Long River Local in Old Lyme Expected to Open Early July

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OLD LYME — “The menu will be driven by local farms so it will be changing regularly based on the availability of the produce that we will be using,” said Chef Shelley DeProto, who is preparing to open Long River Local, a farm-to-consumer retail food shop at 96 Halls Road.  “We won’t be focused on any one type of cuisine but rather a variety of cuisines to bring out the best in the ingredients,” she said in an email to CT Examiner.  The shop, which is expected to open in early July, will serve breakfast made to order as well

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Halls Road Committee Accelerates Rezoning Plans

OLD LYME — At a special meeting on Wednesday night, the Halls Road Improvements Committee voted unanimously to accelerate the creation of rezoning language for Halls Road for the creation of a village district that will include mixed use, multi-family housing, and residential development.  The committee voted to direct BSC Group to craft the new zoning regulations — which are part of Phase III of the master plan proposal — despite a number of tasks in Phase II that are not finished.  Committee Chair Edie Twining said the outcome of many of the items in Phase II — sidewalks, bike lanes,

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Buyer Explains Halls Road Purchase, Big Y Withdrawal

OLD LYME — Essex Savings Bank has accepted a cash offer for 99 Halls Road from town resident David Kelsey, putting an end to a controversial plan by Big Y Express to open a gas station and convenience store at the location. “The reason that the deal is off with a gas station is because I’m buying the lot,” Kelsey told CT Examiner Sunday night. “My purpose of doing what I’m doing is to just take it off the market — I don’t want a gas station there.” In a letter to the Inland Wetlands Commission, Big Y Express withdrew

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A Contentious Meeting as Halls Road Committee Debates Speed and Scope of Planning

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OLD LYME — In light of a controversial gas station proposal that was withdrawn on Monday, and another service plaza rumored to be underway, the Halls Road Improvements Committee grappled with how to expedite zoning changes at a virtual meeting Thursday night.  The discussion, which became contentious at times, followed a presentation from BSC Group of phase two of the Halls Road master plan. The conceptual drawings showed town investments along the Halls Road right-of-way and municipally-owned land, including a sidewalk-bikeway beginning at Lyme St. that would entail building a boardwalk in one area and a bow bridge to cross

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Halls Road Project to Feature Local Produce, Lupo and Red Hen Chef

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OLD LYME —The little yellow house at 96 Halls Road — once a plant nursery, vacant for almost a decade — may soon become Long River Local, a retail food shop featuring local farm produce, prepared foods, sandwiches, salads and coffee.  “We want to connect chefs to farmers to consumers,” said Walker Potts, proprietor of Long River Farm in Old Lyme, who will supply produce to the new shop.  Local chef Shelley DeProto, of the former Red Hen in Old Saybrook and Lupo in Chester, has applied for a special exception change of use from retail to food service for

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With Vernal Pool in Question, Hearing for Halls Rd Gas Station to Continue

OLD LYME — Lack of current data on a vernal pool located near the proposed Big Y Express gas station and convenience store delayed the decision of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission during a public hearing on the project Tuesday night.   A six-bay gas station and 2,100-square-foot convenience store are proposed for connecting properties at 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road that total 2.18 acres when combined. Essex Savings Bank, located on an adjacent property at 101 Halls Road, owns both parcels. The commission will decide whether or not the project will have significant impact on the vernal

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Halls Road Committee Debates Scope, Sewers and a Possible New Gas Station

OLD LYME — A debate arose during the Halls Road Improvements Committee meeting on Feb. 11 about whether wastewater systems are within the scope of the Halls Road master plan, a document that BSC Group is currently working on.  Also of importance was the committee’s awareness of a proposed gas station and convenience store slated for two unbuilt parcels, one at 99 Halls Road —  a project that could be approved before the master plan is completed.  At the last two Halls Road Improvement Committee meetings, engineers from BSC Group fielded questions about whether private developers could install traditional or

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Old Lyme Economic Development Commission Approves Feasibility Study, Talks Housing and Attracting Business

“This is going to be a crucial time. Lots of towns will be in financial trouble and they’ll try to solve that by growing and attracting business. There will be a lot of competition,” Margules said. “To have a plan before us puts us ahead … Whatever we do we still have two major goals which are to attract new businesses that fit the character of the town and to support the businesses that we have and we’re going to need that more than ever.”

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Sewers and Septic — a Problem with a History for Halls Road in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — As the Halls Road Improvements Committee moves ahead with drafting a master plan, wastewater infrastructure will play a key role in determining the density of any planned redevelopment. Over the last few years, the topic of wastewater treatment has been largely absent from the committee’s meetings and presentations to the public, but resurfaced recently during an April 16 Zoom meeting of the committee. “It’s sort of this chicken and egg thing that’s going on here all around because we kind of need to know how much density in terms of residential and retail and office space is

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Halls Road Committee Moves Forward on Master Plan, Housing Remains an Issue

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OLD LYME — Now in its fifth year — after local elections in 2019 that turned in part on questions of housing and development —  the Halls Road Improvements Committee is quickly moving to create a master plan to encourage redevelopment and new housing in the commercial district in Old Lyme. The committee will fund the plan with the roughly $48,000 remaining from an abandoned effort to implement Tax Increment Financing and to hire Yale Design Urban Workshop. Committee chair Edie Twining said at a May 14 meeting that the committee has informally asked three firms to bid on the

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The New and the Old of It

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If you read the newspapers in America in 1780 or so – just as the modern familiar incarnation of the Christmas holiday is taking shape – you might be surprised to find that already critics and observers are fretting the loss of the true meaning, the spirit, of Christmas, much as they do today – because loss is not a defect or corruption of the winter holiday, but instead has always been a defining feature of modern Christmas feeling and expression. And it is much the same, the historian Peter Fritzsche explained, with New England. “It is New England and

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Old Lyme Economic Development Commission Voices Disappointment with CERC Analysis

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OLD LYME — At its Wednesday night meeting, members of the Economic Development Commission voiced disappointment in the analytical report drafted by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center of last summer’s town-wide survey and requested a more in-depth and organized summary of the data. “What we have so far is what anybody could do, but what we hired CERC and the PhDs to do is to connect the data. What I see here I could have done on my own,” complained Commission Co-Chair Justin Fuller.. “When we look at the executive summary of the survey, my feeling is CERC has it

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Connecticut Port Authority Retains $4.77 Million of Legacy Funds — Reallocations On Hold

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The Connecticut Port Authority retains $4.77 million of legacy funds leftover from eight municipal dredging projects dating from 2012 to 2016. The funds, administered in a state account, cannot be re-allocated for other maritime projects until approved by the State Bond Commission. The eight projects, totaling $30.39 million, had been administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), and were completed under budget. After 2016 the Connecticut Port Authority became the administrator of maritime bond funding. Joe Salvatore, Program Manager of the Connecticut Port Authority, who emailed the list of municipalities with legacy balances to CT Examiner on Wednesday, said

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Old Lyme’s Economic Development Commission Evaluates the Town’s Strengths and Weaknesses

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OLD LYME — “High-quality schools” and a “culture that values the arts” are two of Old Lyme’s top strengths, while a “lack of diverse housing options” for seniors and workers is one of the town’s biggest weaknesses. The town’s opportunities lie in delivering a “Halls Road action plan” and making the community “more connected” through biking and walking whereas the town’s biggest threat is a “perceived resistance to change.” At least those were a few of the preliminary conclusions drawn from the feedback of 40 residents and business owners, many invited to participate, in a SWOT focus group sponsored by

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Economic Development Commission Launches Survey of Old Lyme Residents

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OLD LYME -- The Economic Development Commission has launched a survey to find out residents’ and business owners’ thoughts and ideas about development in Old Lyme. “This is an opportunity for the EDC -- we’re asking the public for their input and this is one of the strategies we’ve been talking about since I’ve been on the EDC,” said EDC Co-chair Justin Fuller at the commission’s meeting at Town Hall Wednesday afternoon. “It’s one thing to come in here and talk about what we think and what we hear from people and it’s another to try to engage the real

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Port Authority Funding in Doubt After Green Light

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OLD LYME — Contradictory statements from town and state agency officials have raised further doubts about the status of $256,000 in legacy state funding for the Lieutenant River project on Halls Road in Old Lyme — funds that at least one town commissioner believes were green-lighted months earlier by the Connecticut Port Authority.  The funds were left over from a $1.6 million Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) grant given to Old Lyme in 2015 for dredging in the Black Hall and Four Mile rivers. In 2016, the newly-created port authority assumed oversight of legacy maritime grants, including the dredging funds

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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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