Regional Planners Seek Federal Recognition as Connecticut’s County Government Equivalent

Connecticut’s regional councils of government are seeking to be federally recognized as the state’s equivalent of county government in an effort to make better use of federal data, be more competitive for certain federal grants, and streamline application processes. Sam Gold, chair of the Connecticut Association of Councils of Government, said that county lines in Connecticut are a “historical relic” of the 18th and 19th centuries. County governments in Connecticut were abolished by the state legislature in 1960.  Many of the roles filled by county governments in other states are covered instead by nine councils of government (COGs), which are

More

Atlas Outdoor Fence Begins Site Work in Old Saybrook

Adjacent to Pasta Vita, Michael Picard – the owner of Atlas Outdoor Fence Company and the soon-to-be-built Hanford Commons – is constructing an outdoor business and contractor’s storage yard. The application from his new LLC – 215 Elm Street Associates – was approved by the Zoning Commission on February 19. Picard wasted no time and construction on the project began this Monday. Picard “plans to construct phase one of a commercial development that will provide contractor business storage, warehousing and manufacturing space,” according to Mike Ott, a civil engineer working for Picard. “Phase one improvements will include excavation and grading

More

Board of Finance Debates Study for Possible Lymes’ Senior Center Expansion

OLD LYME — Members of the Board of Finance said Tuesday night that they were open to paying for part of the costs of a $30,000 study of the Lymes’ Senior Center’s long-term needs, but members raised concerns of the appropriateness of an architect to carry out that study. “To me it almost sounds like a conflict to have an architect doing a feasibility study and say we need this [architectural work],” said Board of Finance chair Andy Russell at Tuesday’s board meeting. “It sounds like there’s probably other organizations out there that come into senior centers, look at the

More

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

More

East Lyme School Board Approves 4.98% Increase, Cites Years of Deferred Needs

EAST LYME — The Board of Education approved a fiscal year 2020-21 budget of $51,699,974 — a 4.98 percent increase over 2019-20 — after a Monday night public forum where residents aired their thoughts on class sizes, technology in classrooms, costs to taxpayers, and special education support. Board of Education members acknowledged that the increase was larger than in recent years, but said that this was a “catch-up” budget to address needs that had been put off in previous years. “We have to make up for everything that we’ve been cutting all these years,” said school board member Jaime Barr

More

Art Emporium Moves, Esty’s Closes with Purchase of Main Street Location in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — The Art Emporium of Old Saybrook has moved and Esty’s Lamps has closed its doors after the purchase of 288-292 Main Street in January of 2020. “The building needs a lot of repair and it needs restoration, the new owners are going to repurpose it and we didn’t fit their vision,” said Robert Jerome, the owner of the Art Emporium. “It’s been a positive change for us, our new space is about two times the size so we can be more efficient and we have a more visible presence in town now.” Jerome, who moved recently to

More

Whalebone Cove Organizes Grassroots Effort on Invasives in the Connecticut River

LYME —“It started with eight people around a dining table and grew to thirty-five volunteers that pulled 5,000 to 6,000 invasive plants out of a cove last summer,” said Diana Fiske, a member of Friends of Whalebone Cove, a nonprofit formed to preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the cove, which has been threatened the increasing growth of non-native invasive plants.  The first meeting was in 2015 and now the group has grown to about 100 members who decided last year to take a more scientific approach to solutions for Whalebone Cove, an inlet just downriver from where the

More

Tim Griswold Sketches Out the Big Picture for Old Lyme’s 2020-21 Budget

OLD LYME — In the eight years since he last worked on a budget as first selectman, Tim Griswold said that one of the most dramatic changes he’s seen as he works on the budget for 2020-21 has been a drop in aid from the state. In Old Lyme’s fiscal year 2010-11 budget, revenue from Education Cost Sharing — the biggest single annual infusion of state money for many towns — was about $605,500. In fiscal year 2017-18, that state funding had dropped to about $205,500. The town’s fiscal year 2018-19 audit showed that number grew to about $241,500. “It’s been dwindling,”

More

Benny Benack Plays for Love at the Side Door

/

OLD LYME — Benny Benack III sang all the sweetheart songs you could wish for on a Valentine’s Day engagement at the Side Door in Old Lyme. He announced, “We’ll fit in as much Great American Songbook as we can here tonight!” With Sinatra-inspired vocals and a great band of friends and contemporaries, he delivered standards like “My Funny Valentine,” “Unforgettable” and “Home is Where the Heart Is” to an audience of Valentine’s couples. Several of his own song compositions followed this swinging nostalgic mode – “Irrepressible,” as well as the up-tempo “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” the title

More

State Officials Push Business Recruitment, Public-Private Partnership at Chamber Breakfast

GROTON — At a Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut breakfast in Groton on Thursday, invited leaders from Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development, and nonprofit AdvanceCT, spoke about government partnerships with the private sector. “South Carolina and other states down south have been calling our companies. Why can’t we do the same?” said Peter Denious, president and CEO of AdvanceCT, formerly the Connecticut Economic Resource Center. “Why can’t we go on offense and get on our front foot and work with companies like Pfizer about who in your supply chain should be here. Who do we have a value

More

Vineyard Wind Biologist Talks Common Ground with Fishing Industry

///

NEW BEDFORD — With about 20 years of experience on the seas, Crista Bank has worked in academia as a fisheries biologist, conducted research with commercial fishermen, earned her 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license, journeyed across the globe aboard traditional sailing vessels and taught marine science in New England, Southern California and the Florida Keys. In May 2018, she became a fisheries liaison for Vineyard Wind, an offshore wind developer based in New Bedford where she grew up and now lives. The company has two projects in the works — Vineyard Wind I, a 800-megawatt project off the coast

More

Old Saybrook Moves to Allow Lighted Playing Field, Studies Installation at High School

OLD SAYBROOK — Illuminated playing fields are no longer prohibited in Old Saybrook after February 18. If granted a special exception, lights up to 80 feet high could be erected on any property greater than 11 acres, owned by the town or Fire Company #1 and located in a Residence A or Industrial I district. Although no project has officially been proposed, this change could allow for lights to be built surrounding the Old Saybrook High School football field. “We certainly think there would be benefits [to adding lighting] for our students and, we hope, for the community,” said Old

More

State Order Resolved, Essex Shutters Water Pollution Board, Shifts Authority to Selectmen

ESSEX — By a unanimous vote, the Board of Selectmen repealed the ordinance establishing the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority, transferring its responsibilities to the selectmen. The move is part of an effort by town elected officials to professionalize municipal services, and follows measures by the town that have satisfied a state order to address water pollution. Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman explained that waste water management issues in the future will appear as “WPCA business,” on the selectmen’s agenda, much as the board now conducts business as the traffic authority for the town. In 2011, the town hired Lisa

More

After Essex, Deep River and Chester Selectmen Set 3 Percent Cap, School Board Debates Budget Choices

/

The proposed Region 4 Board of Education budget includes a 2.47 percent increase compared with last year’s budget, but after Wednesday night’s meeting, that number is likely to increase to 3 percent. That would bring the total budget for 2020-2021 to between $21.1 and $21.2 million. “The process this year was making up for the gaps, we wanted to provide for the programs, but also make sure we covered what has been missed in years past,” said Superintendent Brian White. “In the future, we want this discussion to be more value-based, but right now we are working with what the

More

With Aging Population, Lymes’ Senior Seeks Study of Needs, Possible Expansion

OLD LYME — A special building committee for the Lymes’ Senior Center plans to ask the Board of Finance on February 25 to fund a feasibility study of the long-term needs of the area’s seniors and a possible expansion of their facilities. “There’s a lot of us who are 55 and older,” said Jeri Baker, chair of the Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee. “There’s just a lot of us. And we’re looking for continued opportunities to learn and be active and grow with other people and be social and to be kind for our much older members at the center,

More

No Explanation for End to New London Urban-Suburban Open Choice Program

NEW LONDON — Despite being identified as a priority district in 2001, funding for the Open Choice program in New London was eliminated. Open Choice is credited with helping to integrate suburban schools, and for providing educational opportunities to urban students unavailable in their home districts. New London schools are instead provided with Interdistrict Cooperative Grants that allow any student in the state to attend New London schools. The state continues to fund Open Choice programs for Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven. “There is no explicit reason we can find on why New London chose to stop participating in the

More

Old Lyme Selectmen Discuss Haines Park Bathroom, March Projects

OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen discussed updates to several town projects at their Tuesday afternoon meeting. The Haines Park Bathroom Committee is expecting to send the project out to bid in March, with the potential to begin work as early as April, Giswold said. Due to an inadequate well servicing the planned bathroom, the project’s scope has been expanded to include a water system and crawl space where water can be stored, Griswold said. That could increase project costs by more than the $150,000 already appropriated for the project during the regular budget cycle. Griswold said that town

More

New London Grand List Grows 2.85 Percent, Waterford Apartments Jump 18.8 Percent

Total property values in New London — calculated by comparing grand lists for 2018 and 2019 — grew by 2.85 percent, or about $41.3 million, outpacing other towns in the region which have so far filed numbers with the state. New London reported $1,492,043,348 of property in October 2019, compared to $1,450,658,923 in October 2018. The 2019 Waterford grand list — at more than twice the value of New London — showed less growth this past year. Waterford’s inventory grew by 0.97 percent, or about $32 million, from $3,300,513,595 in 2018 to $3,332,549,281 in 2019. The 2019 grand list provides

More

Area Towns Face Hike in Tipping Fees as Officials Debate 30-year Commitment to Trash Incineration

/

The 51 member towns that take part in the Materials Innovation Recycling Authority (MIRA) will need to decide by May 31 whether to sign on to a 30-year agreement to continue incinerating municipal garbage at a starting rate of $145 per ton or to have that garbage hauled and landfilled out of state.  The state legislature faces a related question this session with the introduction of SB 11, “An Act Concerning the Reliability, Sustainability, and Economic Vitality of the State’s Waste Management System.” The legislation would set an annual waste reduction goal of 700 pounds per capita by 2022, and

More

Groton Startup ThayerMahan Grows to Capture Offshore Wind and Electric Boat Opportunities

//

GROTON — Years before the Connecticut Port Authority approved a $157 million deal to redevelop State Pier in New London as a staging area for offshore wind, and before a $22 billion submarine contract was awarded to Groton-based Electric Boat, a growing ecosystem of smaller companies have been setting up shop in the region, hoping to service the wind and maritime industries. “We’re a bunch of guys who started a company based on maritime [technology and data]. Many of us are former submariners and we sought to do things with autonomous vehicles that we used to do with submarines with

More

As Budget Deliberations Begin, Nickerson Emphasizes Public Safety and Redevelopment for East Lyme

EAST LYME — At a meeting on the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development late last month, two residents debated whether or not East Lyme could still be considered a “small town.”  Asked that same question in a Tuesday interview, First Selectman Mark Nickerson agreed that the town had changed significantly in the roughly 35 years that he’s lived here, but he added, “Is it a small town? It’s still got a lot of small town charm. You can walk up and down the boardwalk and walk into the grocery store and know everybody. Yes, we have lots of visitors,

More

After Study Recommends Sewering into Connecticut River, 840 Parcels Pose Quandary for Old Saybrook

/

OLD SAYBROOK — According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the town has only two options to resolve a water pollution issue dating to the 1970s: either install a water treatment and community septic system, or install sewers and a sewage treatment facility that would drain into the Connecticut River. “The final combination will mean some properties can be upgraded conventionally [with septic systems], but the majority of properties will likely funnel waste to another property in town or the river,” said Carlos Esquerra, a sanitary engineer at DEEP. “This is a tough choice for the town,

More

Survey Reveals 200 Acres of Invasive Hydrilla in Lower Connecticut River

/

According to a recent survey, more than 200 acres of the lower third of the Connecticut River is overgrown with hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant that, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, is among the most difficult to control. “The big news from our survey is that hydrilla has been found in the Connecticut River,” said Greg Bugbee, an associate agriculture scientist at the Experiment Station. “The coves – Hamburg Cove and Whalebone Cove — are the most heavily impacted, along with sections near the shoreline that are three feet or less deep.” The hydrilla in the Connecticut River

More

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

/

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,

More

Taxable Property Up 1.78 Percent in East Haddam, Modest Growth in Nearby Towns

/

Recent filings of grand lists by Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, and Westbrook show modest growth across the region between October 2018 and October 2019. Of the four towns, East Haddam had the largest increase in its overall grand list, at 1.78 percent. The town’s total net assessment grew from $879,144,920 in 2018 to $894,795,125 in 2019. Westbrook grew 1.12 percent, from $1,149,623,949 in 2018 to $1,162,509,264 in 2019.  Chester’s taxable property grew 0.87 percent, from $441,137,583 to $444,985,360 in 2019. Of the four towns, Deep River had the smallest increase, of 0.34 percent, its total net assessment grew from

More

Old Lyme Land Trust Chair, Lawyer, Meet with Berggren on Beaver Flooding

OLD LYME — After nearly two years of asking neighbors to help locate and remove a beaver dam flooding his home and property on Black Hall Pond, Dave Berggren met today with Old Lyme Land Trust Board Chair Mike Kiernan and trust lawyer Thor Holt. Contrary to numerous statements by trapper Robert Comtois, former Flood and Erosion Board chair Todd Machnik and others, that there is a beaver dam on the Land Trust’s Jericho Preserve that is responsible for the flooding, Holt said the first step will be determining if that dam exists. “We don’t know how many dams there

More

Connecticut Port Authority Approves Revised Wind Energy Plan for State Pier in New London

//

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Port Authority unanimously approved a $157 million plan to reconfigure State Pier for use by offshore wind companies following discussions during two closed executive sessions at a special meeting Tuesday morning. David Kooris, chair of the authority, said the plan was “fundamentally different” from the $93 million memorandum of understanding announced by the State of Connecticut, Gateway Terminal, Ørsted and Eversource on May 2, 2019. Like the original project, the new facility will have heavy-lift capacity needed for offshore wind components, but will also include three berths designed not to conflict with Cross Sound Ferry’s routes

More

New London Residents, Businesses, Leaders, Gather to Discuss Economic Development

NEW LONDON — “What do you feel has been missing or needs improvement with respect to communications between the city and individual residents? How can city leaders better gain your trust?” “What specific problems or issues do you feel impact the quality of life of those living and working in New London?” Members of the Economic Development Commission directed these and other questions to about 60 residents, business owners and community leaders at a workshop Monday night that focused on ideas for supporting the city’s economy and identifying obstacles to growth. The two-hour workshop, held at the Science and Technology

More

Old Lyme Affordable Housing Committee Holds First Meeting, Questions 10 Percent Goal

/

OLD LYME — The newly-appointed Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee held its first meeting Monday night, with members sharing that they do not think that the town would necessarily be able to meet the statewide goal of 10 percent affordable housing, but that Old Lyme could do more for teachers, service workers, and longtime residents. The committee, appointed by the Board of Selectmen in January, was charged with researching the resources, regulations and issues of affordable housing as they relate to Old Lyme, and to recommend a housing strategy to the town. Committee member Thomas Ortoleva said early in the meeting

More

Halvordson Weighs in on Addition of Offshore Wind to Region’s Submarine Supply Chain

/

GROTON — Opportunities for Connecticut-based companies in the supply chain that services the undersea and maritime industries are increasing now that offshore wind has entered the market, according to Ali Halvordson executive director of the Naval and Maritime Consortium. “The offshore wind supply chain is very immature in this country. It’s growing and we want to attract it as much [and] as early as possible from Europe,” said Halvordson in her office at UConn Avery Point on Feb. 4. The consortium, formed in 2017, was originally known as the Connecticut Undersea Supply Chain Consortium and focused on the submarine industry,

More
1 27 28 29 30 31 41