A Round Up of Endorsements

CT Examiner has assembled a round up of major endorsements How they endorsed The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund gives out letter grades to candidates based on their voting records, public statements and their responses to a questionnaire. “Aq” means a candidate received an “A” grade based only on their answers in the questionnaire. The Connecticut Business and Industry Association grades lawmakers by their votes on 10 bills the association considered priorities in the 2019 legislative session, so there are only grades for incumbent candidates. If a candidate takes more votes that CBIA considers pro-business – such as voting

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Sidewalks Plan Explained in Information Session

OLD LYME — The Community Connectivity Grant Committee held a virtual public information session Thursday night to explain the costs and a projected schedule for installing sidewalks on sections of Hartford Ave. and Shore Road.  The town was awarded a $400,000 Community Connectivity Grant in January 2019 and chose BSC Group, of Glastonbury, as the design firm in January 2020. The grant has a 3-year timeline to use the funding, Mary Jo Nosal, chair of the committee and a selectman for the town, presented a budget summary showing the grant will cover construction costs estimated at $287,000 for 970 feet

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Halls Road Committee Gets Go-ahead from Finance for Masterplan

OLD LYME — The Board of Finance has approved $48,000 in carryover funding for a master plan proposal submitted by the Halls Road Improvement Committee. The approval came at the board’s Tuesday night meeting, a day after the Board of Selectmen approved the project with a “not to exceed $48,000” stipulation.  Edie Twining, chair of the committee, and Kurt Prochorena, an engineer at BSC Group, which won the job with a bid of $46,500, presented the seven-page proposal, which includes the development of updated base mapping using existing town GIS and assessment data, 2016 orthophotography and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)

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Local Residents Question Turf Field Proposal at Open Forum

LYME/OLD LYME — The need for an artificial turf field was the topic of a Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education’s public forum on Wednesday night.  The project – which has been in the works for years – would cost the district at least $2.1 million and replace the current unirrigated, practice field with a 140,000 square foot artificial turf field with the lines for soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball marked. The field would be placed above tubing components of the school’s geothermal wells, but would not cover the access point or pump.  Funding for the project would be drawn from

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Mixed Response to Announced $50 Million in Funding for Small Businesses

Today’s announcement of Gov. Ned Lamont’s small business relief program received mixed responses from business associations, some welcoming the funding, while others argued that it is not enough to help the many small stores and restaurants that have lost revenue from the COVID pandemic. Lamont announced $50 million in CARES Act funding to be given out in the form of $5,000 grants to 10,000 small businesses across the state. To qualify for the funding, a business must have 20 or fewer employees or a 2019 revenue of $1.5 million or less.  The program falls short of the $70 million in

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Halls Road Project Heads to Board of Finance for Approval

OLD LYME —  The Halls Road Improvements Committee received the go-ahead from the Board of Selectmen on Monday to take the committee’s proposal for hiring a firm that will create a master plan to the town’s Board of Finance for approval.  The Halls Road committee, which was established in 2015, has approximately $48,000 in leftover funds carried over from earlier efforts to hire Yale Design Urban Workshop and to implement tax increment financing in the town’s shopping district. Repurposing that funding requires approval by the Board of Finance. The project is to hire the BSC Group, an engineering firm from

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Halls Road Committee Selects Engineering Firm to Plan Mixed-use, Wastewater Solutions

OLD LYME — The Halls Road Improvements Committee chose BSC Group by unanimous vote at a meeting on Thursday to create a master plan for Halls Road that will allow the addition of mixed-use zoning to the towns main shopping district.  The committee previously solicited proposals through an informal bid process from Newman Architects of New Haven, Robert Orr and Associates LLC, of New Haven, and BSC Group of Glastonbury.  The town has allocated $48,000 for the project, which will require approval from the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance to move forward.  Committee members felt that BSC

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Fogliano Calls for Town Commission on Affordable Housing in Old Lyme to Address State Requirements

OLD LYME — The Affordable Housing Committee made two initial recommendations to the Board of Selectmen Monday night that include urging the town to move forward with building two affordable units on McCulloch Farm before the option expires in 2024 and forming an Affordable House Commission to address long term goals and compliance issues, especially those related to the 8-30j law.  “We were launched in February this year with an exploratory mission to wrap our hands around affordable housing in Old Lyme,” said Mike Fogliano, chair of the committee, who presented the recommendations to the board by phone. Fogliano said

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Eminent Domain Proceedings Halted as Town and Beach Communities Agree to Payment

OLD LYME — The town has halted eminent domain proceedings to acquire two easements necessary for the planned sewer project in Old Lyme after the property owner agreed to a one-time payment in exchange for allowing a sewage pipe to be constructed across the properties. In a reversal that includes a $30,000 payment to Frank Maratta, owner of 85 Swan Ave. and 86 Hartford Ave, in consideration of the easement, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution Monday night that will allow the town to proceed with an important piece of the planned sewer project that will serve the

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Zoning Commission Debates Future Character of Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The town’s Zoning Commission will send recommendations for revisions to Old Lyme’s current Plan of Conservation and Development including a variety of ideas once considered out-of-step with the semi-rural character of the town. These recommendations come as the Old Lyme Planning Commission works to complete its once-every-decade update to the town plan by the end of 2020. The Office of Policy and Management requires that every municipality in Connecticut to update its plan, or POCD,  every 10 years or risk losing eligibility for state funding. “I think we should look at district overlays, we should look at

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Old Lyme to Acquire Two Easements by Eminent Domain

OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday to commence with the acquisition of easements by eminent domain for properties located at 85 Swan Ave. and 86 Hartford Ave.  The easements are needed for the construction of a permanent sewage conveyance pipe that will be part of the future combined sewage system for three chartered beach communities — Miami Beach, Old Colony Beach and Old Lyme Shores — and the town’s Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Area B.  The Pavilion Restaurant is located on a .46-acre parcel at 85 Swan Ave., which is abutted to the west by

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Prevailing Wage Rule May Limit Sidewalk Extension to Hartford Avenue

OLD LYME — There is a chance that prevailing wage requirements could significantly raise the cost of the Sound View sidewalks project if the state interprets the application as a renovation rather than as new construction. Public works projects must comply with state prevailing wage laws if they are classified as new construction and cost at least $1 million or as renovations and cost at least $100,000 “This is new construction, in my opinion. I think this is a situation where the regulations haven’t caught up with the evolution of projects. I think we’re not necessarily in a gray area,

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Old Lyme Zoning Commission Postpones Vote on Synthetic Turf Field

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Zoning Commission voted to postpone a vote on the proposed Lyme-Old Lyme turf field at Monday night’s meeting. “I wonder why this didn’t go to our engineer, I don’t feel confident to evaluate drainage,” said Jane Cable, a member of the Old Lyme Zoning Commission. “This is just all drainage.” Every commission member present agreed that they needed more information and voted to postpone the vote to the October meeting. The $2 to $3 million project, which has been in discussion for years, passed the Inland Wetlands Commission in Old Lyme this past May.

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Despite the Changes, Lyme-Old Lyme Students Say They Are Glad to be Back

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It was quiet. Not your typical hustle and bustle of chattering students showing off new outfits, sharing summertime stories and class schedules. Instead, everyone – teachers and students alike – seemed nervous.   “It’s a really hard thing to put a name to, because it was the first time I ever felt that. Even though there were kids and people in the building and it should’ve been filled with that spirit and that energy of the first day of school, everybody was very hesitant and tentative and not sure what to expect,” said Marc Vendetti, a sixth grade English teacher at

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Board Of Selectmen Debate Sewers, a Resolution on Racism, and Sidewalks (UPDATED)

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen held a public hearing last night to vote on whether to grant an easement for sewers to be installed by Old Lyme and three chartered beach communities. The system would establish a shared trunk sewer, pump station and force main between Old Lyme and the communities of Old Lyme Shores Beach, Old Colony Beach and Miami Beach. The pipes would run along Hartung Place, cross Hartford Avenue and Swan Avenue to reach the shared pump station at the corner of Pond Road and Portland Road. The shared force main would run up Portland Avenue

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Diebolt Details Planned Housing Development in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — “I’ve lived in town for 30 years and it seems like a great opportunity for what the town needs. We’re going to ‘do well by doing good.’ What we’re trying to do is make something that we’re proud to build and own and to provide as another housing alternative,” said Mark Diebolt, owner of the 20.6-acre parcel at 49 Hatchetts Hill Road where he and two partners plan to build a large apartment complex that will include 30 percent affordable units qualifying under the 8-30g statute.  “It’s going to look like a New England village,” said Diebolt

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224-Unit Housing Development Considered for Hatchetts Hill Road in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME —  At its Sept. 21 meeting, local resident Mark Diebolt will discuss plans with the Affordable Housing Committee to build a 224-unit, 11-building residential complex at 49 Hatchetts Hill Road, a 20.6-acre site just south of I-95 near exit 71. The complex is expected to include 30 percent affordable housing under state statute 8-30g. Vice-chair Karen Winters told committee members at an Aug. 31 meeting that Diebolt was interested in speaking with the committee, and with other town commissions, about the project.  Committee member Harold Thompson said that he had already spoken with Diebolt about the need for

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Added Costs Raise Questions Regarding Hartford Avenue Sidewalk Plans in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — How far a $400,000 Community Connectivity grant will cover sidewalk construction on the upper portion of Hartford Avenue and a section of Route 156 will remain a question until the town sees the project bids, mostly likely in the late fall with construction planned for March 2021.  If the entire project is to be completed, another question will be how the shortfall, if there is one, will be paid for, especially during the uncertain financial climate of the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Until you get it bid, you don’t really know,” First Selectman Timothy Griswold said by phone on

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Sewer and Water Projects Raise Questions, Upset Neighbors Near Old Lyme Shores

OLD LYME — Questions and complaints have arisen about the residential location of a staging area for Connecticut Water Company that is also the planned site of an odor control system for an upcoming sewer project that will serve three chartered beach associations and the Sound View beach community.  The .91-acre parcel at 308 Gorton Avenue, owned by Old Lyme Shores Beach Association, is deed-restricted as a “play field or for a clubhouse for use only of members of the Old Lyme Shores Beach Association, and for no other purposes.” The deed was recorded on Sept. 22, 1952.  “When we bought

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99% of Old Lyme Loses Electricity — Tops in Connecticut — as Emergency Warning System Goes Silent

Within hours of Tropical Storm Isaias hitting the shoreline of Connecticut on Tuesday more than 99 percent of residents and businesses in Old Lyme had lost power. Two days later, 78 percent are still in the dark. Statewide, Old Lyme was the municipality with the highest percentage of outages and East Lyme had the highest number of customers without power. By 4 p.m. “we lost all our ability to communicate on Tuesday,” said Dave Roberge, the emergency director of Old Lyme, on Thursday morning. “We lost phone, internet, electronic communication and were unable to send out a reverse 911 until

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Old Lyme Moves Forward on Sewer Agreement, Haines Park Bathrooms

OLD LYME — After a long discussion held in executive session, the Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed to authorize First Selectman Timothy Griswold to sign a cost-sharing agreement between the Town of Old Lyme and three chartered beach associations for a sewer project.  “We will have our attorney keep us informed of the other parties that are needed to sign and once it’s all finalized, we can [place] it in the public domain,” Griswold said.  Town voters approved a $9.5 million sewer construction bond on August 13, 2019 for Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B. The project cost is expected

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Local Officials Eye Strict Height Restrictions for Buildings in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — Two new houses planned on Hartung Place in Old Colony Beach, located in a 100-year flood plain, have received approval for raised FEMA-compliant construction at heights of 28.3 feet. That height exceeds the town’s 24-foot maximum in the R-10 residential zone. The nonconformity required approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals, in a process that began in December 2019 and was finalized in January 2020.  On July 12, the Zoning Commission approved a special permit for demolition for the two existing houses on the property  Most communities along the Connecticut shoreline have zoning regulations that allow for

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As Halls Road Committee Pushes toward an Ambitious Master Plan, Griswold Counsels a Focus first on Sidewalks

OLD LYME — As the Halls Road Improvements Committee moves toward the creation of village overlay district master plan, questions continue about the timing of details like sidewalks as well as the best municipal model to use as a pattern for the project.  The committee is considering proposals from three firms for the creation of a master plan for a village overlay district for Halls Road, which is currently zoned for commercial use. By state legislation enacted in 1998, a village district would allow the Zoning Commission of the town to add special provisions to the base zone, including mixed-use

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Veteran Restaurateur Launches Hangry Goose in Old Lyme, Draws Old and New Regulars

OLD LYME — The Hangry Goose has only been open a few weeks, but most of the customers seated on the back patio as lunch wound down on Thursday afternoon had been there before. They stopped owner Teddy Kanaras to remind him of their previous visits and let him know how good the chicken and clam chowder was. “It’s from a Greek chef who won best chowder at the Big E,” Kanaras said. “That’s why it’s so good.” Teddy and his wife Genna opened the Hangry Goose in early June. The breakfast and lunch restaurant stands on the bank of

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Doughnuts for Sale Starting Saturday, July 4 to Support the Shoreline Community Center

OLD LYME — The Sound View Beach Association will be selling freshly made doughnuts beginning Saturday, July 4 at the Shoreline Community Center, 39 Hartford Avenue, Old Lyme, from 7 to 10 a.m. or until sold out. Doughnuts will be available Saturdays and Sundays and Labor Day, through Sept. 7.  Single doughnuts are $1.25 each, a dozen doughnuts are $12, coffee rolls are $1.50 and coffee is $1. Doughnut flavors include apple spice, Bavarian cream with sprinkles, Boston cream, double chocolate cake, blueberry, plain, cinnamon, chocolate frosted, french cruller, honey dip and jelly filled.  All sale profits go to support

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Land Trust Shutters Watch Rock Preserve on Weekends to Limit Vandalism, Littering

OLD LYME — Due to an excess of littering and vandalism, the Old Lyme Land Trust will close the Watch Rock Preserve each weekend from now until Labor Day. “We are so sad and frustrated to have to close this preserve, especially this year during the pandemic,” said Ann Gallaher, Chief Steward of the Old Lyme Land Trust. “But the large amount of trash, recurrent vandalism and campfires are too much for an all-volunteer organization to handle.” The parking lot gate will be shut from 7:30 p.m. on Fridays until 8 a.m. on Mondays. According to the Land Trust Board

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Sound View Residents Hire Attorney, Commission Assessment, to Claim Proposed Sewer Fees Exceed Legal Limit

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OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Sewer Coalition, LLC, has hired an attorney and an appraiser to challenge the town’s cost-benefit assessment to pay for the planned installation of sewers in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Area B, arguing that the town’s formula violates Connecticut General Statutes §7-249 prohibiting assessments in excess of the benefits accrued to property owners. “The statute states expressly ‘[t]he sum of initial and subsequent assessments shall not exceed the special benefit accruing to the property’ and later repeats this limitation, ‘[n]o assessment shall be made against any property in excess of the special benefit to

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Town Reaches Compromise on Private Boat House Near Hains Park in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — A private group of rowers who purchased a property abutting Hains Park to store their shells reached a temporary agreement with the Parks and Recreation Commission on June 4 that will allow limited access to Rogers Lake.  On June 23, 2019, Blood Street Partners, LLC, a group of six rowers, purchased a two-bedroom, 1,350-square-foot house at 176 Boston Post Road for $152,000. The partners’ idea was to construct a two-story storage building for about 24 one- and two-person sculls while keeping the house in place on the .22-acre, commercially-zoned lot.  The partners wanted to portage their sculls,

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Old Lyme Rallies Against Racism and Police Brutality

OLD LYME — Hundreds of protesters carrying signs and chanting in support of black lives and and end to police brutality and systemic racism marched peacefully from Town Hall to the First Congregational Church on Saturday afternoon.  The Rev. Dr. Steven Jungkeit was the first speaker at the podium on the lawn of the church. “All of us feel a whole lot of different things right now — a sense of grief, a sense of mourning, a sense of outrage, a sense of pain and confusion and yes, maybe just maybe a tiny ray of hope that this will be an

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Hiking Trails on McCulloch Property in Old Lyme to Open Today

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OLD LYME — Hiking trails in the McCulloch Family Open Space will open on June 6, which is National Trails Day.  “The bullfrogs are out there. There’s a blue heron that flies over there head constantly and we put a beautiful bench in the meadow. It’s just a great place to hang out, said Amanda Blair, co-chair of the Open Space Commission, by phone Friday.  The McCulloch property has three trails. The Tree in the Gap trail and Yellow trail are accessed from Whippoorwill Road. Red trail begins on Flat Rock Hill Road.  “With these trails that connect to the

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