I found the 8-24 referral for 45, 49, 53, and 57 Wesley Drive and associated correspondence (attached). This was in 2017 and although the 8-24 referral does reference the “sale, lease, and/or license” of city property, at the time we were told this was for a license to protect the City from liability. Comment from Ruth Parkins: “I think everyone is in agreement that we don’t want it sold, we want it open space.” But then they approved the 8-24 (apparently, it’s actually hard to say from the minutes which way they voted, but Rick was there and he prepared the referral response).
I searched BOA minutes and could not find this topic discussed. Under state law, I believe BOA is required to approve any sale of property.
A side question this brings up for me is if an 8-24 goes out and a property is leased or license for some years, does it need to go out for another 8-24 if it is later sold? Because that would be a change in the use of the property (from licensed open space to private property). Or does that first 8-24 for the “sale, lease, and/or license” mean any or all of those three options can be done in the future without further notice? Let’s say we have a hayfield on open space that’s been licensed for farming for thirty years. Can that property be sold at any time without an 8-24 because maybe the original 8-24 thirty years ago included “sale” in the verbiage?
I looked up P&Z’s meeting minutes, and I don’t know how well they were transcribed, but here they are: E. 8-24 Referral: 45, 49, 53 and 57 Wesley Drive: negotiate sale, lease or license of city owned property Richard Schultz: As soon as you get to the new Subdivision on the right hand side as you are going up the hill, there are 4 single family dwellings. Accordingly from the Mayor’s office I am requesting an 8-24 Referral to the P&Z Commission for allowing the Mayor to negotiate the sale, lease and or license of said property for the purpose of resolving encroachment issues over the name of John Bashar. Comm. Harger: How long has this situation-? Richard Schultz: For several years. The Conservation Commission sent a letter to John Bashar (Rick is reading letter) Comm. Pogoda: If that portion is sold off to property owner and it is close to trail, “like hey, what are you doing on my property” then it’s sold off to them. Comm. Matto: I don’t know if there is a trail there. The guy put a fence over here. Richard Schultz: (September 8 letter from the City Engineer, read by Richard Schultz). Anthony Panico: What was the origin of that open space? Richard Schultz: Huntington Road. Anthony Panico: Was it all a part of --? Richard Schultz: They consciously did it. It’s very difficult for Conversation to describe. Comm. Harger: The home owners have to pay the City? Richard Schultz: It depends on the agreement; it could be a lease, it could be an easement. Comm. Harger: But it’s the homeowners that are going to pay for it. Comm. Parkins: Yes. Comm. Kelly: The idea is that’s it going to be their property though. Anthony Panico: I don’t think they are talking about selling it. Comm. Parkins: It’s an option. They have to put all scenarios out there. Comm. Parkins: It’s a Conservation issue. Comm. Matto: I think it should be open space enforced. Richard Schultz: The Board of Alderman has the final say. Comm. Parkins: I think everyone is in agreement that we don’t want it sold, we want it open space. Comm. Harger: Rick, are you talking about this is off Mohegan? Richard Schultz: Off Buddington.
Natural Resources Manager
City of Shelton
54 Hill Street, Shelton, CT 06484
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No, at the time we were being told that the land was going to be licensed, not sold. I believe that’s what people thought they were voting on. That’s what I was told, and if you read Conservation’s letter it is clearly reacting to the properties being licensed. In particular, there was a small area with a swimming pool and there were liability concerns (49 Wesley). The other properties just had a little bit of lawn but they got swept up in the issue. That’s why the P&Z members had no memory of an 8-24 for the sale of open space.
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I thought it was being leased and later sold, but I’m not sure. Not about the status of the neighboring properties that got swept into this. They might be under license. They don’t seem to have been sold.
Another aspect to this I think gets misrepresented is the neighboring properties (of 49 Wesley). Those people bought homes where the developer had cleared somewhat into the open space and then planted grass seed. They have tiny backyards. All the homeowners did was mow the grass that had been planted very close to their houses, just a few feet into the open space. The encroachments are minor in area. #49 is much different. The developer cleared far into the open space for grading purposes and then stabilized with grass seed. Their lawn therefore goes much further into the open space (about 70 feet). And then they installed a chain link fence around all of it and a playset in the center. And finally they installed their swimming pool right on the property line after telling ZBA that they had a surveyor and would be sure not to encroach upon the property line.