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SUSTAINABLE SAYBROOK SURVEY RESULTS
Sustainable Saybrook and the Old Saybrook Conservation Commission would like to thank everyone who participated in our recent survey. With your help we were able to meet our goal of over 200 responses. We wanted to learn more about what residents thought would keep Old Saybrook a great place to live for years to come – and they were happy to tell us!
We found widely diverse opinions about particulars, but many common themes on broader issues. Most people hoped Old Saybrook could be kept much as it is today. People recognized its historic charm and natural beauty and felt that a better informed public would better maintain those characteristics. Citizens were realistic about their desires, often citing a need to balance environment, prosperity, taxes, school, social and recreational activities. Those who participated indicated their desire to ‘go greener’ – either with community gardens, bike paths, and open spaces, energy conservation and reliability, or by meeting the challenges of climate change and severe weather.
Needs and Improvements
Residents shared nuanced views on economic development, preferring to encourage businesses that provided career employment over retail development. The strongest support was for both professional and light industrial companies that are technology based. However, local retail along Main Street was overwhelmingly regarded as an asset to the community. Safety for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians on Main Street, competition from big box stores on Route 1, and the number of vacant business properties were often named as areas of special concern.
Respondents also listed affordability and livability, particularly for young families, as an issue that could impact Old Saybrook’s future.
What we can do
The survey responses showed that Sustainable Saybrook and the Conservation Commission can do more in the following areas: walking and biking, landscaping alternatives, energy conservation, open space acquisition, and, an emerging issue, sea level rise.
Sustainable Saybrook and the Conservation Commission are currently working on many of these issues. We are currently seeking grants for a public lecture series to address those topics, among others. We are in the process of entering the CT Solar Challenge, a program that will offer lower than market rates to residents and businesses that are interested in installing PV panels. And we will be continuing an effort to improve energy use in municipal buildings. The Conservation Commission is working on an initiative with the Board of Selectmen to address sea level rise. And, amidst repeated concerns for ‘greenness’ and open space, the Conservation Commission’s determination of high priority parcels for acquisition includes ‘The Preserve’, which now the town has an opportunity to protect.
Finally, we learned that while many citizens are active in town issues, even more would like to get involved. If you are one of those people, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the town’s Land Use Department at (860) 395-3131 so we can work together to keep Old Saybrook such a wonderful place!
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