October 2014

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Name: Julie Hulten –  North Haven, CT

I oppose Quinnipiac University’s application to construct a stadia complex on Mt. Carmel Avenue.

While I do not represent the Sleeping Giant Park Association tonight, I am a member, serve on the Board as Community Outreach Chair, and am active on several committees, including Trails Crew. These interests and commitments prompt me to speak this evening.

I have attended each meeting of the Inland Wetlands Commission addressing this application. While discussions of bore holes, drainage swales, bio-filtration basins, and underground retention chambers are beyond my expertise, I do know that all must be to specification for an application to be accepted. Those specifications were developed to insure that a particular philosophy is uppermost in deliberations. The philosophy that nature is a system and, in the words of Chief Seattle, “All things share the same breath–the beast, the trees, the man.  The air shares its spirit with the life it supports.”

Over the course of testimony, it seems that each item of concern raised by the Commission has been obligingly accommodated by the University.  I have also heard frustration expressed by the applicant’s representatives that despite this, the objections continue. What the applicant seems to fail to appreciate, in my estimation, is the spirit of those objections.

John Muir, said that “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” The proposed stadia complex would not exist in a bubble and its construction would inevitably impact a wider natural and social community than boundaries might suggest.  Quinnipiac University was built on a location that sits between four trap rock ridges, a location that, by its very nature, limits expansion. Now the University feels the need to expand and local natural habitats are ‘in the way’. The challenge both to Quinnipiac and to the Commission – how to strike a balance between the letter of the law and the spirit that generated that law.

There are two specific items in the reports that I’ve read that I would like to question.

  1. “The Amphibian and Reptile Study”, which was undertaken three days in late June between 8:30 am and 2:30 pm. –
    1. How does one evaluate the presence and activities of nocturnal creatures during the day?
    2. How does one judge the accuracy of the impact statement when the study is not conducted during the times when Quinnipiac states the fields will be used: – evenings until 11 pm between February and mid-May, and mid-August to mid-November?
    3. The report’s findings indicate that the area is already degraded and the construction will have no negative impact on its ecology. According to testimony heard, Quinnipiac has repeatedly violated parameters dictated by this Commission as far back as the 1990’s. If they caused the degradation, should they then benefit from their lack of compliance?
  2. The Title IX ruling concerning equity in women’s sports at Quinnipiac, which the university maintains is the prime motivation for this project – How is this relevant to the deliberations of this Commission? Implying that a Federal ruling concerning gender equity requires suspension of local environmental restrictions is specious at best.

There is a greater environment at stake here and an ecology that should be defined not only by the letter of the law but also its spirit. I would ask the Commission and the applicant to consider both. I ask that this application be denied. Thank you.