Board Of Selectmen Debate Sewers, a Resolution on Racism, and Sidewalks (UPDATED)

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen held a public hearing last night to vote on whether to grant an easement for sewers to be installed by Old Lyme and three chartered beach communities.

The system would establish a shared trunk sewer, pump station and force main between Old Lyme and the communities of Old Lyme Shores Beach, Old Colony Beach and Miami Beach. The pipes would run along Hartung Place, cross Hartford Avenue and Swan Avenue to reach the shared pump station at the corner of Pond Road and Portland Road. The shared force main would run up Portland Avenue and across Route 156 toward East Lyme. The Miami Beach Association sewer main would run along Hawks Nest Road toward the shared pump station. 

After a presentation by Kurt Millman, vice president of the civil engineering firm Fuss and O’Neill, the meeting was opened to public comment. Multiple individuals protested that the public hearing had not been advertised adequately, and there was no documentation posted online about the plan. 

Members of the public also asked why the town should be providing the force main — and shoulder the liability if a pipe breaks — rather than the beach associations. 

Richard Prendergast, chair of the Old Lyme Water Pollution Authority, said that the shared system would have positive consequences both for the beach communities and for the town of Old Lyme. He said two engineers recommended the location of the force main. 

The board decided to postpone a vote on the project until Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. In the meantime, they agreed to post the necessary documents online.  In a later phone conversation with CT Examiner, Griswold clarified he would speak with the town attorney, but did not anticipate reopening the hearing.

Resolution on racism

Selectman Mary Jo Nosal proposed a second draft resolution on racism. Nosal said the idea for the resolution came from the town of Windsor, which recently adopted a similar resolution. The document acknowledges that racism is a public health crisis that affects where and how people live, access to jobs and health. It also affirms a commitment to promote equity and justice through policies, data collection and joining forces with local communities. 

First Selectman Tim Griswold objected to the idea that racism was a public health crisis affecting Old Lyme. “As a small town, we have a very good record,” said Griswold. Nosal countered that the board should not ignore the issue, which is part of a national conversation. There was no vote on the resolution. 

Sidewalks

The board also agreed to hold a meeting on Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. on finance plans concerning the Sound View sidewalks project. The selectmen said the $400,000 grant from the state, which was approved, will probably not be enough to cover the project and they discussed applying for a second Connectivity grant. 

The construction time should be 16 weeks, pending comments by the state Department of Transportation.

The town has also applied for a STEAP grant of $126,000 to replace sidewalk panels on the right side of Ferry Road from Lyme Street to Route 156. The total project will require $150,000, including $44,000 in engineering and $106,000 in construction. If the town receives the grant, the state funding would pay $24,000 toward the project.  


This story was updated with meeting times included and clarification that the hearing on sewer easements had been voted closed.

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