Inland Wetland Commission Meets to Discuss 108-unit Housing Development in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — At its meeting on Monday night, members of the Inland Wetlands Commission questioned plans for a 108-unit affordable housing development on North Bride Brook Road that would in part extend into a 100-foot wetlands setback along the project’s western extent. At the meeting, attorney Harry Heller, of Uncasville, represented the developer, Jason Pazzaglia of Pazz & Construction, of East Lyme, who has proposed a housing development for the 20-acre site at 90 North Bride Brook Road under the state’s 8-30g statute for affordable housing. The development would consist of 11 buildings of eight units and two buildings

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Public Forum in East Lyme Solicits Advice for Updating Plan of Conservation and Development

EAST LYME — Town officials will hold a public forum on Wednesday, January 29, in Town Hall to offer a chance for East Lyme residents, and other stakeholders in the community, to weigh in on updating the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, a document that provides a framework for economic development, growth, sustainability and conservation in the town. “The state requires us to update it, but in practice it’s a great thing to update every 10 years or so anyway. It’s about town services, and it’s also a road map for any given 10-year period of a town,” explained

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Niantic’s Peter Carlson on Life and Lighting Design

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LYME — For years, interior designer Peter Carlson searched for unembellished lighting that would complement his clients’ spaces. “I was always looking for lights, especially very simple lighting, not an ‘event,’ just something simple that did the job and looked attractive,” he said. “I had a hard time finding anything so I thought if I’m having this problem, then other people must be having it as well.” One of his odd jobs was driving socialite and cabaret performer Edie Bouvier Beale from Newark to the Reno Sweeney in Greenwich Village. He also worked at Studio 54, a job he said

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Developer Explains the Housing and Retail Market in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — “If you drew a big triangle down Route 2 to Groton, and back along I-95 almost to New Haven, there was nothing — no highly-amenitized, new-ish, multi-family communities. And, I think part of that is because the towns that make up most of that big triangle traditionally had not encouraged nor allowed multi-family development of any size,” said Newton Brainard, a Lyme resident, and vice president of Simon Konover Company, in a telephone interview with CT Examiner on January 15.  With 280 new apartments at The Sound at Gateway Commons fully-occupied, and an additional 120 “luxury” apartments

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In Draft Budget with 4.26 percent Increase, Superintendent Emphasizes Technology, Staffing

EAST LYME — Superintendent Jeffrey Newton proposed a $51.3 million operating budget for fiscal year 2020-21 to the Board of Education on Monday night, which would be a 4.26 percent increase over East Lyme Public Schools’ budget for 2019-20. Newton also proposed that the school board request $926,500 to be included in the town’s capital planning to purchase technology for the schools, explaining that an emphasis on technology is critical for preparing students for college and careers in a digital economy. “The story of this year’s budget is a lot around technology,” he told the school board, “and making sure

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Code Variance Brings $268,000 in Savings for East Lyme Public Safety Building Project

EAST LYME — The State Building Inspector granted a code variance for the planned public safety complex, allowing the town to forego about $268,000 of structural reinforcements usually required for police buildings, officials said at a Tuesday night meeting. “It was nice to receive that,” said Selectman Paul Dagle at the Tuesday night meeting of the Public Safety Building Vision Committee, which he chairs. East Lyme voters approved spending $5 million to purchase and renovate the former Honeywell office building at 277 West Main Street as a public safety complex that would host the town’s police, fire marshall, and other

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6th Annual Jingle Bell 5k Supports Healing After Loss to Suicide

EAST LYME — Nearly 700 people, decked out in Santa hats and holiday costumes, crowded into MacCook Point Park on Saturday morning. It was drizzling, but that didn’t seem to dampen the spirit as a line formed for pre-race photos in front of the Brian Dagle Foundation banner. It was the start of the sixth annual Niantic Jingle Bell 5k, nearly seven years since the foundation began and eight years after Brian Dagle died from suicide on November 12, 2011. “I lost my son Brian in 2011, and at the time there were very few resources for us as parents

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Finance Board Votes Alberti Chair, Discusses Water, Public Safety

EAST LYME — The Board of Finance, with three new members in its first meeting since the November elections, voted in a new chair, voted on a $5.59 million well filtration project, and discussed their involvement in deciding on renovations to convert the former Honeywell office building into a public safety complex. After being unanimously voted in as board chair, Camille Alberti emphasized her belief that the board’s role should be to ask direct questions and to provide a check on government spending “It’s really up to this board to do the due diligence for the tax payers and the

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East Lyme Selectmen Approve Additional $950,000 to Reduce Iron and Manganese in Water

EAST LYME — The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday approved a resolution to bond an additional $950,000 to construct and upgrade filtering for two of the town’s wells, one of which has repeatedly shown discolored water with iron and manganese. This would raise the total amount appropriated for the project to $5.59 million. At a January special town meeting, East Lyme voters approved bonding for up to $4.64 million for this project. The additional $950,000 requires approvals by the Board of Finance and at an additional town meeting. “We really need to move forward with this project,” Town Public Works Director

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Vincitori Apizza Serves up “Neo-Neopolitan” Pies, Chowder by Niantic Boardwalk

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EAST LYME — The region’s newest pizzeria brings New Haven-inspired pies to Niantic’s Main Street, with house-made sausage, and a savory potato pie. Their signature dish, the Vincitori, starts with a naturally-leavened dough, “covered with shredded mozz and with dollops of fresh mozzarella and then we put the sauce on top with fresh basil, which is the best of all the worlds,” said chef Dave Reeves. Reeves opened Vincitori Apizza with Eileen and Norman Birk, his aunt and uncle, in mid-November. It’s located at 294 Main Street, Niantic, the site of the former Eleni’s Pizzeria. Reeves brings 16 years of

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Public-Private Partnership Seeds 100,000 Oysters in Niantic River

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EAST LYME — Shellfish experts deposited about 100,000 juvenile oysters into the Niantic River on Saturday, as part of a $10,000 public-private partnership plan by the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission to bolster the river’s oyster population in an effort to increase recreational fishing and improve water quality. “This is the first seeding that we’ll do,” said Peter Harris, chair of the shellfish commission. “We’re pretty confident that we’ll be successful.”  Harris said that this could be the first of multiple seeding if successful. “When they grow out to adults they will set seed and repopulate the area if it’s successful,”

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East Lyme Officials Approve Outlines for One-Floor Public Safety Building

EAST LYME — Town officials on Tuesday night approved a schematic design for renovation of the former Honeywell Office building into a police and public safety complex. The architects will next prepare a detailed design to take out for bids in the next few months. The schematic designs from Silver / Petrucelli + Associates divided costs into four sections — a basic plan and three supplemental additions that might not be included in the final plan. The base schematic design is estimated to cost about $1.7 million, funds already approved for the renovation. Selectman Paul Dagle, who chairs the committee

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Nickerson Re-elected, Democrats take Board of Finance in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — Republican First Selectman Mark Nickerson won a third full term as the town’s chief executive on Tuesday, but with a thinner margin of victory than in his previous two elections, while town Democrats took a majority on the Board of Finance and made gains on other boards.  The election was set against the backdrop of a partisan debate about plans for a new emergency safety services complex. “This was a very tough campaign, a very ugly election season,” Nickerson said in a victory speech at Flanders Fish Market. “A lot of ugliness, a lot of Washington-style politics,

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Letter: Holding the Elected Accountable in East Lyme

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I would like to publicly thank both Mary Biekert of The Day and Chris McDermott of the CT Examiner for their accurate reporting on East Lyme. I also have great appreciation for Lisa Picarazzi for her courage to share her personal experience as Vice Chairperson of the BoF and a Finance member on the PSB Vision Committee in the CT Examiner.  Accurate information allows the rest of us to determine and comment on implications and consequences based in both past events and emerging facts. By definition, “politics” is what determines the quality of our day-to-day lives. As citizens, many of

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Letter: Missing Building Inspection Raises Questions in East Lyme

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Time for me to step out.  I had hoped The Day would do the right thing in East Lyme’s First Selectman race and give the nod to Camille Alberti.  But their endorsement, albeit very weak, went to Mark Nickerson, “despite his missteps.”  Incumbents really do have the advantage, regardless of performance, don’t they? My name is Lisa Picarazzi and I am the vice chair of the Board of Finance (BOF) and a member of the Public Safety Building Vision Committee (PSB).  I was appointed to this committee to ensure YOUR tax dollars are not mismanaged.  Sorry to tell you all,

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East Lyme Officials Project Savings with One-story Plan

EAST LYME — Town officials and hired architects tasked with laying out a vision for renovating the former Honeywell office building into a new town police station met Tuesday night to discuss revised design concepts for the building that would confine significant work to just one floor of the two-story structure. The Public Safety Building Vision Committee is now looking for further cost savings or cuts before approving the architects to begin work on a detailed design plan. The committee is trying to limit costs to within, or nearly within, the $1.7 million remaining for construction from a February referendum.

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Nickerson, Alberti Debate Development, Finances in East Lyme

EAST LYME — At a Tuesday night debate between candidates for first selectman, challenger Camille Alberti accused incumbent Mark Nickerson of mismanaging town finances, while Nickerson argued that East Lyme is in “the best place it’s ever been.” The candidates debated town administration’s handling of a multi-million dollar plans to purchase the former Honeywell office building and convert it into a public safety complex, as well as other development issues in town, before an audience of about 200 people in East Lyme High School’s auditorium. Alberti, a Democrat, cited her experience as an accountant, a management consultant, and Board of

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East Lyme Finance Board Candidates Talk Priorities for Tight Budgets

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EAST LYME — Five candidates are competing for three seats on the Board of Finance in the November 5 election. The board has a total of six members, who serve staggered four-year terms. None of the five candidates are incumbents on the finance board, although all have served on other town boards previously, and one candidate — Peter DeRosa — served two years on the finance board, ending in 2017. In interviews with CT Examiner, the candidates discussed their qualifications and priorities if elected. Every candidate noted that all of Connecticut is facing uncertainty about likely reductions to state funding

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Camille Alberti Makes Her Case For East Lyme First Selectman

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EAST LYME — With a background in management consulting and seven years on the Board of Finance, Democrat Camille Alberti said, if elected, she will bring a unique set of skills and qualifications to the role of first selectman and will focus on growing the grand list through redevelopment, finding a solution for Oswegatchie Hills and creating efficiencies in the town’s inventory of buildings.  “What I think I can bring to the table is a unique set of skills and qualifications to elevate and almost brand our town as a model in the state around issues such as creating more

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Nickerson cites experience, long-term planning, in East Lyme re-election bid

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EAST LYME — As he seeks a third full term as East Lyme’s chief executive, First Selectman Mark Nickerson said he hopes to win re-election based on his 20 years of experience in town government, long-term planning for economic development, public safety improvements, and seeking budget efficiencies through shared services with other towns. “East Lyme is one of the premier towns on the shoreline, and we didn’t get that way by accident. We got that way by steady leadership and big picture plans and getting things done,” the Republican incumbent said in an interview with CT Examiner in his office.

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Nickerson Supports Giving Up Vote on East Lyme Police Commission

EAST LYME — The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on November 6 on an ordinance to remove the first selectman as a voting member of the town’s Police Commission.  The First Selectman would remain as an ex officio member of the commission — effectively an advisory role — but would not have a vote . The specific language of the ordinance forbids any member of the seven-member police commission from holding any other elected or appointed office within the town. Current First Selectman Mark Nickerson spoke in support of the proposed ordinance at Wednesday night’s selectmen meeting.

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Connecticut Department of Transportation Explains New Traffic Cameras in East Lyme

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Every year the state department of transportation invests more than $10 million in replacing, installing and updating traffic signals. For the past couple years these projects have included cameras. “The signal needs to know where the traffic is at in the intersection,” said Kevin Nursick, spokesperson for the DOT. “Cameras see all legs of the intersection and tell the signal controller where the traffic or cars or motorcycles are on a visual basis.” The state chooses four project locations each year, one in each corner of the state. This year between 10 and 20 traffic signals in East Lyme will

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Letter: Late Questions about Public Safety Building in East Lyme

Thank you for your detailed reporting on the status of the East Lyme Public Safety Building. To build on this, I would like to offer my observations, experience and perspective on the process since the beginning of the year. There were four key issues that I offered in early February on the Facebook East Lyme Community Forum. It is self-evident that the Dominion building was not maintained and intentionally allowed to deteriorate until it became “deplorable” in what amounts to a manufactured crisis. East Lyme did not get an independent appraisal by a certified commercial real estate appraiser to validate

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East Lyme Candidates and Officials Debate Cuts and Additional Funding for Police Station

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EAST LYME — Town officials overseeing renovations of a new police building say that they expect to present a plan within the $2.2 million budget approved by voters last winter, while leaving the door open for an additional funding request. First Selectman Mark Nickerson told the Public Safety Building Vision Committee Monday night that the committee’s recommendation for converting the former Honeywell building needed two things: “We need a $2.2 million plan,” Nickerson said, “and then we need a plan to add the sally port and holdings cells and all the things that go with it structurally and for ADA

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East Lyme Tests New Law Curbing “Vexatious” Freedom of Information Requests

The Town of East Lyme is petitioning the state Freedom of Information Commission for unprecedented permission to ignore future requests for public documents from one resident the town alleges has abused transparency laws, harassed town employees, and made frivolous requests for years. The petition is the first of its kind — a test case for a 2018 amendment to Connecticut’s freedom of information laws intended to allow public agencies to petition for relief from “vexatious” requesters. Testimony for the case concluded on Monday at the FOIC’s offices in Hartford. Now attorneys for both sides will be expected to submit briefs

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East Lyme Voters Approve Emergency Spending, Will Be Revenue Neutral

EAST LYME — Local voters approved emergency spending $43,225 in emergency repairs to the Town Hall building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and about $36,000 of other special appropriations at a Wednesday night town meeting. Grants or sales of old town equipment funded each of the appropriations rather than new taxes.  “If you’re noticing that it’s pretty cool in here tonight — actually, it’s freezing — and it’s not because we like cold,” First Selectman Mark Nickerson told town meeting voters gathered in Town Hall. “It’s because the only way to get the humidity out of the building is to

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Code and ADA Compliance Weigh on Police Station Budget in East Lyme

EAST LYME — Town officials will weigh which features can be included in plans for a new police station given the significant cost of required code compliance and accommodations for accessibility, as they review architectural plans to convert the former Honeywell office building into a new public safety facility. Those plans were part of a presentation Thursday night by architects hired by East Lyme. At a referendum in February, East Lyme voters approved spending $5 million for a plan to purchase the Honeywell office building at 277 West Main Street and to renovate it as a consolidated center for the

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East Lyme Adds School Bus Route After Parents Face Delays

EAST LYME — The school district plans to add an extra bus route for East Lyme Middle School following complaints by parents that some buses had been consistently late picking children for school. “For the most part things have smoothed out, but there still are two buses, in particular [bus] three is the most problematic in the morning,” Superintendent Jeffrey Newton told the board of education on Monday. “What’s been our focus the whole time is getting kids to school on time.” Earlier this month, the school district pushed all bus stop pickup times back by 10 minutes in the

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East Lyme Town Meeting Scheduled for Oct. 2 to Approve Additional $79,278

EAST LYME — The Board of Selectmen are calling for an October 2 town meeting for voters to approve appropriations of $43,225 to replace a malfunctioning part of Town Hall’s heating system, $20,311 for emergency preparation laptops, and $15,742 for public works equipment. State grant moneys and proceeds from the sale of town vehicles will fund the appropriations in lieu of additional taxes. At Wednesday’s board of selectmen meeting, First Selectman Mark Nickerson said that the building automation system controlling Town Hall’s heating, cooling and ventilation is malfunctioning, putting staff and records at risk as the colder months approach. “We’re

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East Lyme Has Highest Accident Rate On I-95 East of New Haven… Why?

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IN THE REGION — In 2017, East Lyme had more crashes per car traveling through Connecticut on I-95 than any other town east of New Haven. For every 146,619 cars that drove through East Lyme in 2017, there was one crash, bringing the total number of crashes to 177, according to data from the Connecticut Crash Repository hosted by the University of Connecticut. Only two other towns in the region had such frequent car crashes – Groton at 172,711 cars per crash and Stonington at 167,319 cars per crash. Most rates are much lower, near or well above 300,000 cars

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