Residents Urge Council to Reconsider Wilkus Farm Swap
WETHERSFIELD - Following the Wethersfield Town Council’s unpopular decision to swap a portion of Wilkus Farm for developer Ronald Drisdelle’s Goff Road property, members were bombarded with comments from disgruntled residents, urging them to reconsider the vote--and, well, they did.
The Council passed a motion to sell the parcel known as Wilkus House and Barns to Nowak and utilize the newly-acquired Land Acquisition Trust Fund money to purchase development rights for Goff Road from Drisdelle, a move that can potentially preserve both, at its Feb. 4 meeting.
“I think it’s an opportunity to address pretty much all of the desires and statements that have been made to us,” said Councilor Jeffrey Kotkin.
Wethersfield residents had been ramping up pressure for the acceptance of Nowak’s bid because the local farmer promised to limit use of the land to agricultural purposes, while those living on Goff Road, who have been fearful of the impact blasting might have on wild life and infrastructure, expressed their concerns.
Residents that came to the podium during the public comment segment, for the first time in what may seem like awhile, were pleased.
“I think you listened to the public,” said Wethersfield resident Keith Dunlap. “And I think it’s the best decision.”
Of course, you can’t please everybody.
“I don’t know why you’re not out there to buy the entire [Goff Road] property,” said Wethersfield resident Robert Young, referring to the fact that purchasing development rights would not mean actually acquiring the land.
Deputy Mayor John Console, who voted against the motion, had similar concerns.
“I support part of the motion, but I can’t support all of it,” Console said.
Console supported selling the House and Barns to Nowak, but opposed going into the Land Acquisition Fund for Goff Road.
“Once this is over, you’ll have zero dollars in there, and you’re essentially buying the development rights for something the town won’t get anything back for,” he said.