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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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,

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Brownfields Survey in Old Saybrook Inches Forward Mariner’s Way Redevelopment

OLD SAYBROOK — In collaboration with the University of Connecticut’s Connecticut Brownfields Initiative, Old Saybrook will survey and determine which of 40 properties located on Route 1 East, from Saybrook Junction to Ferry Point Marina, are environmentally contaminated. “We have some suspicions, and there is a state list of potentially contaminated sites, but we don’t know for sure, because the research hasn’t been done,” said Susie Beckman, the economic development director for Old Saybrook. “We want the research done so we have a concrete list and know how to market them.” The survey is funded entirely by the Brownfields Initiative,

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Social Service Days in Old Saybrook Offer Local Opportunities for Area Families in Need

OLD SAYBROOK — The line for food stretched nearly the length of the parking lot. Young families, single adults and the elderly, holding cloth shopping bags, waiting outside of Grace Church on a chilly Thursday afternoon in Old Saybrook.  Inside, American Job Center and the U.S. Census Bureau had set up for recruiting, tables were filled with second-hand clothes, and a town nurse was checking residents for high blood pressure. “When I got here the line was already down the stairs and around the corner, filling the sidewalk to get inside,” said Sue Consoli, the director of Social Services in

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Old Saybrook Votes to Approve $49,000 for Parks and Rec Strategic Plan

OLD SAYBROOK — After a debate and vote before a packed room, the Town of Old Saybrook approved $49,000 from the capital non-recurring fund to hire a consultant to develop a strategic plan for the Parks and Recreation Commission focusing on four town parks. “We feel strongly that we need to improve our beaches, fields, parks and facilities that were mostly designed in the 50s. There are other towns that are better,” said Kevin Lane, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. “We need to put some tax dollars into planning what to do.” The hope, according to Lane

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Old Saybrook Police Commission Votes for 3.8% Budget Increase

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OLD SAYBROOK — The Police Commission voted on Monday to approve the chief of police’s recommendation of a $5,238,272 fiscal year 2020-21 operating budget for the Department of Police Services, a 3.8 percent increase over the previous year. For fiscal year 2019-20, the $5,046,205 police budget accounted for about 10.8 percent of Old Saybrook’s overall budget of $46,520,189, the most for any department in Old Saybrook’s municipal budget, excluding school spending. Police Chief Michael A. Spera said this year’s increase is driven by the contractual obligations of salaries, benefits, insurance, and other staffing costs. “The message that I have this

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12-and-Over Library Policy Raises Concern in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — At the Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook, all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. “It’s been our policy since at least 2004, but it was not enforced,” said Amanda Bouwer, the library director. “We aren’t here to act instead of the parent, so we ask parents with those under 12 to come with them. We just want to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable.” The child safety policy was reviewed, discussed and reapproved by the library’s board of directors this past November as part of the board’s efforts to

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