To the Editor:
I have had the privilege and honor to have utilized property on Bridge End Farm Road for 20-plus years on Lake Zoar. It has allowed my family and me to form many close friendships and life-changing experiences. I would hope that these friendships can weather this storm as no disagreements should trump them.
I am a member of the Board of Directors and a volunteer with LOF Adaptive Skiers for over 20 years, almost since its inception. While our old site had been used for over 25 years, only over the last few years were neighbors instrumental in challenging the validity of the property for LOF, resulting in a town directive to cease operations, and offer use of the new site at Walnut Tree Hill Ballpark. We were told that as long as we did not conduct any LOF clinic activity at our original site, we could use the new site. The ballpark area would be ideal and cost-effective to transform into an ADA compliant facility which would be totally funded by LOF with no cost to the town.
In my opinion, there appears to be four hot button items.
1. Location/use near the ballfield. During every clinic there was neither a ball game nor structured practice being conducted. As long as the park gates were unlocked by 8 am, as per park regulations, there were no cars blocking/hindering traffic flow.
2. We are a business. While that may be technically the case we are a federally recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. We provide all of our services free of charge to our participants.
3. The neighbors not being informed. I will give my respect and appreciation to the director of Land Use for taking this one. In hindsight, waiting for the completion of final negotiations was probably not the thing to have done and he accepted responsibility for the action. There were never any “back door deals and covert building permit activities.”
4. Water usage. DEEP representatives found LOF to be in compliance with all water usage directives and regulations. Unsafe use of area for waterskiing was also dispelled by DEEP. The water and its use is not governed by the Town of Newtown and therefore should not be a deciding factor in granting LOF use of the property. The lake is a public lake as stated and known by all.
LOF has done everything that was asked of it, relied on the town’s commitment for our continued existence, and provided a recreational outlet that is sorely lacking within the municipality. We know most of the people opposed to our site do realize the importance and positive aspects of LOF and its goals.
If you can find it in your hearts to help us continue our mission at our ballfield location, I feel together we can help those that deserve a chance to experience the water as we do, just for once unencumbered by a disability.
160 Lasky Road, Beacon Falls, Conn. September 5, 2017