Devlin applauds land protection amendment

To better ensure protection of Connecticut-owned forests, parks, farmland and other conservation lands, State Rep. Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield & Trumbull) enthusiastically supported legislation Monday, March 21, in the Government Administration and Elections committee to constitutionally protect the state's open space.

The legislation, S.J. 36, An Amendment to the Constitution of the State to Protect Certain Property Held or Controlled by the State for Conservation, Recreation, Open Space or Agricultural Purposes would allow a 2/3 vote by each chamber in favor of selling any space, a public hearing in the town or towns where the lands are located, any legislation allowing for the sale of an open space property must be a standalone bill. This will prevent sales from being incorporated into much larger conveyance or implementer bills, which are often rushed through the legislature, and all money received for any transfer, sale or conversion of land must be used solely to replace it with similar land to be used for open space, parks, forests or farms.

This will preserve the amount of open space currently owned by the state.

“As lawmakers, we are entrusted with protecting Connecticut’s state-owned open space and a constitutional amendment would ensure that these environmental treasures will forever be preserved,” said Rep. Devlin.

Just last week, Rep., Devlin celebrated State Parks Day at the State Capitol co-sponsored by the Friends of Connecticut State Parks and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. Devlin has in the past adopted the state-owned Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, the home to Connecticut’s 9/11 Living Memorial.

According to environmental advocates, Connecticut, in recent years, has seen instances of protected land being sold by the state without proper public discussion and assessment of such sales and this legislation and proposed constitutional amendment would stop that practice.

The bill received unanimous support in the Government Administration and Elections committee March 21  and now goes to the State Senate and House of Representatives for a full floor debate and vote.