Letter: Questions Whether the Proposed Roger Tory Peterson Center Would “Enhance” Ferry Rd. Neighborhood

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To the Editor:

I would like to respond to Sydney M. Williams’ August 1 letter to the editor regarding the “enhancement” of the proposed Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme.

Presently, there is an attractive State facility (DEEP) located at the bottom of Ferry Rd. with property on the Connecticut River. There are docks, picnic tables, a small sandy beach, and lovely boardwalk that is also along the Lieutenant River. The public may fish, eat, kayak, play ball, swim at their own risk, watch boats, birds and also read about the surrounding area from well-placed information platforms. To me, this has greatly “enhanced” Old Lyme and suits the area well.

The RTP Estuary Center, which is a non-profit business, has purchased a lot zoned and approved by the Old Lyme Zoning Board as residential a number of years ago — a promise, to quote a July 13 editorial in CT Examiner: “Zoning is a promise—When a family puts their life saving in a home, they count on town officials to protect them”.

This is not the only issue with the proposed site, which was on the market for a number of years. First, it is many feet below the surface of the road that it abuts, Ferry Rd., which means that access to and from this property would be very steep and perhaps dangerous. Second, it borders, very closely, wet lands and open space property. This will make it difficult to meet with the many standards of septic systems in regard to footage from the wetlands and size of system to accommodate the public.

When there is such a nice facility located at the bottom of Ferry Rd., I wonder why there is such a pressing need to put a very similar facility in the same area. There is presently property located near the corner of Rt. 156 and Hall’s Rd. with an attractive small house and quite a bit of property. This is presently zoned for business and could accommodate all the things mentioned in Mr. Williams’ letter. Also, I am sure that DEEP would allow them to use some of their property to store kayaks or any other small boat that they would need to get out onto the water.

Julie Dunbar
Old Lyme, CT

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