loading and outdoor storage of these materials.

I can forsee problems, yes, a hardship, for the health of the wetlands and health of the nearby residents.

This is a proposal that should have failed through due process of the town regulations.

Where are our environmentalists when we need them?

Where is common sense when we need it?

Geoff Harrington

Realtor

Weichert Real Estate