Owners of Banner Estates Resubmit Application to Zoning

EAST HADDAM — The owners of the Banner Country Club Estates have resubmitted an application for a zoning amendment change that will allow them to convert a 28,000-square-foot banquet hall into residential units.  Co-owner Anthony Longhitano withdrew a similar application for a change to the Planned Recreational Development/Resort Zone, a floating zone, via email on Feb. 25, the same day the Planning and Zoning Commission had planned to vote on a motion to deny the application. The commission had referred the matter to counsel to craft the language of the motion to deny as a safeguard from litigation, but because of

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East Haddam Draft Budget, Flat Mill Rate, Goes to Hearing May 5

EAST HADDAM — The Board of Finance will present a 2020-21 budget proposal with no anticipated change to taxpayers’ mill rate at a public hearing broadcast on the town’s YouTube page on Tuesday, May 5. Expenditures in the budget proposal total $34.18 million, which would be 1.8 percent or about $614,000 more than the current budget for fiscal year 2019-20. Residents and taxpayers will be able to email questions ahead of the meeting to budget.questions@easthaddam.org and then have their questions addressed at the meeting, according to Board of Finance Chair William DiCristofaro. The zero percent increase in taxes is possible

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Major Repair of Goodspeed Bridge Slated for 2022, Plans for Pedestrian Crossing As Yet Unfunded

One of two remaining swing bridges across the Connecticut River, from East Haddam to Haddam, is in desperate need of repair. The National-Register-eligible structure, located near to the Victorian-era Goodspeed Opera House, is an iconic sight for the Lower Connecticut River Valley. “It will be a significant, substantial overhaul with rehabilitation of mechanical and electrical components as well as the structure and the deck itself,” said Kevin Nursick, the communications director for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. “It will be a multi-year project with significant traffic impacts. You couldn’t really ask for a trickier bridge.” The rehabilitation, scheduled for 2022,

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Needleman, Haines Take Questions on Vaccinations, High School Track, Marijuana, in East Haddam

EAST HADDAM — A state bill that would end the state’s religious exemption for mandated vaccinations was the dominant topic at a Monday forum with East Haddam’s two state legislators.  Amid questions from constituents, Rep. Irene Haines (R-East Haddam) and Sen. Norman Needleman (D-Essex) also touched on 5G infrastructure, medical marijuana, and funding for a track at Nathan Hale-Ray High School. Emily Maxfield, a resident of Portland, said that House Bill 5044 was “icing on the cake for how the state government has been absolutely crushing families. The conversation around the dinner table has now become ‘Why are we here?’

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Longhitano Withdraws Application in East Haddam, Residents Seek Closure

EAST HADDAM — It was announced at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday night that the owners of the Banner Country Club Estates withdrew an application for a special zoning exception that would have allowed them to convert an empty 28,000-square-foot banquet hall into about 20 residential units.  Co-owner Anthony Longhitano formally withdrew the application for an amendment change in the Planned Recreational Development/Resort Zone, a floating zone, in an email sent through his attorney and read into the record by James Ventres, zoning enforcement officer and land use administrator for the town. The change would have allowed buildings

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East Haddam Planning and Zoning Agrees to Draft Denial of Zoning Amendment

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EAST HADDAM — The Planning and Zoning Commission agreed Tuesday night to ask the town’s attorney to write a draft denial of a zoning amendment application that would have allowed the owners of the Banner Country Club Estates banquet hall to convert that empty building into an estimated 20 residential units. “I just feel if we’re doing an ordinance change, it should benefit the town in general, and I don’t see this benefiting the town,” said commission member Edmund J. Gubbins, Jr., during the commission’s Tuesday night meeting. “I see this benefiting one developer and that’s all.” In the application,

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East Haddam Seeks Village Revitalization with Development of Former Goodspeed House and Town Offices

EAST HADDAM — Town officials expect to hear in mid-March a proposal to redevelop a 2.75-acre property containing the former town office building and the one-time residence of William Goodspeed, as part of an effort to revitalize the area around Goodspeed Opera House. “The village is bigger than this particular piece of property, but we’re hoping that this will help make a vibrant village,” said William Gerrish, chair of the East Haddam Village Revitalization Committee. “One that brings economic development to the town where there’s pedestrian access and it’s a part of something the entire community can enjoy. I think

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Zoning Change Allowing Redevelopment of Older Resort Properties Raises Opposition in East Haddam

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EAST HADDAM — A large number of vocal town residents attended the Planning and Zoning Commission’s public hearing Tuesday on a proposed special exception to change the town’s density rules and allow a developer to convert an empty 28,000-square-foot banquet hall into an estimated 20 or 22 residential spaces. The banquet hall, which was built in the 1930s, is part of Banner Country Club Estates on Banner Road, and would qualify as adaptive reuse under the proposed amendment, according to Gary Hendren, an architect from Boston who represented the applicants, property owners Anthony and Frank Longhitano, of New Rochelle, New

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Nutmeg Pharmacy to Open in Moodus, February 10

EAST HADDAM — Nutmeg Pharmacy plans to hold a grand opening of its new Moodus village location on February 10 at 9 a.m., the pharmacy’s co-owner said in a Thursday interview. This comes a little more than three months after the Nathan Hale Pharmacy closed in late October, leaving East Haddam without a pharmacy, as independent pharmacies are closing in many parts of the state. The 2,000 square-foot store at 38 William F. Palmer Road will have “all the basic necessities,” said co-owner Greg McKenna, offering prescription medications with specialized packaging, free delivery, immunizations, shampoos, cards, small gifts, first-aid supplies,

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New First Selectman Underscores Outdoor Recreation for Business in East Haddam

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EAST HADDAM — In a Tuesday morning interview one week after taking office, First Selectman Robert Smith said the town should strengthen and maintain its wealth of hiking trails and emphasize outdoor recreation as an economic driver for the town. “We really need to look at emphasizing and reaching out to companies that would want to work with our recreation potential here,” Smith said. “We have 70 miles of hiking trails in town between the Nature Conservancy, the land trust, the town, and of course the six state parks. We have six state parks here, and the western boundary is

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Plans for Pharmacy in Moodus Announced, as Nathan Hale Pharmacy Closes

EAST HADDAM — On the same night that East Haddam’s only operating pharmacy closed its doors, owners from a group of regional independent pharmacies announced their intentions to fill that gap with a new Moodus pharmacy early next year — plus more ambitious long-term plans to expand it into a grocery store. Greg McKenna and Chris Olender of Nutmeg Pharmacy said at a Monday night public meeting in East Haddam’s middle school that they’ve already signed a three-year lease for 38 William F. Palmer Road in East Haddam’s Moodus village, with plans to open a pharmacy in February. The audience

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Palmer Warner House in East Haddam Opens As Trailblazing LGBT Site

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EAST HADDAM — Preserved letters, diaries, photographs, a house and its gardens tell the story of Frederic Palmer and Howard Metzger, two men who met fell in love in the 1940s and lived together as a couple as openly as society allowed. Considering the time period, what’s unique about Palmer (1901-1971)and Metzger (1921-2005), who lived in the historic Warner-Palmer House at 307 Town St., is the fact that their personal history is preserved at all, and intact at that. “The Palmer Warner House contains a complete record of [Palmer and Metzger’s] lives and that’s highly unusual in LGBT history for

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