Canceled Public Comment Sparks Outcry at Sewer Meeting Teleconference in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — Local residents expressed significant consternation at the close of the Water Pollution Control Authority meeting on Tuesday night when chair Richard Prendergast announced that public comment had not been included on the agenda, a decision that he said would remain until COVID-19 mandates for social distancing had been lifted and meetings could be held in person once again.  “You notice that a lot of times we have public comment. We don’t have public comment on this agenda. We removed it. We are not required to [have it] and I’m not trying to stop people from commenting. I

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Letter: Appraisal Estimates Don’t Add Up for Residential Owners in Sound View

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At the conclusion of the December WPCA meeting, Chairman Prendergast made the following statements recorded in WPCA minutes and CT Examiner:  His White Sands property and those of his neighbors had gone up 20 – 30% in the latest appraisal.  “Beach property values generally go up when the rest of the town goes down. When people install sewers, generally the property is worth more” he said.    I have had discussions with the town assessor and with other assessors in neighboring towns.  The professional consensus is that location, condition, and amenities drive price, and that buyers place no additional value

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Old Lyme WPCA Hires Consultant, Debates Sewer Funding and Tests

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OLD LYME — The Water Pollution Control Authority made incremental progress Tuesday night, approving a contract to hire a benefit assessment consultant, discussing a potential agreement with the three private beach communities, as well as considering an independent expert to evaluate water testing at Hawk’s Nest.  WPCA Chair Richard Prendergast said that hiring a assessement consultant will help define variables in the town’s Sound View Beach neighborhood which is slated for sewer installation, but has a wide range of commercial and residential properties. In a referendum on August 13, town voters approved a $9.5 million sewer construction bond for Sound

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Letter: How the Politics of Sewers Impacts One Old Lyme Family

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Originally the scope of the sewer project in Old Lyme — as determined by the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority and DEEP — included the public beaches of Sound View, White Sands Beach and Hawks Nest. The private beaches were already marching forward.  At the October 2014 meeting of the Old Lyme WPCA, as a result of a motion raised by Mr. Prendergast, White Sands was removed from the project, citing cost. Area B (near the railroad tracks) was subsequently added. The estimated cost to sewer the three Sound View public streets – Portland Ave, Hartford Ave and Swan Ave

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State Holds Hearing on Water Supply to Miami Beach and Hawk’s Nest in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The Miami Beach Water Company, which serves 117 residences within the Miami Beach Association and at Hawk’s Nest Beach is under investigation for failing to comply with a state order concerning the availability, or potability, or the provision of water at adequate volume and pressure.  In a May 29, 2019 letter to First Selectman Bonnie Reemsnyder from Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Executive Secretary Jeffery R. Gaudiosi, the town was informed that the Department of Public Health and PURA, were establishing a joint proceeding, filed as PURA docket 18-11-01, to examine Miami Beach Water Company’s failure to comply

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Denied a Town Meeting by Petition, Officials Provide No Legal Explanation

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OLD LYME — Without a clear legal basis, the town has denied a petition for a special meeting with the Water Pollution Control Authority submitted by a group of Sound View residents. “We the residents/taxpayers of Old Lyme request a meeting with the Old Lyme WPCA, where we the people of Old Lyme will ask questions and receive answers to those questions regarding aspects of the WPCA actions to install sewers in Sound View and Area B,” stated the petition signed by 61 Sound View residents.  On August 13, voters approved a $9.5 million bond for sewer construction in Sound

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Sound View Pump Station Reviewed in Tuesday’s Zoning Hearing

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OLD LYME — The special permit application for the proposed pump station at 73 Portland Avenue proceeded fairly quickly through a Zoning Commission public hearing Tuesday. The pump station will be the “central collection and discharge point for the wastewater generated in the participating Old Lyme beach areas. The station will convey flow through approximately 16,000 feet of proposed force mains to an existing sewer manhole at 275 West Main Street in East Lyme, about 1,900 feet east of the town line at Four Mile River,” according to the special permit application prepared by Fuss & O’Neill, dated September 6

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Frank Chan Proposes New Formula for Assessing Sewers Fees in Sound View

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OLD LYME — At the October 8 Water Pollution Control Authority meeting, Vice-Chair Frank Chan proposed a new formula to calculate Equivalent Dwelling Units for the Sound View Beach that would narrow the difference between minimum and maximum assessments. “Our basic premise is every dwelling will receive [the] sewer as a benefit and larger sized dwellings with a larger capacity generate [more] wastewater and therefore will be assessed a larger amount,” he said. “The minimum to maximum ratio should be small, should be reasonable, instead of 10 to one [it] should be two or three to one.” Under new benefit

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With Sewers Slated, First Demolition in Sound View Neighborhood of Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — By 5 p.m. Monday, the 1930s-era building that once housed KiddieLand and prior to that O’Connor’s Dance Hall, was a jumble of metal, wood and concrete being prodded and crunched into a pile by the jaws of an excavator.  Across Hartford Avenue, building owner Frank Noe and his wife, Lois Noe, observed the process with friends and neighbors who gathered on the sidewalk to reminisce and talk about the future, some passing around old photographs. “The structure is all down and the next move is just cleaning it up and waiting for sewers and then deciding what

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Impending San Jose Water and Connecticut Water Service Merger Raises Questions

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) could approve a long-delayed and previously-rejected merger of San Jose Water (SJW) and the Connecticut Water Service (CWS) and its subsidiaries, after receiving over 80 commitments to protect the public interest, and placing additional conditions on the merger. CWS currently serves about 325,000 Connecticut residents and 56 towns across the state, including Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Chester, Madison, Guilford and Stonington. The merger has raised some concerns about the status of commitments to install updated water service to the Sound View neighborhood of Old Lyme. Regulatory hurdles According to the

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Of Note: The Matter of Contacting Property Owners Before a Vote

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On Thursday, the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) met for the first time since voters approved a plan to borrow up to $9.5 million to install sewers in the shoreline neighborhood of Sound View. About 40 people attended, many were property owners from the Sound View neighborhood and upset about being saddled with the great bulk of the cost of installing sewers. Two police officers also were on hand, and stood at the back of the room, but the meeting was entirely peaceful. WPCA chair Richard Prendergast was absent, and the Vice Chair Frank presided in his stead.

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Editorial: Strategy, Liability, and Planning for Sewers in Old Lyme

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Now that the votes are counted, and the referendum to borrow up to $9.5 million approved, I guess it’s too late for the relatively tiny neighborhood of Sound View to reconsider a strategy which, when you think about it, amounted to convincing the vast majority of residents what a fantastic deal they’d be getting by approving the plan. Whether that deal holds up remains to be seen — Sound View residents have hired a lawyer and are mounting a well-funded legal challenge — and the actual text of the resolution (you did read the full text of the resolution, didn’t

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Update: Referendum Passes 883 to 565 to Fund Sewers in Old Lyme’s Sound View

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OLD LYME — With high voter turnout at Tuesday’s referendum that included both property owners and residents, the question of whether to bond $9.5 million for sewer construction in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B passed 883 to 565.  The project will be partly reimbursed with a 25 percent Clean Water Funds grant, reducing the costs to approximately $7.44 million.  The vote was the culmination of years of discussion about how to handle an administrative order from the state to mitigate beach area wastewater pollution from flowing into Long Island Sound.  After the vote was counted at the

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Letter: Pappalardo Weighs in On Sound View Referendum Result

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Today’s referendum vote in favor of a $9.5 mil bond for sewers creates a number of questions that must be answered. First and foremost is cost recovery: How the town expects to pay for the bond. The WPCA and our Board of Selectmen have gone on record stating that the entire bond cost will be paid by the property owners in Sound View and area B. This unprecedented method for a public works project cost recovery should be troublesome to all taxpayers. What’s to prevent other town projects to be paid only by those that are affected? Will Rogers Lake

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Old Lyme Referendum to Fund Sewers on Shoreline Passes 883 to 565

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OLD LYME — A sizable voter turnout to a midsummer referendum gave the Town of Old Lyme the needed approval, by a significant margin, to borrow up to $9.5 million to fund the planning and installation of sewers in the Sound View neighborhood and adjacent “miscellaneous area B” off Route 156. The referendum also gives the Board of Selectmen significant flexibility to negotiate and modify the planning and funding of the project moving forward. In a number of public statements First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder has pledged that the cost to the town will be repaid by property owners in Sound

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Town Meeting With Two Votes And Two Different Results Erupts in Chaos in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The atmosphere of a Special Town Meeting erupted into shouting and chaos Monday night after a recount on a vote concerning bridge funding took several turns that some residents said were unfair. The contested vote feeds into broader tensions in the community concerning the fairness of the upcoming sewer referendum. First on the meeting agenda was the $9.5 million sewer referendum, slated for Aug. 13, which will authorize the town to issue bonds, notes and other obligations, to finance the appropriation for Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B. Second was the question of appropriating $328,500

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Old Lyme WPCA Chair Prendergast Talks Funding and the Future of Sound View

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OLD LYME — With the August 13 referendum on funding sewers in Sound View Beach approaching, Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) Chairman Richard Prendergast stopped by CT Examiner’s office Tuesday to clarify concerns and answer questions.  “There’s no certainty of that passing in Old Lyme, the default is to not pass. If you’re from Old Lyme you know that we don’t do things like this too often,” he said.  The referendum asks whether the town should bond $9.5 million to build sewers in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Area B, part of a broader arrangement, partially reimbursed by a 25

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Sound View Residents Say Old Lyme Referendum Not Last Word on Sewers

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More than 70 Old Lyme property owners, many with family ties to the Sound View neighborhood dating back three and four generations, filled the Shoreline Community Center on Hartford Avenue Sunday morning to discuss the town-wide August 13 referendum to borrow $9.5 million for sewers and to gauge support for a legal challenge.  “This is not right. This is a town infrastructure project,” said Frank Pappalardo, chair of the town’s Sound View Commission but speaking in his capacity as a resident of Swan Avenue, to summer residents and business owners who sat in folding chairs and stood along the back

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DEEP: Old Lyme Not on Clean Water Funds List, Not Under Deadline for Sewers

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OLD LYME — A state official confirmed Monday that the town is not currently on the state’s Clean Water Funds priority list to receive a 25 percent grant for the Sound View Beach sewer project, but once the town approves bond funding, the project will be eligible for 25 percent grants in the design and construction phases.  The town is also not under a deadline this summer that would result in a loss of grant funding, according to George Hicks, Supervising Sanitary Engineer of the Connecticut Department of  Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, who

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Editorial: A Few Questions Before A Vote…

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On August 13, the Town of Old Lyme will vote to decide whether to borrow $9.5 million to finance the installation of sewers for commercial and residential properties in Sound View, and an adjacent neighborhood just north of Shore Road called “Miscellaneous Town Area B.” It’s our understanding that state law gives municipalities broad discretion in how they choose to charge for sewers – fair or not, that’s a high bar for shoreline property owners now considering legal avenues if the referendum is approved. But, how is it fair that seasonal residents are forced to pay for a school system

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Sewage Pump House Granted Variance for Private Land in Sound View

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OLD LYME — The sewer project for three chartered beach associations and the town’s Sound View Beach cleared a small hurdle Tuesday when the zoning board of appeals granted a variance, with conditions, for a sewage pump house to be located at 73 Portland Ave., a privately-owned corner lot directly across the street an alternate site at 72 Portland Ave. proposed by the town. Provided it’s approved by the zoning commission, the variance would give the three beach associations — Miami Beach, Old Colony and Old Lyme Shores — a location for a pump house independent of the town’s progress

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Letter: Sound View Homeowners Should Be Aware of Obligations

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To the Editor: Thank you for your coverage of the Sound View sewer project. One correction: the cost per EDU as stated by the WPCA will be $25,007, not $15,000. $15,000 is the minimum a homeowner would be assessed. Thus, according to the WPCA slide presentation, the “typical average house of 1 EDU (1,242 square feet)” would be charged a “$6,000 connection fee plus a $25,007 betterment assessment” for a total of $31,007. The per EDU assessment will be calculated on a sliding scale, thus a 2,500 square foot house would be charged for 2 EDUs. In my case, my

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Sound View Residents Question Cost Sharing, Consider Legal Action

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OLD LYME — On Tuesday night, Sound View Beach residents spoke out against shouldering the entire $7.44 million cost of installing sewer infrastructure in their beach community. A small number of residents also said they would consult with an attorney concerning the bond question that is expected to go to a town-wide referendum on August 13.  At least 80 people attended the second of two informational sessions organized by the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  On July 15, the Town of Old Lyme signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with the three private

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Old Lyme Reaches Sewer Agreement with Beach Communities

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OLD LYME — In a major step forward, the town today sent a memorandum of understanding confirming its intention to share all costs related to a sewer project in Sound View Beach with the three private beach associations that have already signed a cost-sharing agreement with East Lyme and New London. Sharing the costs with the three beach associations is contingent on the Town of Old Lyme successfully passing a referendum to fund the town’s Sound View and Misc. Area B sewer project, wrote Richard Prendergast, chair of the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority in the letter to the

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Editorial: It’s Walkable. It’s Sewered. It’s Sound View.

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As I've been told in planning meetings across the state -- change is inevitable -- but if ever there was a neighborhood that mocks that notion it's Sound View. While we debate the beautification and housing and walkability of Halls Road -- a business district which is nearly fully occupied -- a mile or so down the coast, Hartford Avenue and three other beach communities languish, waiting for a go-ahead from Old Lyme on Sewers.

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Beaches Residents to Old Lyme: Let us Get to Work

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OLD LYME — Three chartered beach communities, each with their own Water Pollution Control Authority, say they are ready to move ahead with building sewers but have been delayed by the Town of Old Lyme’s failure to provide timely zoning variances and easements. In a meeting at the CT Examiner office on Thursday, Scott Boulanger of Miami Beach Association, Frank Noe of Old Colony Beach Club Association and Dede DeRosa of Old Lyme Shores Beach Association, who are members of their respective WPCAs, said they needed the town to provide a variance for the installation of a pump station either

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