To the Editor:
I am writing to make you aware of an immediate concern with the Rogers Lake Authority and how they are handling recent events, especially the disrespect they showed to our community at the special Rogers Lake Authority meeting at the Old Lyme Town Hall on Tuesday, April 19th.
To give you a brief history regarding this matter, I held my monthly Rogers Lake West Shores Association meeting on Monday, March 7th. It was after this meeting that I learned about the Rogers Lake Authority’s new ordinance proposal for the “No Wake Zone.” I learned that not only had they been “discussing” this ordinance for 3 years, but they already submitted and obtained the necessary permit from DEEP. Also, two of the RLA Board members are part of the RLWSA with me.
The RLWSA as well as the other associations on Rogers Lake were never notified of this ordinance proposal. It was at this time that I sent out an immediate text to anyone I knew in the community that this ordinance would affect. Within less than 48 hours, we had upwards of 67 community members attend the RLA regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 9th. RLA Board member, Mark Hastings, was acting chair while Dennis Overfield was on vacation, who called into the meeting via cell phone.
As the March 9th minutes state, there were many questions from upset community members who wanted answers as to why, how and when this ordinance came about. The board was unable to provide any evidence or data that supported a reason for this extreme action. One of many concerns that was discussed was the SAFETY RISK this “No Wake Zone” will actually CAUSE. Congestion at each end of the lake will increase traffic back up and possible dropped skiers will be at risk to name a few. Never mind the weed growth that would increase within the areas of the “No Wake Zones” and erosion of property which would decrease the value of lakefront homes. It was at that meeting where the community was told the DEEP permit was already obtained and we would have been made aware of the buoys, which were set to be put in this Spring, in their upcoming newsletter.
During that March 9th meeting, I informed the board that I had been in touch with our attorney who stated the board was out of compliance and what they were about to do was against policy. From my understanding, all ordinance changes cannot be made without a formal town committee vote from both Lyme and Old Lyme.
From this point, the RLA attempted to provide a “summary” of their actions by submitting an April 2022 letter to the town websites in which they changed the original footage measurements based on Google Earth as well as how they intended the use of the buoys. They changed the wording of where boats can pass, and they increased the no wake zones for jet skis. On top of the written summary, the board secretly attempted to change their usually scheduled April meeting to Friday, March 25th, only to cancel and change their meeting to April 13th. However, they canceled once again and re-scheduled their meeting to Tuesday, April 19th at the Town Hall – conveniently during school vacation.
From their April 2022 summary, to changing meetings and locations, and to the April 19th Town Hall meeting, it is very clear this RLA Board is not in the best interest of the taxpayer community OR the health of Rogers Lake. The RLA chair, Dennis Overfield, took an authoritative approach by starting the meeting with yelling at the crowd to be quiet, stating public comment will be at the END of their full agenda and that they will not be answering any questions. Then Mr. Overfield proceeded to carry on his meeting with his back to the entire public, which was an upward of 80 people. After drawing out his long agenda for over an hour, the board conveniently left out the “No Wake Zone” ordinance draft stating they “did not have the time to update it before the meeting.” But instead, the public learned of new ordinances that were being drawn up including a 40mph speed limit and a possible vessel size limit. At the very end of the meeting, Mr. Overfield asked for a motion to adjourn with community members still providing input. This behavior of the board, and especially of Mr. Overfield, is unacceptable. It is very clear Mr. Overfield has a personal agenda that he is not sharing with the taxpaying community. The secretive, sneaky and deceptive actions are beyond unprofessional, and the community has lost all respect and trust for the appointed Rogers Lake Authority Board.
Old Lyme, CT
Evers is president of Rogers Lake West Shores Association