Listeners Club

Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!


Local Headlines

Land for animal sanctuary in Newtown awaits Governor's signature

A legacy of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School is working its way through the approval process. 


34.44 acres for an animal sanctuary, wildlife preserve, or other nature preservation purpose is the subject of a bill that was approved in the final hours of the legislative session.  The bill conveying several parcels of land to various entities awaits the Governor's signature.  For this parcel, the state reserves a 50-foot-wide easement along the length of the property to allow ingress and egress to other state lands and for agricultural purposes


If approved, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall convey to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation a parcel of land located in Newtown, for just the administrative costs of making the conveyance. The parcel of land is next to the Housatonic Railroad right-of-way property line, an open space Newtown plans to use for economic development and on two sides by land conveyed to Newtown along Deep Brook.


The Foundation plans to construct a welcome center, barns and other facilities for animals.


Jennifer Hubbard, Catherine's mother, submitted testimony to the legislature about the Foundation's plans, calling it a legacy for her daughter and a place for the community to heal.  In her letter, she said that if Catherine was fortunate enough to catch a butterfly she would whisper to it to tell its friends that she was kind and gently nudge it to fly away.  But her mom says Catherine's whisper was silenced on December 14th.  Jenny says the Sanctuary will enrich the lives of all beings by promoting compassion , acceptance and determination.  Programs will focus on cat and dog rescue and adoption, farm animal refuge, native wildlife rehabilitation, agricultural preserve and humane education and nature based workshops.  The workshops could include Jane Goodall's "Roots and Shoots", a community garden and plow-to-table instruction.  The Foundation has created a five-year financial plan to get the Sanctuary up and running.  FreeKibble has committed to feeding all dogs there in perpetuity .  Architects , landscapers and veterinarians have committed their services as well.  The plans call for working with the existing meadows, forests and treelines along with refurbishing nature trails. 


Trout Unlimited Candlewood Valley chapter President Stephen Zakur submitted testimony with concerns about the property abutting Deep Brook, which is home to a wild trout population.  He notes that the Chapter, through grants and donations over the last decade has invested $250,000 of work on the stream and thousands of volunteer hours.  He says the land was previously transferred to Newtown with a restriction that it be used for open space and recreation.  He is concerned with the clearing of forest lands, construction of roads and strain on the resources.  They describe the property as having steep slopes, no access road and being hidden from public view.


Newtown Deputy Director of Planning and Land Use Robert Sibley submitted testimony supporting the proposed animal sanctuary saying that it is consistent with the updated Plan of Conservation and Development.  First Selectman Pat Llodra submitted testimony saying that Catherine's love of animals provided the springboard for her parents to work for several months to create the infrastructure necessary for a project that rightly honors their lost daughter.  She called the parcel the ideal spot.


Newtown resident Joseph Hovious is an environmental engineer and has consulted for the town's Conservation Commission, of which he is a member, and also for Trout Unlimited Candlewood Valley chapter and the Pootatuck Watershed Association.  Apart from those roles, he says much of his work over the past 9 years has been on the water quality of Deep Brook.  He says while sympathetic to the efforts of the Foundation, the suggested level of development and buffer zones are not defined.

On Air Now

Handel on the Law

Local Headlines