Reckless Driving, Donating Town Land for Affordable Housing on Old Lyme Agenda

Old Lyme Town Hall


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OLD LYME — With a number of items on the agenda for Monday’s meeting, the Board of Selectmen heard complaints about dangerous driving from local residents and voted unanimously to recommend donating two three-acre building “envelopes” designated for affordable housing to Habitat for Humanity. 

The move was significant because, according to the Sept. 2019 agreement when the town purchased 300 acres of McCulloch Farm for $600,000 for Open Space, the town had five years to either create affordable housing on the two parcels or the land would revert to the McCulloch Family Open Space – and the deadline is Sept. 2024. 

The plan would have also reimbursed the Open Space Commission $100,000 for the two parcels. 

However, Michael Fogliano, chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, told the board that two months ago his commission learned it could not use part of the $150,000 ARPA grant that the commission received in October, 2022, to reimburse Open Space. 

He told the board that it was not feasible for Habitat to raise the funds to buy the land and that the “feasible path” was to simply donate the land to Habitat. 

Fogliano said that he had spoken with Greg Futoma, chair of the Open Space Commission, who had concurred that the best solution was to donate the land without Open Space receiving an reimbursement. 

Selectman Jim Lampos emphasized in the board’s recommendation to the Board of Finance that they recognize the donation from the Open Space Commission and to keep the donation in mind should Open Space need a further appropriation in the future. 

Futoma, who sat in the audience, also brought attention to David McCulloch, whose family sold the property to the town of Old Lyme.

“He was very much interested in having this property, which was at one point intended for his family’s use, to be used for affordable housing. And he ended up selling it to the town at less than its appraised value,” Futoma said. 

Speeding, beach parking passes

During public comment, Rosemarie Padovano of Sill Lane spoke of an accident early Tuesday morning in which a 16-year-old speeding driver veered off the road and plowed into her family’s garden and porch, damaging historic boxwoods.

It was second accident in as many months on Sill Lane involving young drivers. In an earlier incident, a teen-aged driver collided with a school bus.

Padovano said that the town needed to enforce speed limits and that there should be consequences for driving recklessly. She said a police presence was needed during key morning and afternoon hours, particularly for when high school students drive to and from school, and during late night hours in the summer. 

Edward Mundy, also of Sill Lane, said speeding had gotten worse along the road and that there should be a more strict approach to dangerous driving, especially given that Sill Lane will be repaved next summer, which he said could lead to more speeding. 

Maris Wacs, of Sill Lane, said that Sill Lane had become unsafe to walk due to the cars speeding around blind curves in the road. 

Carolyn Miranda, of Sound View, said the speeding had also increased along Shore Road between Cherrystones and the beach, and that she saw fewer and fewer police cars. 

The selectmen said they would set up a special meeting with Matt Weber, the town’s resident state trooper, next week to discuss public safety and better coverage of speed zones. The board also voted to ask for $15,000 for two additional digital speeding signs. 

In other business, the board voted unanimously to keep the town’s beach parking pass at $30 each and eliminated last year’s two-for-$75 option.