2018 Testimony in Favor of An Act Establishing a Pilot Program for the Preservation of Open Space
February 26, 2018
To: Committee on Planning and Development
Connecticut General Assembly
From: The Connecticut Audubon Society
Re: S.B. 181
The Connecticut Audubon Society strongly supports S.B. 181, An Act Establishing a Pilot Program for the Preservation of Open Space.
Founded in 1898, the Connecticut Audubon Society is an independent organization that conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. We own and manage 20 preserves covering almost 3,300 acres in all areas of the state, and we work with landowners to help them manage their land for the benefit of birds and other wildlife.
We have consistently supported efforts by the General Assembly to increase the pace of land conservation in Connecticut, and we note that the state is still significantly behind in its goal to have 21% of the state’s land protected by 2021.
Land preservation on a significant scale requires consistent funding. We are confident that for the four towns in the pilot program the transfer fee authorized by S.B. 181 would quickly be a regular, consistent source of money to buy and preserve land. We also believe that other municipalities will see that it has succeeded and will want to take advantage of it in the future.
We think it is essential that the phrase “for a two-year period beginning July 1, 2018” be deleted from the bill. The only chance S.B. 181 has to be successful is for it to continue for many years.
Similar transfer fees have been immensely effective in New York and Massachusetts. We firmly believe S.B. 181 will succeed on its own and will open the door to greater land conservation statewide.
Patrick M. Comins