Old Lyme Officials Debate New Ideas for Saving Trees Along Ferry Road

OLD LYME — With maps and a tape measure in hand, Tree Commission members walked a section of the south side of Ferry Road Tuesday afternoon to inspect the right-of-way where a new sidewalk could be installed and to count the number of trees that would need to be removed.  One tree that was in poor condition because it had been trimmed unevenly to avoid the power lines would be taken down, said Joanne Camillo, chair of the commission.  “It’s really half a tree,” she said. In addition, two weeping cherry trees would likely be removed to construct a sidewalk

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Seek Donations for Teachers and Staff

LYME-OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme School District is asking for donations for its teachers and staff as an expression of appreciation for keeping the school open the entire year. “This has been a truly extraordinary year for us, and the fact that this district has been able to have students in person is a monumental feat,” said Diane Linderman, Chair of the district’s Board of Education.  Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, said that the district was able to offer in-person learning for the vast majority of the school year, which set it apart from many other districts.

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Essex Savings Bank Meets Opposition to Plans for Halls Road Service Plaza

OLD LYME — At its Thursday meeting, the Halls Road Improvements Committee addressed two officers of Essex Savings Bank concerning the committee’s opposition to a Big Y Express gas station and convenience store proposed for a property on Halls Road that is owned by the bank.  “One of our biggest concerns is putting in a gas station on this property goes in exactly the opposite direction of what we were trying to get to,” said committee Chair Edie Twining, who said it was unlikely that the property will ever be redeveloped for another use once the infrastructure for a gas

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Neighboring Businesses Raise Sharp Questions About Proposed Gas Station on Halls Road

OLD LYME — Two longtime business owners on Halls Road are concerned about the potential consequences of a proposed Big Y Express gas station and convenience store slated for connecting properties at 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road. The application for the project is on the agenda of tonight’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission special meeting at 5:30 via Webex. The commission will decide whether or not the project will have significant impact on the wetlands and vernal pool on the properties. If the commission decides the project will have significant impact then a public hearing is required no

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Town Officials Debate Sidewalk Alternatives for Ferry Road

OLD LYME — At their Thursday meeting, members of the town’s Tree Commission considered an alternative plan for Ferry Road sidewalks that would save about 10 trees slated for removal by moving the sidewalk to the opposite side of the road.  First Selectman Tim Griswold, who attended the commission meeting, compared the south side of Ferry Road where a privet hedge, a vinyl fence and potentially two trees would need to be removed, to the north side of the street where 10 of 13 trees would need to be taken down to accommodate the sidewalk replacement project.  “If we relocated

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Calling Ethics Commission ‘Totally Dysfunctional,’ Chair Proposes New Rules

OLD LYME — The new chair of the town’s Ethics Commission, Jane Cable, has requested increased funding to hire independent legal counsel to rewrite the ethics code for the town.  Cable, who was appointed to the commission and became chair on Dec. 2, 2020, asked the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday for an increase in the commission budget from $1,900 to $7,500 to cover legal costs.  “The Ethics Commission when I joined was totally dysfunctional because the code doesn’t give directions for a well-functioning Ethics Commission. It needs more than minor revisions,” said Cable. “It also needs oversight by the

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Sidewalk Project on Ferry Road in Old Lyme to Take Down Adjacent Trees

OLD LYME — Twelve trees along Ferry Road from Lyme St. to Rt. 156 have been tagged for potential removal — with some to be replaced — to accommodate the town’s construction of new, wider sidewalks. The root systems of a number of Norway Maples and Zelcovas, as well as other tree species, have caused portions of the sidewalk to buckle over time, which has created a safety hazard according to First Selectman Tim Griswold. At three feet in width, the sidewalk also does not meet the four-foot standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On a site walk set

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Amtrak Adds Clearance to Connecticut River Bridge in Response to Local Concerns

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OLD LYME — In response to concerns from the maritime community concerning vertical waterway clearance, Amtrak has redesigned a portion of a new bridge that will replace the 1907 bascule bridge that extends across the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.  The vertical clearance underneath the existing bridge is about 17.75 between spans and close to 18 feet under the movable span, according to an email from Craig Rolwood, a rail practice project manager with Hardesty & Hanover LLC, which is a consultant to Amtrak. The new bridge, an $400 million project expected to be completed in 2030,

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Big Y Plans Convenience Mart and Gas Station on Halls Road, Sparks Committee Discussion

OLD LYME — At its Thursday night meeting, the Halls Road Improvements Committee discussed potential plans for a Big Y Express gas station and convenience store on Halls road, sparking a discussion regarding zoning and an effort to walk back committee comments. Edie Twining, committee chair, who shared the information with the committee, said the Big Y company was interested in purchasing 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road (Route 156), both owned by Essex Savings Bank, which is adjacent to the properties.  The two connecting parcels would provide an “easy-in easy-out” traffic flow from Halls Road to Route 156

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Hearing on Thursday for Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development

OLD LYME — The Planning Commission will hold a virtual public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m. to consider the adoption of the 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development.  To join the meeting, click on the webex link on the meeting agenda. The meeting access code is 179 105 9119 and the password is YsbhfM47Z2A. To join by phone, dial 408-418-9388 and use access code 173 8212293. By law, the town must revise the plan every 10 years and last did so in 2010. The deadline for Old Lyme to complete its revision was December but the state

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Selectmen to Consider Compromise for Public Access to Tantummaheag Landing

OLD LYME — Vehicular access and parking  — with new regulations and signage ––  will continue to be available at the historic town-owned Tantummaheag Landing if the Board of Selectmen approves recommendations from the Harbor Management Commission.  “There is really no solution that I can see that will make everyone 100 percent happy, but I think this is as close to that as I can see us developing,” said Steven Ross, vice chair of the Harbor Management Commission, at Tuesday night’s meeting.  In December, the adjacent property owners of 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road, George Frampton and Carla D’Arista, blocked

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Lyme-Old Lyme Board Approves Turf Field, By a 6 to 3 Vote

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education voted on Wednesday to approve the installation of an artificial turf field, with one modification: swapping the controversial crumb rubber infill for what was described as a more environmentally friendly substance.  Diane Linderman, chair of the Board of Education, said that the Facilities Committee had met in December and changed the plan for crumb rubber infill to a product called Brockfill, which are small organic pellets engineered from southern pine.  Neviaser said he hoped that the change would address some of the concerns that people had raised at previous Board of

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Town Plan Outlines Changes for Housing, Retail, and Coastal Properties in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — A draft of the town’s 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development is scheduled for a public hearing and potential approval by the town’s Planning Commission on Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. via Webex.  The state requires that towns review and update their plans at least once every decade, and the current plan dates to 2010. The draft includes substantive changes to the town’s approach to raising structures along the shoreline, to the town’s housing and zoning, and to the town’s long-standing preference for local shoppers along the commercial district on Halls Road. The plan also reiterates a

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Mervin Francis Roberts, 1922 – 2020

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With his wife, the former Edith May Foster, Mervin Francis Roberts first came to Old Lyme in 1960. He and Edith May became active in church, government, fire department and town life. Merv was born in New York City in 1922. He was a Naval Officer during WWII. He served in the Navy for four years, and then in the Reserve. He was awarded 4 campaign medals, two with Combat Stars. After his service, he returned to complete a degree in Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University.  He served as a Merchant Marine Officer, Scout Master and Commissioner, Town Shellfish Commissioner,

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New Homeowner Limits Access to a 319-year-old Public Landing and Sparks Row

OLD LYME — Parking and a historic right of way to a public landing on the Connecticut River dating to 1701 were blocked by an nearby landowner placing boulders to limit access in November. The town-owned landing, parking area and right of way are wedged between two parcels of land — 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road — that were purchased by George Frampton and Carla D’Arista in September. “The issue is not about public access. We love people walking down the lane. We want to maintain public access. But the issue is about the use and parking of vehicles,” said

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Housing Plans Revived for Halls Road Redevelopment

OLD LYME — According to a real estate consultant hired to work on a masterplan for Halls Road, strong market demand for apartment rentals suggests that multi-family residential construction would be the most desirable option for redeveloping Halls Road. “There’s only one apartment for rent in all of Old Lyme. To get this, I went to realtor.com, Zillow, rent.com, apartments.com, and I interviewed, I think, eight different brokers. There’s one apartment, I mean, talk about a demand,” Maura Cochran, of Bartram & Cochran, told the Halls Road Improvements Committee during a presentation via zoom Monday night.  “There’s only one apartment

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Secures Zoning Approval for Lyme Street Site

OLD LYME — The Zoning Commission has approved a special permit application for the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center to relocate to 100 Lyme Street, the current location of the Bee and Thistle Inn.  At its virtual meeting Monday night, the commission approved a special permit application and municipal coastal site plan review application to permit the use of the property for nonprofit and educational activities.  Claudia Weicker, the center’s board chair, said a condition of the purchase agreement of the inn was approval of the special permit application before the end of the year, which Weicker said was the

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Griswolds Add Solar Array for Tesla Trucks to Deliver Plants Across New England

OLD LYME — Matt and Martin Griswold, two brothers growing outdoor perennials, herbs and vegetables to sell wholesale across southern New England, are installing solar panels capable of generating 100 kilowatts of electricity that they will use to power Tesla electric trucks to carry their shipments. Soon the sun that helps grow the flowers and vegetables on Judge’s Farm will also power the trucks carrying them to buyers from Westchester County to Cape Cod. The farm currently uses a fleet of five diesel-powered trucks to carry shipments, Matt Griswold said, but they run through a lot of expensive fuel, frequently

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South Lyme Marina, a ‘Diamond in the Rough’

SOUTH LYME — “This place used to be cool. Even five or six years ago there were 48 boats here and this past year there were only six and a lot of it is due to the conditions — it’s not in the best of shape,” said Michael Barnes, who gestured to the wooden docks and sprawling gravel parking lot of the marina he bought on Nov. 9. “It’s a diamond in the rough,” he said. “There’s good fishing in the river and Long Island Sound is right there.”  Located at 8 Bank St., the 2.2-acre property — which Barnes

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Sewer Agreements an Obstacle for Hatchetts Hill Development

OLD LYME — Sewage capacity — how it’s shared, and who apportions it — could become an obstacle for developers of a proposed 224-unit housing development off Hatchetts Hill Road. The complex is expected to include 67 units of affordable housing under state statute 8-30g. The 11-building complex will require a capacity of 50,000 gallons per day, said Mark Diebolt, who, with his two partners, plans to build the project on a 20.6-acre site at 49 Hatchetts Hill Road. Currently, the town has negotiated for 300,000 gallons of sewage outflow to a treatment plant in New London each day. That

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A 3 – 2 – 1 Pie Pastry

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So you want to make a pie for Thanksgiving… Here’s an exceptionally easy recipe that reaches back to French pastry technique, using just a fraction more butter than a typical American pie to achieve a more forgiving pastry and a classic tender-flaky result. The recipe itself is a simple proportion: 3 parts flour, 2 parts cold butter, 1 part cold water (by weight). And the idea is to sidestep a few basic problems of pastry that begin when you add water to flour by first ‘waterproofing’ the dough with a little bit of extra butter. A basic two crust 9-inch

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Plans Purchase of Bee and Thistle Inn in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — The iconic Bee and Thistle Inn, known over the years as a destination restaurant, cozy watering hole, wedding venue and getaway bed and breakfast, will soon be transformed into the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, a nature and education organization that is part of the Connecticut Audubon Society, if the plans get the go-ahead this fall. Claudia Weicker, Roger Tory Peterson’s board chair, said Monday in an interview with CT Examiner that she expects the center will close on the property before the end of 2020. Phased renovations within the existing historic footprint are expected to last from

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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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