Commercial Development Near Miami Beach Draws Questions and Opposition

OLD LYME — A proposal to construct three 10,500-square-foot commercial buildings that would house storage units and businesses at 250 Shore Road (Route 156) will come before the Zoning Commission at a special meeting on August 12 at 6 p.m. CN&S Realty of Old Lyme has applied for a special permit to build three buildings, each measuring 70’ wide by 150’ long, and 35’ in height. Each building would house twelve 875-square-foot spaces that would be rented as storage units or for “business service establishments,” as permitted by the zoning ordinance. Retail establishments would not be permitted.  The 3.77-acre site,

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Griswold and Matt Ward Make Run in Old Lyme, Slate For Democrats Not Announced

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OLD LYME — The Republican Town Committee quickly nominated and unanimously approved its slate of candidates at Town Hall on Thursday night, including incumbent First Selectman Timothy Griswold for another term and Matt Ward, a longtime state trooper and unaffiliated candidate, for selectman.  In the 2019 election, Griswold entered the race late and gained a spot on the ballot by petition. By a 56 to 44 percent margin, he won against incumbent Democrat Bonnie Reemsnyder, who had beaten Griswold in 2011. Griswold previously served as First Selectman from 1997 to 2011.  At Thursday’s meeting, he said this will be his

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Ownership of Tantummaheag Landing in Question, Public Access Offered

OLD LYME — The new owners of property adjacent to the historic Tantummaheag Landing say they have done an extensive title search that proves the landing and associated right-of-way belongs to them rather than the town. The landing provides access to the Connecticut River for kayaks or small craft and the right-of-way has long been used as a public space for walking.   George Frampton and Carla D’Arista, who have owned 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road since September, say access to the landing and right-of-way will not change. “We have always welcomed people coming down the road and we want to

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Tessa Lark to Lead Musical Masterworks as Arron Directs Final Season

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OLD LYME — Longtime Artistic Director Ed Arron, who will lead Musical Masterworks in its 31st season this fall, has announced that he will step down in 2022, passing the reins to violinist Tessa Lark, a musician well-known to Old Lyme audiences. Lark, 32, who has been performing with Musical Masterworks for eight years, will assume the role of artistic director designate this season and will become artistic director on July 1, 2022. She said she had dreamed of a directorship at Musical Masterworks and was thrilled when Arron called her.  “I remember the first time I played Musical Masterworks

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Reemsnyder Asks Town to Assume Ownership of Hope Parcels

OLD LYME — Hope Partnership board member Bonnie Reemsnyder has asked the town to assume ownership of land where the nonprofit currently maintains affordable housing. According to a letter from the former first selectman to current First Selectman Timothy Griswold, the change would allow the nonprofit to forgo the burden of yearly requests for tax abatements, and would also encourage Hope to develop two town-owned parcels on Flat Rock Hill Road currently designated for single-family affordable housing.  “With two more lots likely becoming available, I would think that the Board of Selectmen would be interested in resolving this tax issue

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Sidewalk Plans Come Full Circle on Ferry Road

OLD LYME — After considering an alternative on the south side of Ferry Road that would have saved a few trees, the Ferry Road Sidewalk Committee came to a consensus Thursday that the best location for the replacement of the buckling sidewalks was on the north side of the road where the sidewalks are now.  “It’s certainly not ‘the plan’ but we’re moving in that direction. We’re still going to have a public information session,” said First Selectman Timothy Griswold, a member of the committee, after Thursday’s meeting.  The consensus included a requirement that the town consult with a licensed

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Committee Members Will Answer Questions at Halls Road Master Plan Open House

OLD LYME — The Halls Road Improvements Committee will hold an open house on Saturday, July 10, from 9 a.m. to noon in Town Hall at 52 Lyme St. to present phase two of the Halls Road master plan, designed by BSC Group of Glastonbury.  Visual materials will show roadway improvements to be paid for by the town, including a bow bridge spanning the Lieutenant River as well as pedestrian and bike routes, sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, landscaping and green spaces. Another board will show Village District zoning on Halls Road, which could affect future private investment and development in the

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Lymes’ Senior Center Holds Design Workshop with Point One Architects

OLD LYME — Supplied with red stickers, blue stickers, and gold stars, many of the Lymes’ Senior Center Board of Directors and a number of selected community members marked their favorite and least favorite areas of the center on large site plans and floor plans Tuesday afternoon. “[Put the] red stickers on the area that you like to see or like to visit — if you have more than one area you love, you can use two stickers… The blue represents the things you do not like about the site,” said Rick Staab, a partner at Point One Architects, which

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Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Gets Back to its Roots, Offers New Classes

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OLD LYME — With a $1.657 million budget for FY21-22, about 120 students enrolled in summer classes, and a small full-time core program that will start in the fall, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is rebounding after two rough years.  “People are so enthusiastic to be able to finally come and receive classes in person and meet other peers, so it’s a really positive atmosphere,” said Amaya Gurpide, director of drawing, who was hired in February along with her husband, Jordan Sokol, who is artistic director for the school.  Sokol said a range of summer classes, landscape workshops and youth

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Workshop Will Gather Public Input on Renovation of Lymes’ Senior Center

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OLD LYME — Point One Architects will conduct a public workshop on Tuesday, July 6 at 1 p.m to talk about options for updating the Lymes’ Senior Center and to gather input from the community. The Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee has scheduled the workshop, which will take place inside the center, located at 26 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, with COVID protocols in place, including masks and social distancing.  The committee put out a Request for Qualifications and Proposal for a renovation feasibility study for the center on March 15 and received responses from seven firms. The committee interviewed

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Cocotte at James Pharmacy to Offer Gelato, Sweets and French Cooking

OLD SAYBROOK — Lovers of gelato and pastry lined up for the soft opening of Cocotte French Cuisine and Desserts, which opened its doors at 2 p.m. on Friday in the James Pharmacy building at 323 Main Street. Co-owner Isabelle De Francesco said people have been knocking on the door for the last two months.  “They had two questions — when do you open, and, do you have gelato?” she said.  Besides a selection of 10 or more gelato flavors, De Francesco and her husband, chef Jeffrey De Francesco, are featuring a menu of pastries for summer — brioche, croissant,

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The Docks Is Open to Renters, More Buildings to Come

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NEW LONDON — Officials and well-wishers enjoyed the harbor view from the sunny fourth floor deck of The Docks, a new 137-unit building at 500 Bank St., before stepping indoors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction on Thursday.  On the deck, pre-ceremony, Jason Kambitsis, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for AR Building Co. of Pittsburgh, which developed the building, said there had been many concepts for the 2.5-acre site formerly known as Perkins Green.  “Since we’ve been working on this, there were myriad ideas that happened on this property before, but we’ve always looked

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Respler Loses Lease on Mystic Oral School, But Seeks Path Forward on Development

GROTON — The State of Connecticut will not renew the lease of Respler Homes on 40 acres of the Mystic Oral School property at 240 Oral School Road, but developer Jeff Respler plans to continue to focus on requirements for the sale, according to a spokesperson at the Department of Administrative Services.  “This is a DAS property which we have leased to Respler during the period which [he] is working on closing the sale through DECD,” wrote a spokesperson in an email on Thursday. “We know there are a significant number of moving pieces and considerations in this project, and

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Alberti Announces Her Second Run for First Selectman of East Lyme

EAST LYME — Democrat Camille Alberti, a member of town’s board of finance since 2013 and chair for two years, announced her second run for first selectman to an audience of about 25 people on Thursday evening.  She will compete against Republican Kevin Seery, who has served as a selectman since 2011 and as deputy first selectman since 2015. He previously served on the Board of Education for 14 years, including six years as board chair.  In 2019, Alberti was a late entrant to the race against First Selectman Mark Nickerson, replacing a candidate who needed to drop out. Nickerson

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Niantic Cinemas Will Roll Film Once Again on Friday

NIANTIC — The sounds and aroma of popcorn popping filled the lobby of Niantic Cinemas Wednesday morning, making ready for the theater’s reopening this Friday.  “We closed twice during the pandemic — first in April for about three weeks, then we reopened for about six weeks but we were only getting about eight people per day, so we closed in July,” said Peter Mitchell, concessions and box office manager, whose family bought the theatre in 1978.  In 1979 the Mitchell family’s first film as the new owners of Niantic Cinemas was Ingmar Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Liv

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Republicans Choose Party Veteran Ben Proto as State Chairman

NEW HAVEN — Connecticut Republicans elected Ben Proto, a veteran of GOP politics, as the new head of the state party on Tuesday night. Proto, 62, has a legal practice in Stratford specializing in business and real estate law. Proto led the campaign for Donald Trump in Connecticut, and earlier supported Steve Obsitnik’s campaign for governor in 2018. Proto was the state coordinator for John McCain’s presidential run in 2000. On Tuesday night, Proto beat Gary Byron, of Newington, who served as a state representative from 2015 to 2019 and is now a radio talk show host at WDRC-AM, as

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High Bids Stymie Progress on Installing Sewers in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Just two companies bid to install sewers in four beach communities in Old Lyme, and at costs which were significantly in excess of what had been estimated for the project. The bids were $17.5 and $18.5 million — higher than the roughly $10 million estimate from engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, said Scott Boulanger, said director of the Board of Governors of the Miami Beach Association.  Officials from the three chartered beach communities and the town of Old Lyme told CT Examiner that the high bid had triggered a new bidding process that will split the project

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P&Z Not Bound by Groton’s ‘Binding’ Agreement, Limits Mystic Oral School Redevelopment

GROTON — At a special workshop on June 14, the Planning and Zoning Commission reached a consensus that any changes to zoning the former Mystic Education Center property would be limited to small or moderate density development consistent with the surrounding neighborhood and the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The decision is at odds with a controversial proposal to build a 931-unit complex on the site at 240 Oral School Road.  “It’s not good to cram a lot of new housing in that area, it’s not realistic,” said Jeff Pritchard, chair of the commission.  Commission members made it clear

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Ørsted – Eversource Donate Funds to Marine Science Education in Groton

GROTON — Offshore wind partners Ørsted and Eversource have awarded a four-year grant totalling $950,000 to Project Oceanology, a nonprofit marine science education and research facility based in Groton.  “Our focus is on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — and our collaboration with Ørsted and Eversource will help us train the future STEM workforce in the critical fight against climate change,”  said Jim McCauley, executive director of “Project O,” to a small audience of local officials on the UConn Avery Point campus Thursday afternoon. McCauley, who has been in his position for five years, said in the first

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A 6-3 Vote Gives The Ledges a Green Light in Madison

MADISON — In a 6-3 vote Thursday night, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special exception for the building application of The Ledges, a seven-unit residential complex at 856 Boston Post Road, within the the town’s zone of cluster housing.  The project has drawn controversy partly because blasting will be needed to clear space for septic systems and for a water main, especially because water service could be disrupted to neighboring properties  The complex is named for the Ledges, the 5600-square foot home built in 1903 on the site and calls for rehabbing the house into two condominium residences. Two

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As Starlight Inn Residents Wait For Better Options, CTDOT Files Eminent Domain Actions

EAST LYME — The Connecticut Department of Transportation has filed eminent domain proceedings and offers of compensation with the courts on two properties near Exit 74 at Flander Rd. to make way for a planned $142 million redesign of the I-95 interchange.  The state has offered $1.92 million for 256 Flanders Road, the location of a Mobil Station. The property owner, East Lyme RE LLC,  has filed an appeal, according to court documents. The state has also offered $1.26 million for the Starlight Inn at 256 Flanders Road. The owner, Star-Inns LLC, has until Aug. 18 to file an appeal. 

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Long River Local Approved by Old Lyme Zoning

OLD LYME — A new retail food shop slated for the little yellow house at 96 Halls Road received approval from the Zoning Commission on Monday night for a special exception change of use from retail to food service. Long River Local will feature coffee, prepared foods, sandwiches, baked goods and local farm produce, with a menu designed by local chef Shelley DeProto, who owned the former Red Hen in Old Saybrook and Lupo in Chester.  A soft opening for the shop is expected in late July, said Walker Potts, owner of Long River Farm, one of the produce suppliers for

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$142 Million East Lyme Exit 74 Project Delayed Two Years

EAST LYME — Changes to the I-95 interchange with Route 161 at Exit 74 on I-95, including the replacement of the bridge, will begin in Spring 2023, rather than this summer, as previously reported in 2019.  The project, which is expected to last three years, is in semi-final design review, with final designs scheduled for completion in April 2022, said Kevin Nursick, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.  According to Nursick, a number of factors have delayed the project, including the need for an updated survey to account for recent changes to roadways by Costco developer Gateway Commons

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Firefighters Warn Dispute Leaves Salem Unprotected

SALEM — In part of because of the steep hill that divides the east and west sides of Salem, the town has long had two fire departments, but the conflicts and rivalries that started both companies continue to roil the community. “Back a long time ago, before I was even born, there were issues between the older generation of firemen and fire women that were in the Salem Volunteer Fire Company and that’s what prompted them to open Gardner Lake Volunteer Fire Company. Unfortunately, those differences have been carried to the younger generation, who don’t even really understand why there

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City Dock Opens at Custom House Pier in New London

NEW LONDON — Frank Maratta, owner of the new City Dock Restaurant/Oyster Bar, donned his sunglasses and sat down at a two-top not far from the enormous dark blue shipping containers where customers were ordering food and drinks. It was Wednesday afternoon after the restaurant’s soft opening on Saturday.  “I feel like an olympic hurdle jumper — there were so many hurdles. It’s been three years of going through the process,” he said.  Back in 2018, Maratta began to talk the city about leasing space on Custom House Pier for a restaurant made up of portable shipping containers that could

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Fewer Options for Shore Line East Commuters as Amtrak Opts Out

For fifteen years, Lourdes Haynes has taken the train to work in New Haven, first from Old Saybrook, and since 2012 from New London. Like other commuters on rail lines with limited schedules, she’s been helped by an agreement between the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Amtrak to honor tickets between services on the line. But Amtrak opted out of that agreement in May 2020 for riders between New London and New Haven, and with life after the pandemic returning to normal, has not announced a clear date, if any, for its return. For Haynes, who works from 8:30 a.m.

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Hearing on Guilford Raccoon Rescue Attracts 90+

GUILFORD — The owner of a wildlife rehabilitation facility ordered by the town in February to cease operations until a special permit has been granted, appeared before the Planning and Zoning Commission and a zoom audience of more than 90 people for a public hearing Wednesday night.  Eunice Demond is one of about 15 people in Connecticut with a state permit to handle rabies vector species, those identified as the most common carriers of rabies virus — raccoons, skunks, bats, woodchucks and foxes. She has been operating Little Rascals Rescue and Rehabilitation behind her home at 311 Old Whitfield St.,

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Witness Stones Dedicated to 14 Enslaved in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Cato, Lewis Lewia, Humphrey, Caeser, Jack Howard, Jenny Freeman, Luce, Crusa, Nancy Freeman, Temperance Still, Jane, Pompey Freeman, Samuel Freeman, and Arabella — 14 African Americans who were once enslaved along what is now Lyme St. Until recently, their history had been almost entirely unknown and untold, and few people knew the history of slavery in Connecticut. “Know their names. Repeat their names after I say them,” said poet Marilyn Nelson to a large crowd on the lawn of the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library during a ceremony Friday morning to honor the installation of a Witness Stone for

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Long River Local in Old Lyme Expected to Open Early July

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OLD LYME — “The menu will be driven by local farms so it will be changing regularly based on the availability of the produce that we will be using,” said Chef Shelley DeProto, who is preparing to open Long River Local, a farm-to-consumer retail food shop at 96 Halls Road.  “We won’t be focused on any one type of cuisine but rather a variety of cuisines to bring out the best in the ingredients,” she said in an email to CT Examiner.  The shop, which is expected to open in early July, will serve breakfast made to order as well

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472-foot Ship ‘Charybdis’ to Install Wind Turbines out of New London

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RICHMOND, VA. — Ørsted and Eversource have agreed to charter the first Jones Act-qualified offshore wind turbine installation vessel in the United States from Dominion Energy for the construction of two offshore wind farms located in the waters off New England.  Dominion Energy, Ørsted and Eversource announced the contract on Monday for the 472-foot ship, named Charybdis, which will operate first from State Pier in New London to install Ørsted-Eversource’s 704-MW Revolution Wind and 924-MW Sunrise Wind farms.  Neither Dominion Energy nor Eversource would disclose the cost of the charter agreement due to “commercially sensitive information.” Ørsted could not be

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