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Golf Cart, Wildlife Feeding Laws on Tonight's Agenda

The ordinance committee is holding a special meeting tonight with hopes of hashing out the details on a few sometimes controversial items that were last heard by the Stratford Town Council on Jan. 9.

A law that would allow golf carts on town roads. A proposal to move the Town Council's meeting time up 45 minutes. A law that prohibits the feeding of wildlife in any public place.

Those are three of the items up for discussion Monday night when the ordinance committee holds a special meeting and preceding public forum in at 7 p.m.

The ordinance committee is made up exclusively of Town Council membership.

Golf Carts

There is a proposal on the table that would allow golf carts on town roads that have posted speed limits of 25 mph or less.

Councilman Chris Barnaby (R-1) sponsored the proposed law after his constituents in Lordship told him it would "add another dimension" to their community.

However, according to Councilwoman Stephanie Philips (D-2), the law must be applicable to the entire town, not just a section of it.

A group of residents from the shoreline community spoke in favor of the proposal during a recent public forum. But one resident said narrow streets outside of the first district would be dangerous for golf carts to travel on.

And according to a Patch poll, .

Other issues yet to be resolved include potential liability problems for the town and how the law would be enforced.

Meeting Time Change

The Town Council is exploring the idea of moving its meeting time up 45 minutes, from 8 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

because if the meeting time is moved up, the preceding public forum also has to be changed to an earlier time.

According to the current Stratford Town Council Rules of Procedure, if the Council meeting were to start at 7:15 p.m., the public forum would have to begin at 6 p.m. Several residents said that would hinder commuters from participating in thier local government.

However, Town Council members can amend those rules.

Wildlife Feeding

A new law passed by Council members in November . It also put restrictions on feeding wildlife on private property, which included slapping a minimum height requirement on bird feeders.

At a recent public forum, a resident asked the Council why, under the law, every park had to be prohibited. She asked if the law could be changed to allow the feeding of ducks at one town park.

Stratford resident John O'Leary, who contacted Patch via email in December, said the ordinance is unfair to birds.

"It may be a bad winter for birds in Stratford this year if this ordinance as written is allowed to stand," O'Leary wrote.

The ordinance committee will address these concerns tonight. The meeting is open to the public. 

What are your thoughts on the proposals which the ordinance committee will look to flesh out tonight? Tell us in the comments.

George E. Mulligan January 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Stratford Town Council Ordinance Committee Meeting Issues: 1) Start Time of Town Council Meetings; 2) Effect on Public Forum start 3) Public Forum AMOUNT of time to Speak &/or speak again same night Start time: 7:00 PM Location: Town Hall Council Chamber Occurs: 1/23/2012 First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble the freedom of the press Congress shall make no law the right of the people peaceably to assemble Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Robert Chambers January 23, 2012 at 01:24 PM
As long as they are insured and the drivers are licensed so when they crash into stuff it gets fixed I have no problems with it.
Jezebel282 January 23, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Seriously? Golf carts? This is a problem that confronts the Town? How many residents own golf carts? Would that be 1 or 2? This takes up not only a Council meeting but the entire Ordinance Committee? How many signatures were on the petition demanding equal treatment for golf carts? I know! Ask the Town Attorney to issue an opinion. At $150/hour it should only cost taxpayers a few thousand dollars. What a waste of time.
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 23, 2012 at 03:21 PM
A couple comments on the Stratford Patch Facebook page: Kathy Chirsky: "Part of being a child is to feed the ducks.." Vincent Caizzi "And being an adult, I love feeding the ducks at Bonds Dock" http://www.facebook.com/StratfordPatch
Baseball Mom January 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM
This town is getting to be too much. The wildlife law was put in because somebody go mad about ferral cats or stepping in duck poop. I can't believe you cannot feed the ducks which is something I think every Stratford child has done either at Bond's Dock, Birdseye Boat Launch, Wooster or Longbrook. Nobody swims in Wooster or Longbrook so what is the harm. What a bout the Duck Pond on East Main Street is that town owned? We stopped feeding our own cat outside and guess what the 2 ferral cats in the neighborhood and the racoons now knock over my garbage cans every night. So that is prettier? Much more healtier for us picking up all my garbage every morning.
Karen E Daden January 23, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Union benefits increase year after year, the town is strapped for cash, school buildings need repair and feeding wildlife and golf carts take up the town council's time. You have got to be kidding me. First, only Lordship is set up for golf carts - let them do it. Anyone with common sense(which seems to be missing from town council members) can see that it would be ok for Lordship. Feeding wildlife - given what is currently happening at the old Remington Gun Club - reeds and trees have been cut down by the current occupiers of the Gun Club. They have destroyed habitat of birds and deer. I was under the impression they were there to help wild life. Feeding wildlife on my private property is my right. The Town Council really should be involved in trying to get this town back to a fiscal balance. Really a special meeting for golf carts and ducks. The important issues of union benefits out stripping taxpayers ability to pay, economic development, improved schools -- these are the issues which desperatly need to be addressed now.
Pam January 23, 2012 at 06:20 PM
The problem is not in feeding the ducks so much as WHAT people feed the ducks. If they stuck to feed that was healthy for them, there would not be so much of a problem. But so many people send their kids to the ponds with left over "Fruit Loops" and other sugary cereals. If the ducks don't eat what is thrown, it is left for the larger animals such as possums, skunks, racoons and rats to finish. Is this good for wildlife?And would you want this scenerio in your backyard?
Jezebel282 January 23, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Actually, Oronoque is better suited to golf carts.
Robert Chambers January 23, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Bread and circuses, it keeps attention on the fiscal precipice the town finds itself on with no thought of solutions.
Kevin Schneck January 23, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Once again our town a sunk to the punchline of more jokes! Let's have a useless meeting about trivial topics while we watch the towns around us pick themselves up by the bootstraps. How do we expect to attract any sort of business or commerce when the headlines make us look like a joke. I doubt anyone reading the papers thinks Stratford is a viable venue for anything but political in fighting and laughable ordinances. We need to do better, we deserve better.
George E. Mulligan January 23, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Please attend & SPEAK against changing the TIME of Town council Meeting and Speak in favor of MORE TIME for CITIZENS to address the Town Council. Mayor & Department heads MONTHLY. - Kinda sick thought = irony: If you feed BREAD to the DUCKS and if they choked on the bread, would they be pre-stuffed for the oven? Is that a GREAT IDEA for selling Chickens & Turkeys, prestuffed? - I see more Seagulls at McDonalds than the beach. - I think feeding and caring for animals is a good thing, despite bad humor. That is one reason I respect Marion Perreira. Living on Social Security income, it is difficult to afford some repairs. However setting aside some money to pay for Veterinary care, cat food, kitty litter, and that stuff is a nurturing, mother/father thing to do. Yes, Marion does it for herself and the feeling it gives her. Yet, Marion is not mean spirited. Marion was in her own home, bothering NO ONE and the CATS were inside CATS. Marion was charged with ANMAL CRUELTY? Stratford MURDERED her 20 CATS Stratford came into her home. Stratford seized her property and kept her from supervising! SPEAK UP - ATTEND TOWN COUNCIL MEETING & ASK for MORE SPEAKING TIME!
Shirley B. Backus January 23, 2012 at 11:44 PM
The new law against feeding wildlife is short-sighted and mean-spirited. It's not like we're feeding bears and crocodiles here. As long as we're not trying to make pets out of wildlife, I see no harm in helping them find food during the tough winter months, especially since we've destroyed nearly all of the woodlands in the area so they are unable to fend for themselves. Those who don't want to see wildlife should move to a New York Condo and live on pavement. Let us enjoy our back yards and help wildlife live through the winter - scrap this stupid law now!
Robert Chambers January 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM
When feeding wildlife is outlawed, only outlaws will feed wildlife. Yet another stupid statute that should never have been written. In fact I'd think the next mayor should go through the town of Stratford's book of lame regulations and start highlighting the more idiotic ones and get them removed. Here's a stupid one, the one about no pellet guns or airsoft or paintball guns. So you can go out and buy yourself a nice high-powered rifle but heaven forbid you want to participate in paintball or airsoft and have your own gear in town.. oh no, can't be trusted with that. idiotic. And that's just one!
Donna Rae Henault Caporaso January 24, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I've lived in Stratford 51 years. If I could sell my house I'd leave it. It's government is inaccessible at all levels and incompetent in many. The residents of the town elected these officials. I often wonder how people base their choice when voting. More friend/emotion based then common sense or research I suspect. We have great wildlife in this town. Some come here to eat natural food when the areas they live in freeze over, some that live here go to other places to winter to find their natural food. If people didn't feed the ducks, they'd be fine. They would go where the food is. I see no reason though to spend time and money on a "no feeding" ordinance. If they want to help the wildlife then pass tougher litter laws (do the River Clean Up in May and you will be AMAZED at what is in our River and Marshes!). They need to educate the residents on the hazardous of fishing line to the waterfowl and Gulls (you'll see many Gulls with hooks hanging off them at the docks). They need to purchase the "commercial" land that once was part of the Great Meadows and reclaim it back to the marshes and other lots in that area - with town, federal and/or state money. These are things that will help wildlife. Protecting our natural resources - the Housatonic and the Marshes is what will help the wildlife and protect the livelihood of those who depend on them.
Robyn Greenspan January 24, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Residents are free to feed the birds, speak to councilmembers in the public forum and be safe from golf carts for another month -- nothing was decided in the Ordinance Meeting tonight.
Tom January 24, 2012 at 03:55 AM
In a matter of one month: one 12 year old we know is losing his home and his family is looking for alternative housing and a fourty year old mother of one just got downsized at her job and had her benefits taken away. Very sad.
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 24, 2012 at 06:40 AM
UPDATE FROM TONIGHT'S MEETING Both the proposed meeting time change and the wild life feeding law was tabled at tonight's ordinance committee meeting. The proposed golf cart law was stricken from the agenda and will be further debated by the town's traffic authority.
Ron Moreau January 24, 2012 at 01:20 PM
...and money.
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 24, 2012 at 06:15 PM
For those interested parties: I have updated the golf cart law story. Here's the link: http://patch.com/A-qbNP
Barbara Northup January 24, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Before your meeting tonight on GOLF CARTS, I would advise checking the speed limits on the roads in Lordship. Speed limit signs I see read OVER 25 miles per hour!
Jason Bagley (Editor) January 24, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Barbara: The meeting was last night (Monday). The golf cart proposal is now in the hands of the town's traffic authority. Here's the latest: http://patch.com/A-qbNP

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