Zoning Commission's Long Ridge Road Decision Praised (Letter to the Editor)

Long Ridge Road resident praises Zoning decision and criticizes Bethel's conduct.



  Mr. Knickerbocker's reaction to the denial of Bethel's zoning exception application is no surprise. (See Editor's note below letter.) But in the interest of accuracy and fairness let me correct a few of his comments.

Mr. Knickerbocker stated six Danbury residents objected. The fact is eleven residents spoke in opposition and 69 residents signed a petition in opposition.  That's 80 Danbury residents on Long Ridge Road who objected, not six.

Mr. Knickerbocker stated the commission ignored written testimony by many Danbury residents.  The fact is only two Danbury residents wrote in favor.

Mr. Knickerbocker stated Bethel's application fully addressed the concerns of residents. The fact is every application made for this tank continues to locate the tank in the same unacceptable location. A massive industrial structure on a scenic residential road is unacceptable no matter how much dirt you pile around it. Clearly this concern has never been addressed.

Mr. Knickerbocker stated Bethel has been a good neighbor. The fact is Bethel allows their reservoirs on Long Ridge Road to be used for fishing, swimming, promiscuity, drug use and dumping.  Never has Bethel lifted a finger to stop this abuse, or clean up after those they allow to abuse it. In addition, Bethel sued Danbury after their previous application was denied. How neighborly is that?

Bethel has failed to prove no other location for the tank is possible. Bethel continues to say the selected location is the only feasible location. The selected location may be the most cost effective location, but it is not the only possible location. Bethel has cost Danbury taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees and has spent thousands of dollars on fancy architectural drawings, but refuses to spend money on a more appropriate location.

Bethel has not proved a hardship deserving of a zoning exception. Wishing to pay less for this tank does not constitute a hardship. Any resident on Long Ridge Road wishing to put a similar structure on their property would also be denied.  Danbury has the legal right to enforce zoning laws.

Bethel needs to stop crying, stop lying and start trying to do it right.  The only thing stopping Bethel from getting the water storage they desire is selecting a location that is both legal and socially responsible.

Stephen Szurlej

(Editor's Note: The letter writer responds to a letter to the editor by Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker. To see that letter, click here.

To See City Council Member Duane Perkin's response to the Zoning Decision, click here.)

Don Goodrich October 01, 2012 at 11:50 AM
I agree Bill. Obviously the Danbury government officials don't seem to care to help a neighbor even though two tanks used for its residents located on Bethel land have been in use for many years. Danbury must believe itself more important than a small town like Bethel. Taking those two towers would not be something Bethel would do, We are too decent and wouldn't do that to the Danbury citizens who rely on tose tanks. Too bad Danbury doesn't feel the same.
Bill Hillman October 01, 2012 at 02:34 PM
It's a water tank! No, It's a Cell Tower... it's BOTH! http://www.wirelessadvisor.com/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=980
FacToyed October 01, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Please explain why a zoning exception approval is needed when the land has been used by Bethel for community water needs since way before zoning laws and the use of the land is the same use it has always been. Can you enact zoning regulations after the fact to restrict a farm or factory or reservoir that has existed and used the land continuously for that same purpose for over a century?
Admiral Obvious October 02, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Oh my god, there are fisherman allowed there!! He's right this property is out of control!! If the property is in Danbury then it's Danbury law enforcements responsibility to stop any criminal activity, all of which occurs at all bodies of water in every municipality. It's not Bethels fault that occurs. This writer is obviously biased, he needs to remember that the needs of the many out way the needs, or pig headedness, of the few. It was all right for those peoples houses to be built on Long Ridge ,back in the day, and destroy natures beauty ,but progress necessitated they be built just like the water towers. I live in Danbury and cant stand Knickerbocker, but enough already grow up and get in touch with reality and give them the towers.
Brian October 02, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I find all of this so funny yet sad. It's okay for Danbury to have their water tanks on Bethel property but not for Bethel to have its water tanks on Danbury's property......But let's keep racking up more and more court fees and overtime folks. In all reality I have to applaud Danbury for saying no to Bethel on this project. It is HIGH TIME that Bethel officials come to terms that Bethel is a small town and cannot handle any more poorly thought out building projects. That means no more 200 unit condo complexes or "redeveloping" downtown into a high density housing commuter center. Hopefully Danbury will hold firm with this and eventually Bethel officials will catch on that if you don't have easily accessable water you can't build on every open inch of land in this town. Give it a few more years and you won't be able to tell if you are in Danbury or Bethel.....Or my worst fear Yonkers !!!!! OMG


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