To the Editor:

Imagine historic buildings in the Village Center gone and, in their place, a multitude of parking garages three stories high.

Zoning regulations were meant to protect the cultural and architectural history of our town, not give permission to destroy it.

Below is the proposed amendment to the New Milford Zoning regulations for the Village Center District that will do just that:

o c. Parking Facilities, both covered and uncovered, shall be permitted as a primary use subject to acquisition of a special permit and site plan approval in accordance with Chapters 175 and 180 and subject to the following conditions:

1. All off-street motor vehicle parking facilities shall comply with the provisions of Section 135-060: Off-Street Parking and Facilities Specifications, of these regulations.

2. No facility shall be greater than three (3) stories or 35' in height.

3. Landscaping shall be provided along all street fronts. The Commission may require additional landscaping or more mature planting if unusual conditions dictate more extensive screening.

Public hearing date: July 28, 2009.

The zoning regulations say the purpose of the Village Center District was created to "safeguard the heritage of the Town of New Milford, by preserving districts which reflect elements of its cultural, social, economic, political and architectural history and the stabilizing and improving of property values, the fostering of civic beauty, the strengthening of the local economy, controlling the flow of traffic and promoting the health, safety and welfare of the townspeople, by assuring orderly and integrated development."

What one should consider about this proposal:

nThe Village Center District is in our National Historic District.

nThe proposal makes parking facilities a primary use in the Village Center.

nThe proposal does not consider historic properties in the Village Center.

nThe proposal does not protect the historic properties within the district.

nThe proposal allows any property to be demolished for the use of a parking garage of up to three stories.

nThe proposal does not preserve the district to reflect our architectural history.

nThe proposal will not improve property values.

nThe proposal will increase traffic in the Village Center.

nThe proposal increases carbon monoxide emissions in a populated area.

nThe proposal does not improve quality of life in the Village Center.

nThe proposal may make a parking garage the gateway to the Village Green.

nThe proposal will allow New Milford Hospital to build a three story garage in the Village Center, as first proposed in 2003.

nThe proposal does not consider the residents of the Village Center.

One reason this regulation is being proposed is to allow parking on the site of the former Mobil Gas station to become a parking lot.

It is on the corner of West Main Street an Bridge Street.

The vacant lot cannot be built on in the foreseeable future due to the hundreds of gallons of gasoline that leaked into the soil years ago. Environmental remedies are continuing.

In order for this property and others like it to be used due to is past problems, the Trust proposes a change in the proposed regulations as follows:

c. Parking Facilities, both covered and uncovered, shall be permitted as a primary use on any site either used, or formerly used, as a service station subject to acquisition of a special permit and site plan approval in accordance with Chapters 175 and 180 and subject to the following conditions: (same as above).

The passage of this proposal will allow the paving of paradise to create more parking.

Two churches met that fate in the 1970s. They were the Methodist Church and St Francis Xavier Roman Catholic church, located on Elm Street.

Their legacy is just a pair of driveways entering a large Village Center parking lot. Should the remaining buildings on that street or other streets in the village share their fate?

If you think they should not, attend the Zoning Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 28 in the Loretta Brickley room of town hall.

Give your opinion during public participation. Don't allow another loss of our architectural heritage.

Please sign our petition at our booth on Village Fair Days against the Zoning Commission's passage of this proposed regulation: Chapter 80 Section 080-020c: Parking Facilities in the Village Center District, and then attend the Zoning Commission meeting.

Robert Burkhart,

President

New Milford Trust

for Historic Preservation