PLAINVILLE - Several Plainville residents continued to speak in opposition to having a bike trail come through town at Monday’s council meeting, citing concerns about privacy, safety and litter.
Residents Katherine LaBella and Joel Edman have been spearheading the opposition to the trail and both read long statements listing their reasons during the public comment section of the meeting. They were joined by residents Roberta Lauria (of the Conservation Commission), Kathleen Cooke, Carrie Zack, Marilyn Shorette, Joanne Edman and David Spencer.
LaBella cited potential environmental impacts as well as potential impact to the historic mule haul trail, which runs behind homes on Hollyberry Lane and which the Plainville Historic Center hopes to save.
“The Planning & Zoning Commission is charged to work with the Inland Wetland and Watercourses Commission to establish a policy of no net loss of wetlands and to insure that all wetlands and adjacent upland areas are maximally protected from development,” said LaBella. “The commission is charged with developing a policy for no net loss of vernal pools. P&Z is charged with limited development in flood zones. Yet, the trail goes over streams, through wetlands, through portions of the floodplain and portions of the aquifer protection zone.”
“You have heard from Hollyberry Lane residents that the proposed path, as well as a proposed development, will affect wetlands and spawning pools in their neighborhood,” she continued. “Worse yet, you have heard that this proposed path directly impacts the mule haul trail, a historic piece of Plainville’s heritage.”
Joel Edman said that last Monday a person was shot twice on a trail in Hamden. He also brought up how Melissa Millan was stabbed to death three years ago on a trail in Simsbury. He then complained about the handling of the recent Gap Closure Trail Study meeting held in October at Plainville High School, which he compared to a “dog and pony show.”
“As Town Council members and town manager I cannot understand how you could have the unmitigated gaul to even consider this proposed trail gap closure not even having an idea of the cost but also the neighborhood upheavals this will cause them,” said Edman. “The trail will be forever. Not so for railroads. Put the trail closure on hold until the railroad’s 3.05 mile straight line through Plainville outlives its usefulness like the other 81 miles that converted over to trail. The real nice thing about using the existing railroad bed is that it does not need clearing of trees and the base is already there. It’s sad; so sad, so bad. No rail, no trail.”
Lauria echoed Edman’s sentiment of “no rail, no trail.”
“I oppose any trail or alignment that will have any impact on any neighborhood in town,” she said. “The presentation we got was very one sided and focused on benefits to users and nothing about safety or benefits to the town.”