Putting Aside Carbon Caps, Lamont Presses for California Emissions Standards, EV Subsidies

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With carbon caps off the table for this year’s short legislative session, at a League of Conservation Voters forum on Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont pressed lawmakers to focus on reduced vehicle emissions by adopting California’s standards, and expanding subsidies for electric vehicles. “One thing I’ve noticed – business, labor, in particular the legislature – everybody’s generally in favor of doing more to protect the environment,” Lamont chided legislators. “But when push comes to shove, when it comes to putting our shoulder to the wheel, sometimes you pull back when it comes time to figure out how we’re going to pay

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Just 21 of 152 Beds Filled — Workers Claim De Facto Closure of State Detox Programs

Hundreds of people with the most desperate cases of alcohol and opioid addiction have been shut out of Connecticut’s state-run in-patient programs for nearly a month, according to union officials representing workers at the facilities. On Dec. 28, the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services stopped admitting patients to the only two state-run medically-managed detox and intensive residential addiction care programs at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown and Blue Hills Hospital in Hartford, according to officials with the Service Employees International Union Local 1199. According to Mary Kate Mason, spokesperson for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction

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160 Additional Apartments Proposed for Jerome Rd. Development in Montville

MONTVILLE – The developer of Village Apartments in Uncasville is proposing to nearly quadruple the number of units in the apartment complex – three new buildings with 160 apartments and 268 new parking spaces. The proposal to expand the apartment complex on Jerome Rd. from 54 apartments and 108 bedrooms to 214 apartments and 407 bedrooms was submitted by Village Apartments, LLC, registered to Tomas Haendler of Stamford; and Connecticut Multifamily Equities II, registered to Louis Tallarini of White Plains, New York. The plans will need site plan approval from the Montville Planning and Zoning Commission, and approval from the

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A Second Try for a Big Y Gas Station and Convenience Store in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK – A proposal that would allow a Big Y gas station to be built near the corner of Boston Post and Spencer Plain roads is heading back to the Zoning Commission with changes aimed at addressing the concerns that led to its unanimous rejection earlier this month. The proposal to allow gas stations in Old Saybrook’s B-4 zone had already been approved by the Planning Commission by a 4-1 vote in December, but was then voted down unanimously by the Zoning Commission on Jan. 3.  Zoning Commission Chair Robert Friedmann said at the time that he believed gas

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Airport Neighborhoods to See Delayed 5G Service Pending Safety Tests

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A delayed rollout of new 5G cellular service from AT&T and Verizon hasn’t caused disruptions at Connecticut’s two airports with commercial passenger flights, according to airport officials, despite fears the new signals could affect airplane equipment crucial to landing in bad conditions. The two major cell carriers activated most of their 5G C-band towers for the first time on Wednesday morning, but delayed the deployment of towers around several airports to avoid potentially disrupting flights.  Representatives of both Tweed New Haven Airport and the Connecticut Airport Authority – which manages Bradley International Airport and five general aviation airports including Groton-New

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Investigation of Montville Crash that Sent 7 to Hospital Still Pending Since August

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MONTVILLE – An investigation into a crash last summer involving a Montville Police Officer that sent seven people to area hospitals for treatment remains unfinished nearly five months later according to Connecticut State Police. The police officer collided with two cars pulled over to the side of Route 32 on Aug. 12, 2021. CT Examiner requested a copy of the full accident report from the State Police headquarters in Middletown on Aug. 25 to confirm details in a preliminary report on the crash. That report has not been provided, and CT Examiner has been told on a number of occasions

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Connecticut Aims Big Subsidies at Home and Business Energy Storage Plan

As batteries large enough to temporarily power homes and businesses have become more widespread in the United States, Connecticut is launching a program to heavily subsidize them, aiming to take a significant step toward reaching storage goals that state lawmakers set last year. The Energy Storage Solutions program, approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in December and accepting applications this month, comes with promises to provide a reliable source of backup power to homes, and a way to curb high energy bills for industry – providing large subsidies to help cover some of the costs of installing battery storage systems

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Haddam First Selectman Pitches Redevelopment Plans for Higganum Center

HADDAM – A $1.8 million state grant to clean up a late-19th-century manufacturing site in Higganum Center for redevelopment is just the start of plans for the area, according to Haddam First Selectman Robert McGarry, if the town can secure another grant for a diverse list of projects along Saybrook Road. Haddam secured the Brownfield remediation grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development last Friday to clean up the Scovil Hoe Company complex at 11 Candlewood Rd., to allow a developer to repurpose the two long, brick buildings on site. McGarry said the town has lined up

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Winery Plans Meet with Questions, Opposition at Middletown Hearing

MIDDLETOWN – At a public hearing Wednesday night, neighbors of the first proposed farm winery in Middletown questioned why a commercial business, and the traffic and noise that would come with it, would be allowed in their quiet, residential neighborhood. Joe DeFrancesco – who is proposing to turn his 7.3 acre property on Miner Street in the Westfield neighborhood of Middletown into a farm winery that he said could host small events – said he was willing to work to address the concerns raised by his neighbors and members of the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission.  But his promises did

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Madison Multifamily Housing Raises Concerns at Inland Wetland Hearing

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MADISON –  An environmental scientist hired by a neighboring condo association warned that a proposed 18-unit apartment building near Hammonasset State Park would likely pollute a pond on the property without enough trees to filter out nitrogen from septic tanks. The proposal for Cottage and Mill Apartments at 35 Cottage Rd. has drawn opposition from neighboring residents, who say the 7,800 square foot, 18-unit building would harm the wildlife in a pond on the site – which is home to frogs, salamanders, and neighbors say hosts migratory birds. The developers behind the proposal – 35 Cottage LLC, registered to Michael

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‘Green Hydrogen,’ Small Solar Projects, Electricity Bills Top Arconti’s Energy Agenda

Encouraging the development of shared solar projects, planning a path to “green hydrogen,” and lowering electric bills for customers of the state’s largest utilities will top an abbreviated agenda of the legislature’s Energy & Technology Committee when it reconvenes in February State Rep. David Arconti, D-Danbury, told CT Examiner. Arconti, who co-chairs the committee, said that lawmakers will finalize the agenda over the next weeks before the Feb 9 start of session, but with a short election year calendar, he said he has several priorities of his own that he’d like to see addressed in the coming months.  “We tend

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Developer Takes Madison to Court Over Pared-Down Affordable Housing Approval

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MADISON – The applicants behind an affordable housing proposal in Madison told CT Examiner they plan to appeal a Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to reduce the size of the housing project as a condition of approval. The commission revised the proposal after it drew opposition from neighbors voicing concerns about traffic on the narrow street, and with the risk of six septic systems in such a small area.  The developers, 92 Scotland LLC, applied for the project under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing statute which  allows developers a workaround from typical zoning constraints like density and setbacks.  The commission

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Zoning Okays Zoning Change for Yale Health Expansion, Blocks Gas Station Proposal

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OLD SAYBROOK – The Old Saybrook Zoning Commission paved the way for a significant expansion of the Yale New Haven Health Medical Center at the intersection of Route 9 and Middlesex Turnpike on Monday night over the concerns of a number of residents of a neighboring cul-de-sac.  The commission also unanimously rejected an effort to allow a Big Y gas station at the shopping plaza at Boston Post Road and Spencer Plains Road, though it left the door open to reviewing the proposal with some changes. Residents of the Brenda Lane cul-de-sac raised concerns that a proposal to build a

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Loss of Key Funding Guarantee Leaves Plan for Killingly Gas-Fired Plant in Doubt

In a move that calls into question – or at least delays for years – plans for a natural-gas-fired power plant in Killingly, federal energy regulators agreed on Monday to end a contract providing key funding for the proposed Killingly Energy Center.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Authority (FERC) approved a request by ISO-New England, the regional grid operator, to end its capacity supply obligation to Florida-based NTE Energy after the company failed to meet contractual timelines to build the 650 MW Killingly Energy Center.  That contract was a key source of funding for the Killingly Energy Center, which has drawn

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After Two-Year Trial, Ledyard Debates New Approach to Short-Term Rentals

LEDYARD –The town is debating how to regulate short-term rentals – like those advertised by AirBnB and VRBO – after a two-year experimental ordinance fell short of expectations. The ordinance expires at the end of February to widespread agreement that the current rules lack teeth to sufficiently address neighbors’ concerns about party rentals and absentee landlords. Town Councilor Andra Ingalls said that when the ordinance was implemented, the town council had been studying how other towns were regulating short-term rentals. The professional advice from the town attorney at the time was that it would be better as an ordinance, she

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Farm and Winery Planned for Middletown Parcel Under New Regulations

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MIDDLETOWN – Looking for a fresh start and a new career, Joe DeFrancesco bought a farm at 519 Miner St. in the Westfield area with plans for a quaint winery that would serve as the foundation for his farm business. DeFrancesco is the first to apply for a farm winery since the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission approved several new uses for farms in town – looking to give farmers more options for revenue as the high cost of land and low margins continue to threaten the stability of small Connecticut farms. Having grown up on a farm in Haddam,

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CT Examiner’s Brendan Crowley on Local News Reporting

When someone thanks me for covering an issue in a particular town, it brings up conflicting feelings.  It’s always nice when someone says they appreciate our work — but often when someone says, “Thank you for covering x,” they mean that if CT Examiner didn’t, nobody would.  I’ve read past clips from the Hartford Courant or Hearst covering local issues in Preston or Killingworth. That’s rare now as reporters hustle to make up for the work of all the journalists who have been laid off through the years.  There are hard-working reporters in all of these legacy newsrooms who are

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Move to Reshape P&Z Sparks Resignations, Charges of Partisanship, in Madison

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MADISON – A move to replace two of the longest-serving members of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission has led two more members to resign in protest, raising concerns about the ability of the commission to make land-use decisions free of outside political influence.  The Board of Selectmen voted on Monday to replace three of the longest-serving members on the commission – Republicans Ron Clark and Joe Bunovsky, and Joel Miller, an unaffiliated member – with the three alternates of the commission – two Democrats, Ron Bodinson and Carol Snow, and Peter Roos, who is unaffiliated.  Miller had already decided

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Madison P&Z Offers Approval to Scotland Ave. Cluster Housing, with Conditions

MADISON – The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission reluctantly approved a proposal for a cluster of single family houses on Scotland Avenue – noting that state statute regarding affordable housing tied their hands on issues of traffic and septic – on the condition that the developers build five rather than six units on the half-acre lot. On Tuesday, in what was for several their last meeting as members of the commission, they weighed options for approving or rejecting the application for six, single-family homes clustered on the small property at 92 Scotland Ave, including two affordable units, which had drawn

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Port Authority Offers Upbeat Message on Costs and Delays for State Pier Development

NEW LONDON — A nine month wait for a federal dredging permit hasn’t raised the cost of filling seven acres at State Pier, and the redevelopment is still slated to fit within a $235 million price tag, according to officials at the Connecticut Port Authority. The delay means that the bulk of the dredging work for the offshore wind hub – a partnership of Eversource and Ørsted – will be pushed off until next winter. But Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris said the permit did arrive in time to start work before a Feb. 1 deadline to cease dredging

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Stopgap Solution Found to Replace Region’s Trash Burning Plant in South Hartford

HARTFORD – With the sunset of Connecticut’s trash-burning energy plant in Hartford looming in 2022, the authority tasked with handling a large portion of the state’s waste has lined up other destinations for all that trash – another incinerator in eastern Connecticut, and landfills in Pennsylvania and Ohio. If everything holds while contracts are finalized in the coming months, the 48 municipalities that have their trash managed by the quasi-public Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, or MIRA, will see an increase in the cost of that service – but there shouldn’t be any of the disruptions to service that were

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Connecticut Port Authority Secures Key Army Corps Permit for State Pier

NEW LONDON – The Connecticut Port Authority received a permit to fill about 7 acres of water between the two piers in New London on Thursday – a key, long-awaited piece of the $235 million redevelopment of the State Pier into an offshore wind hub. The Connecticut Port Authority had been expecting the Army Corps of Engineers permit to be issued for months. The authority had agreed to a provision in its contract with the Eversource/Ørsted offshore wind partnership that would have allowed the companies to withdraw their funding for the project if the permit wasn’t in hand by Aug.

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Cyber Specialist Warns on State’s Vetting of Cloud Services, Lack of Backups

A network security specialist for the state’s Department of Emergency Services told CT Examiner this week that his department was not sure which state employee records may have been left exposed when the Kronos Private Cloud suffered a ransomware attack last weekend, because the State of Connecticut doesn’t keep local copies of those records, and they are inaccessible at this point. According to Travis Woodward, president of CSEA SEIU Local 2001, which represents 22,000 active and retired state employees, that shows the danger of the state’s shift to cloud-based services without proper controls and backup data in the event of

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Inland Wetlands Approves Plan for Business Park Off Bokum Road in Essex

ESSEX – After spending several months revising plans for two large commercial buildings on Bokum Road to address concerns about runoff into the nearby Mud River, the town’s Inland Wetlands Commission approved a permit for the project Wednesday night. The George C. Field Company is proposing to build the Bokum Road Business Park – a 28,000 square feet and 24,480 square feet commercial building next to a wetland and the Mud River.  The larger building is intended for one tenant, while the smaller building is a “flex” building that could be adapted to include spaces of various sizes depending on

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Ransomware Attack Hits Popular Payroll Service — Impact to Connecticut Employers Unclear

A ransomware attack targeting a popular time clock and payroll service could delay paychecks issued by local governments and businesses during the holiday season – but the extent of the impact wasn’t immediately clear as a number of major employers would not comment on Tuesday. The HR management company Ultimate Kronos Group announced that the company had become aware of a ransomware attack on its Kronos Private Cloud late on Saturday, which knocked its payroll, scheduling and healthcare extensions offline.  New Haven Communications Director Kyle Buda said that although New Haven’s payroll system had been affected by the attack, the

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Haddam Officials Break Ground on Redevelopment of Tylerville Neighborhood

HADDAM – Town officials were on hand on a cold Friday morning to welcome Jeff Hartmann’s Elm Tree Partners with ceremonial shovels to break ground on Blueway Commons – a 56-unit market rate apartment complex near the intersection of Saybrook and Bridge roads — one of several planned projects that could markedly change the Tylerville neighborhood west of the swing bring across the Connecticut River. First Selectman Bob McGarry and Selectman Kate Anderson were joined a number officials to mark what was described as a significant milestone toward providing rental options in Haddam.  “Things are starting to happen in town,

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Essex Approves Scaled-Back Regs to Encourage Development Off Route 9

ESSEX – The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 on Tuesday to approve an overlay district meant to spur new development on the west side of Route 9 around Exit 3. The commission approved the measure envisioned in the town Plan of Conservation and Development after scaling back a proposal from consulting town planner John Guszkowski that would have laid the flexible development zone on both the east and west sides of the highway. Guszkowski has said that the new zone would overlay the properties around the Route 9 exit – now a mix of commercial, industrial, business and residential

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State Officials See Nuclear Plant as Key to Connecticut’s Energy Goals

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WATERFORD – The future of energy — and energy costs — in New England hinge on the continued operation of Millstone Nuclear Power Station if Connecticut remains committed to the administration’s goal of a carbon-free electrical grid by 2040. But keeping Millstone running may require difficult choices in just a few years, as lawmakers and energy officials across look to ensure one of New England’s two remaining power plants stays open – debating options including carbon taxes, cost-sharing and a new energy market specific to funding renewable projects.  In a region heavily reliant on natural gas, the 2-gigawatt nuclear plant

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Six Single-Family Houses Planned for Rental in Madison

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MADISON — A local group of developers is proposing to build six single family houses, each 1,000-square-feet in size, on a little over a half acre of land under a state statute that allows affordable housing developers to bypass local zoning approvals. The proposal has raised considerable concern among neighboring residents. Nearly 50 Madison residents signed a letter urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to oppose the project over concerns with additional traffic and potential hazards of burying six septic systems on the .55-acre property. It’s the latest in a string of proposals for multifamily housing that have drawn neighborhood

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Lawmakers and Chief Regulator Skeptical as Eversource Settlement Yields New Leadership Role

On Wednesday, Eversource named Steve Sullivan, a long-time employee of the company, president of Connecticut operations. The move was part of an agreement with state regulators intended to improve the company’s storm response after Tropical Storm Isaias. But while the company described the move as a commitment  to rebuilding customer confidence, state lawmakers and the state’s chief regulator questioned the need for the new executive position and the wisdom of the settlement that created it. Sullivan, a resident of Connecticut’s northeast corner who has worked for Eversource for more than 30 years, will take on the new role and oversee

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