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

More

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 Flanders 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. 

More

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

More

$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

More

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

More

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

More

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.

More

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.,

More

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

More

Long River Local in Old Lyme Expected to Open Early July

/

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

More

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

/

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

More

Witness Stones Arrive in Old Lyme, Project Will Mark Local Slave Narratives

OLD LYME — Up and down Lyme Street, cement and bronze markers arrived today showing where enslaved people once lived in the town of Old Lyme. The markers are part of the Witness Stones Project, which “seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities” through research, education and civic engagement. The project grew out of research on slavery in Connecticut by Dennis Culliton, a local historian and teacher in Guilford, where the first stones in the state were laid. Since then, 12 towns including Old Lyme have joined the project.  In

More

Debating Changes to Connecticut’s Housing and Zoning Laws

On Thursday night, the State Senate approved changes Connecticut’s housing and zoning laws after a lengthy debate, for and against the legislation. Below are a series of voices capturing the spirit of that debate. State Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, argued Connecticut is held back in many ways because of its municipal structure, which dates back to the 17th century, and what he called the state’s “hyper-localism.”  “No one laying out Connecticut today would devise 169 separate municipalities without some sort of organizing or regional construct to help them engage in cooperation,” he said.  Looney said that because the state

More

Lyme Art Association Kicks off Capital Campaign for Phase Two Restoration

OLD LYME — The Lyme Art Association is kicking off phase two of a capital campaign to fund restoration work on its Lyme St. gallery. The original structure, designed by noted architect Charles A. Platt, was completed in 100 years ago — the same year as Platt’s commission for the Freer Gallery of Art on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Each year, the association hosts seven annual exhibitions of work by representational artists in the region, and is free and open to the public. “We’re calling this our ‘Second Century Capital Program,’ to continue Lyme Art into its second century,”

More

Housing Bill Get Nods in Senate — a Small Step — as Lawmakers Debate Direction

HARTFORD — The State Senate approved a zoning bill on Thursday night that was hailed as “historic” by housing advocates, and a step toward state control of local decision-making by its opponents. The bill passed in the House on May 20 and still requires the signature of Gov. Ned Lamont.  The legislation, approved in a 23-13 vote, includes provisions that allow accessory dwelling units as of right on lots with single family houses and reduce parking minimums, but also allows towns to opt out of some requirements by a ⅔ vote of their Board of Selectmen or legislative board. Among

More

Little Progress Apparent, as Neighborhood Opposition Grows to Groton Development

GROTON — Red and white “Restrict Mystic Oral School Development” lawn signs dot the neighborhood surrounding a 77-acre property, accessible by a narrow curving road bordered by trees and stone walls, where developer Jeff Respler once said he would build 750 apartments, and now plans 931 after purchasing an additional 16 acres. Respler’s vision for the Mystic River Bluffs development at 240 Oral School Road includes rehabbing the decrepit school buildings, which the state closed in 2011, into retail, restaurant and office space and renovating the Pratt building’s Olympic-size pool, theatre space and gymnasium into a public recreation center. The

More

Local Startup Aims to Expand Offshore Wind Business into New Jersey, Maryland

/

NEW LONDON — Sea Services North America has begun hiring fishermen to provide marine services and safe navigation for offshore wind projects, including the joint ventures of Ørsted and Eversource in the Northeast.  “Our mission is to increase fishermen safety, provide opportunity to the fishermen, while supplying scouts and safety vessels to offshore developers,” said Gordon Videll, chief executive officer and co-founder of Sea Services North America, based in Waterford.  The company’s collaboration with Ørsted and Eversource brings together fishermen from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York to provide monitoring services and support vessels during the construction of offshore

More

Few See ‘Win,’ as House Approves Less Far-Reaching Housing Law

HARTFORD — The House approved an affordable housing bill on Thursday night that cut back on more far-reaching provisions proposed in a number of housing bills previously debated this session — a compromise that satisfied neither housing advocates looking for strong statewide measures nor opponents of state-mandated zoning.   H.B. 6107, as amended, passed with 84 yay votes, 59 nays and 8 members not voting.  State Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-Fairfield, who is co-chair of the Planning and Development Committee, presented the bill, which she said reorganizes the Zoning Enabling Act and amends the state land use statute “to provide greater clarity

More

Halls Road Committee Accelerates Rezoning Plans

OLD LYME — At a special meeting on Wednesday night, the Halls Road Improvements Committee voted unanimously to accelerate the creation of rezoning language for Halls Road for the creation of a village district that will include mixed use, multi-family housing, and residential development.  The committee voted to direct BSC Group to craft the new zoning regulations — which are part of Phase III of the master plan proposal — despite a number of tasks in Phase II that are not finished.  Committee Chair Edie Twining said the outcome of many of the items in Phase II — sidewalks, bike lanes,

More

Sidewalks Project Sparks Neighbor Complaints on Hartford Ave

OLD LYME — The concrete sidewalks have been poured along the upper half of Hartford Ave. but members of the committee organizing the planning and construction have been fielding complaints from a number of homeowners in the Soundview neighborhood. “There are rocks all underneath the asphalt, which is going to just crumble and break,” complained Tom Portlelance, pointing to the edge of newly installed asphalt connecting their gravel driveway to the concrete sidewalk at 31 Hartford Ave. First Selectman Tim Griswold, who stopped by to talk to the Portelances on Monday morning, agreed the asphalt was crumbling. “There are rocks

More

Buyer Explains Halls Road Purchase, Big Y Withdrawal

OLD LYME — Essex Savings Bank has accepted a cash offer for 99 Halls Road from town resident David Kelsey, putting an end to a controversial plan by Big Y Express to open a gas station and convenience store at the location. “The reason that the deal is off with a gas station is because I’m buying the lot,” Kelsey told CT Examiner Sunday night. “My purpose of doing what I’m doing is to just take it off the market — I don’t want a gas station there.” In a letter to the Inland Wetlands Commission, Big Y Express withdrew

More

Five Questions on Zoning and Housing with Jason Rojas

State Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, is a sponsor of H.B. 6611, the “Fair Share” affordable housing bill, which was killed in the Judiciary Committee on May 3. The bill would have assessed affordable housing needs statewide and allocated a “fair share” goal by region based on a formula that included a town’s wealth, median income, and percentage of poverty and multifamily housing stock.  On Friday, Rojas spoke with CT Examiner about housing and zoning issues in Connecticut. He is the vice chair of the Legislative Committee and began serving as House Majority Leader in 2021. What should the state’s

More

Larry Lazor, an OB/GYN, Launches Bid for Larson’s Seat in Congress

Dr. Larry Lazor, a Republican, has announced his candidacy for Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District. If chosen in the 2022 Republican primary, he’ll run against Democratic incumbent Rep. John Larson, who has held the seat since 1999. Lazor, a resident of West Hartford, is an OB/GYN at Hartford Hospital. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 1990.  CT Examiner caught up with Lazor for a zoom call on Wednesday to talk about his campaign, his work as a physician and what he sees for the future of Connecticut. The following is edited transcript of that conversation. Why are

More

A Contentious Meeting as Halls Road Committee Debates Speed and Scope of Planning

/

OLD LYME — In light of a controversial gas station proposal that was withdrawn on Monday, and another service plaza rumored to be underway, the Halls Road Improvements Committee grappled with how to expedite zoning changes at a virtual meeting Thursday night.  The discussion, which became contentious at times, followed a presentation from BSC Group of phase two of the Halls Road master plan. The conceptual drawings showed town investments along the Halls Road right-of-way and municipally-owned land, including a sidewalk-bikeway beginning at Lyme St. that would entail building a boardwalk in one area and a bow bridge to cross

More

Halls Road Project to Feature Local Produce, Lupo and Red Hen Chef

/

OLD LYME —The little yellow house at 96 Halls Road — once a plant nursery, vacant for almost a decade — may soon become Long River Local, a retail food shop featuring local farm produce, prepared foods, sandwiches, salads and coffee.  “We want to connect chefs to farmers to consumers,” said Walker Potts, proprietor of Long River Farm in Old Lyme, who will supply produce to the new shop.  Local chef Shelley DeProto, of the former Red Hen in Old Saybrook and Lupo in Chester, has applied for a special exception change of use from retail to food service for

More

Housing Activists Call for Action at Rally in Deep River

/

DEEP RIVER —  At the front steps of Town Hall on Saturday about 75 people rallied in support of housing equity, zoning reform and S.B. 1024 — a housing and zoning bill that will likely advance to a vote in the General Assembly during the legislative session ending June 10.  Three groups — DesegregateCT, The Valley Stands Up, and March for Justice — co-hosted the “Rally for Housing Justice,” which included speakers who urged attendees to tell their state representatives and senators to support S.B. 1024.  “Legislative leadership must call this bill, we want for it to get a vote. We

More

Affordable Housing Advocates Look to Revive ‘Fair Share’ Bill Before End of Session

/

On Monday, House Bill 6611, the so-called “Fair Share” affordable housing bill was killed in committee, but State Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, who sponsored the legislation, said he is not giving up.  “My strategy is I am going to talk to [State Rep. Craig Fishbein, D-Wallingford] who had threatened to filibuster the bill, which is exactly why it died. I’m actually going to talk to him and see if there’s an opportunity to find some middle ground,” Rojas told CT Examiner on Thursday. The Fair Share legislation would have assessed each town in Connecticut with a goal for affordable

More

Zoning Commission Denies ‘Smoke on the Water’ Application as Incomplete

OLD SAYBROOK — The Zoning Commission voted unanimously to deny without prejudice the application of Smoke on the Water for a 300-seat outdoor restaurant at the former Dock & Dine, citing an incomplete application for the project at a virtual public hearing Monday night. Commission Chair Robert Friedmann said the commission had the choice to continue the public hearing or to deny the application without prejudice. The latter would allow Jon Kodama, who owns the property, and his business partner, Chef Colt Taylor, to reapply.  Kodama and Taylor were required to submit a complete application 14 days prior to the

More

Madison the Site of a Rally for Local Control of Housing and Zoning

//

MADISON — In front of Town Hall Saturday, about 45 people, including local and state legislators and members of CT169Strong, rallied against several proposed housing and zoning bills that they said will transfer local control to Hartford.  “The issues that really resonate in Madison are local control — we’re a very engaged community here, people come out and they have opinions. We are really good at problem solving in a way that works for Madison, so I can’t support anything that takes local control away from us,” said Madison Selectman Bruce Wilson, who was among the speakers at the rally. 

More

Salim Furth Takes 5 Questions on Zoning and Housing

Salim Furth, who is the director of the Urbanity Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, recently spoke with CT Examiner about housing and zoning issues in Connecticut. He is a senior researcher specializing in macroeconomic trends and policies. With economist Emily Hamilton, he recently published an op-ed on housing affordability in Connecticut.  This is the second in a series of interviews on housing and zoning in Connecticut. The first is available here. 1. What should the state’s role be in providing affordability for Connecticut residents? There is a supply side and a demand side — the demand

More
1 2 3 4 5 15