The Civil Rights Case for Equitable Housing

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The struggle for equitable housing is inseparable from — but not identical to — the decades long civil rights movement in the United States. No doubt that’s in part the reason that, “Separated by Design,” the recent multipart series on affordable housing by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas is couched in a vocabulary of civil rights. “Housing segregation,” as Thomas phrases the issue of affordable housing. And to be sure, there is ample evidence that the WWI-era introduction of zoning laws in the United States went hand in hand with racial segregation. Until a landmark 1917 decision by the United States Supreme

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Apartments, Commercial Property Values, Jump in Latest Grand Lists — 2.36 Overall Drop in Old Lyme

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The total value of taxable property in Old Lyme decreased by 2.36 percent, or about $37 million — from $1,585,659,738 to $1,548,200,464 — following the once-every-five-year town-wide revaluation. The 2019 grand lists of four other towns in the area — East Lyme, Essex, Lyme, and Old Saybrook — each showed small year-over-year increases compared to 2018. The 2019 grand list — an inventory of assets in town subject to local taxes — will be used during the town budget process to calculate the mill rate for local taxes in fiscal year 2020-21. The value of a property in a town

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Inland Wetland Commission Meets to Discuss 108-unit Housing Development in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — At its meeting on Monday night, members of the Inland Wetlands Commission questioned plans for a 108-unit affordable housing development on North Bride Brook Road that would in part extend into a 100-foot wetlands setback along the project’s western extent. At the meeting, attorney Harry Heller, of Uncasville, represented the developer, Jason Pazzaglia of Pazz & Construction, of East Lyme, who has proposed a housing development for the 20-acre site at 90 North Bride Brook Road under the state’s 8-30g statute for affordable housing. The development would consist of 11 buildings of eight units and two buildings

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Developer Explains the Housing and Retail Market in East Lyme

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EAST LYME — “If you drew a big triangle down Route 2 to Groton, and back along I-95 almost to New Haven, there was nothing — no highly-amenitized, new-ish, multi-family communities. And, I think part of that is because the towns that make up most of that big triangle traditionally had not encouraged nor allowed multi-family development of any size,” said Newton Brainard, a Lyme resident, and vice president of Simon Konover Company, in a telephone interview with CT Examiner on January 15.  With 280 new apartments at The Sound at Gateway Commons fully-occupied, and an additional 120 “luxury” apartments

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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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Wetlands Approval Poses Dilemma for Chester Housing Developer

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CHESTER — At its meeting on Monday, the Inland Wetlands Commission said the developer of Falcon Crest, a proposed 55-and-older residential complex at 88 Winthrop Road, will need to obtain a subdivision permit from the town before the commission will proceed with its recommendation on the project. If the town grants the subdivision permit, then developer Joseph Mingolello, principal of Connecticut Concrete Solutions LLC of Higganum, will be required to come before the Inland Wetlands Commission for approval of each of the project’s five lots proposed for the 34-acre triangular-shaped parcel bordered by Winthrop Road/Route 145, Butter Jones Road and

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Old Lyme Selectmen Appoint Affordable Housing Committee, Discuss Annual Town Meeting

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OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen appointed a special committee on Monday night tasked with researching and making recommendations on affordable housing in Old Lyme. The selectmen voted to appoint seven town residents as regular members of the Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee: John Coughlin, Michael Fogliano, Thomas Ortoleva, Harold Thompson, Tammy Tinnerello, Karen Winters, and John Zaccaro. Two alternate members were also selected: Peter Cable and Jennifer Miller. The committee will meet on a timeline limited to between six months and one year unless extended by the selectmen, according to a charge approved in September.  The idea of forming

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Checking in on the Real Estate Market in Southeast Connecticut

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Housing sales in southeast Connecticut indicate the region is slowly emerging from a decade-long slump, with the market for lower-priced homes showing the greatest activity, according to several area realtors.  “We continue to see the trend for the lower-priced properties, under $300,000 … starters to a little bit bigger, and those can fly off the shelves pretty quickly,” said Joel Grossman, new business development director of Calcagni Real Estate, which represents Middlesex County as well as New Haven County, among others. “It looks like the trend in terms of prices is in that 2 to 4 percent range, probably more

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Report Promotes Diverse Housing for Aging, Changing Demographics, in Waterford

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WATERFORD — The town’s population is expected to shrink over the next two decades, and Waterford will need a range of housing sizes and price points to meet the needs of a changing demographic of residents in a changing world, according to a consultant’s Monday night presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Consultant Glenn Chalder of Avon-based Planimetrics said that the challenge facing the town comes from two distinct age groups: older residents seeking to downsize and young renters, many with significant student debt, seeking affordable rents. “The issue here is that as households age, they get smaller,” Chalder

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Developer Proposes 60-100 Condominium Project in Chester

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CHESTER — A developer presented preliminary plans for Falcon Crest — a substantial development for residents ages 55 and over, to the Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night. The project, which is in the conceptual stage, is designed for between 60 and 100 condominiums in buildings of 10 units each on a 34-acre triangular-shaped site located on Winthrop Road bordering Deep River’s town line and abutting part of Old Butter Jones Road. “We’ve done everything looking at 60 to 80 units … so eight buildings is more realistic but 10 is max,” attorney Joseph Rini, who represented Joseph Mingolello, principal

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Groton Officials Unveil Redevelopment Plans for Mystic Oral School Property

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GROTON — Town officials unveiled conceptual plans on Thursday for the 77-acre Mystic Education Center site that, if realized, would revitalize the long-fallow property into a village-style development with a variety of commercial, retail and co-working spaces, along with about 750 residential units. The property is the former state-run Mystic Oral School, once known as the Whipple School for the Deaf, at 240 Oral School Road. “There are a lot of moving pieces and it was everyone’s desire, including the developer, to come forward at the appropriate time and I think that time is now,” said Paige Bronk, the town’s

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Southeastern Connecticut Community Land Trust Markets First Affordable Home

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New London — The Southeastern Connecticut Community Land Trust is marketing its first affordable home to qualified buyers over the next two months. The price of the two-family home at 34-36 Prest Street is $128,000 for buyers who fit the 2019 HUD income limits for New London. The stone house, built in 1870, has two apartments — a one-bedroom on the lower level and a three-bedroom on the two upper floors. The land trust has a selection process for applicants that includes filling out a program application, obtaining a pre-approval letter stating income qualifications, verification of first-time-buyer status or not

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Affordable Housing Committee Candidates and Other Old Lyme Board of Selectmen News

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OLD LYME — As part of the “Other Business” portion of the agenda, First Selectman Bonnie Reemsnyder announced a list of nominees for a Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. The 10 nominees are: Fred Behringer, Peter Cable, John Coughlin, Michael Fogliano, Jennifer Miller, Edward “Ted” Mundy, Tom Ortoleva, Harold Thompson, Karen Winters and John Zaccaro.  The committee list included nominees’ names and qualifications in an excel sheet, which Reemsnyder, along with Selectmen Mary Jo Nosal and Christopher Kerr, will use to rank the names in order of preference. The committee would likely have seven members,

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Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Set Guidelines for New Committee on Affordable Housing

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OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen on Monday, September 16, approved guidelines for a new exploratory committee charged with making recommendations to the town on building affordable housing. The charge for the Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee is to provide the selectmen with information, including a current inventory of housing designated as affordable in Old Lyme, a list of available land sites, an identified threshold required of the town to meet the state’s mandate on affordable housing, and additional research to inform the town on efforts toward developing affordable housing. The committee will work on a timeline of six months

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Leadership Changes for Hope Partnership, Tony Lyons Steps Away

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In an email today to board members, advisers and supporters, Hope Partnership, a regional nonprofit developer of affordable housing based in Old Saybrook, announced that the organization’s president, Tony Lyons, as well as Cal Price and Jim Crawford, would be stepping down from their leadership roles at Hope Partnership. Hope Partnership announced that Dave Carswell would become President, Pam Days-Luketich, Vice President, and Bill Attridge, Treasurer. Larry Freundlich will continue to serve as Secretary. Carswell is Branch Manager & Mortgage Loan Originator at Guilford Savings Bank. The email also confirms intentions to abandon efforts to build a 37-unit housing development adjacent

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Editorial: Old Lyme Plans for Affordable Housing

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What does it mean for a town government to be proactive? On the one hand it would appear to make some obvious sense. A proactive government is a government that thinks and plans ahead to avoid problems before they happen – these problems can be fiscal, environmental, demographic. We know that the century-old lift bridge across the Connecticut River will need replacing. We know that as the Baby Boom retires, and many young people are attracted to cities, we need to plan for an aging population. The next big storm is not a question of if, but when. In the

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Zoning Hearings Are Final Hurdle for Mixed-Use Affordable Housing in Old Saybrook

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OLD SAYBROOK — A proposed mixed-use affordable housing development in Old Saybrook, Hanford Commons, with 14 apartments, space for a restaurant, office and retail has passed the town’s architectural review board, a review by the regional health district and the planning commission with favorable recommendations. Now, the project sits on the desk of the zoning commission, the final hurdle before the project receives the green light from the town.  “The only way we could say no, was if it was a matter of public health and safety,” said Bob Friedmann, chair of the zoning commission, at a public hearing on

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Breaking Ground on Affordable Housing in New London

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“What this represents to us is not only saving a structure that many, many people in the city have memories of coming to... We have nearly 1,000 units of housing in the planning stages and at least 20 percent of that is going to be affordable housing. It’s very, very important going forward that we provide the housing for all the socioeconomic levels that make up this great city,” New London Mayor Mike Passero said.

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Letter: Moving Parts

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To the Editor:While riding a SEAT [Southeast Area Transit] bus to catch Shore Line East -- yes, it is possible -- I read CT Examiner's interview with the New London mayor and his comments linking proposed tolls to the cost of mass transit (or perhaps it was just edited that way).

The otherwise helpful and capable SEAT driver happened to make a comment on what a waste of tax dollars the underused bus service is. I laughed to myself, thinking how I'd be fired if I publicly criticized my employer's business.

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Editorial: A Big Question in Old Lyme

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In an editorial drawing connections between federal, state and local policy, CT Examiner Editor in Chief Gregory Stroud asks: with limited dollars, how much social spending on the state and federal level should be devoted away from the poor and to the middle class?
Recent plans for affordable housing and universal pre-k in Old Lyme offer interesting cases in point.

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