Zoning Change Allowing Redevelopment of Older Resort Properties Raises Opposition in East Haddam

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EAST HADDAM — A large number of vocal town residents attended the Planning and Zoning Commission’s public hearing Tuesday on a proposed special exception to change the town’s density rules and allow a developer to convert an empty 28,000-square-foot banquet hall into an estimated 20 or 22 residential spaces. The banquet hall, which was built in the 1930s, is part of Banner Country Club Estates on Banner Road, and would qualify as adaptive reuse under the proposed amendment, according to Gary Hendren, an architect from Boston who represented the applicants, property owners Anthony and Frank Longhitano, of New Rochelle, New

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Towns to Complete Local and Regional Planning for Natural Disasters

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In 2000, Congress passed the Disaster Mitigation Act to break cycles of destruction and rebuilding caused by natural disasters, the law required local government to plan for possible damage and mitigation long before it actually happens. Hazard mitigation, senior project manager Scott Choquette of Dewberry Engineers told a gathering of Old Lyme commission heads and emergency services professionals at a Wednesday meeting in Town Hall, could include “any action that you take to reduce or mitigate the impacts of disasters over the long term.” That includes structural updates like elevating buildings near to the coastline, adding culverts, repairing bridges or

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Regional Planners Seek $850,000 to Map Muncipal Boundaries in Connecticut

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Officials from Connecticut’s Regional Councils of Government are seeking a state grant of $850,000 to create a statewide municipal boundary dataset that they say would help reduce costs for towns, inform emergency services, enable environmental and economic development studies, and open the door to more cost savings for maintaining mapping data. According Sam Gold, chair of the Connecticut Association of Councils of Government, the project is an effort to address discrepancies of as much as a quarter mile between digital maps used by neighboring towns to locate municipal boundaries “We’re in the 21st century, and we don’t know where the

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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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Economic Development Commission Looks to Improve Approval Process in Chester

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CHESTER — The Economic Development Commission is pursuing the formation of a “New Applications Group” that would provide businesses and developers with a pre-application process for vetting ideas and plans prior to submitting a formal application.  “It is a best practice among communities that do economic development well,” said Patricia Bandzes, EDC member. “In Portland [CT], they call it the ‘development team’ and their motto is ‘don’t spend a dollar until you come see us first.’” The idea has been discussed at April, May and August meetings of the EDC, but has not yet gained traction with town officials and

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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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70 Years at Odds with Local Zoning in Southeast Connecticut

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Lorna Mitchell moved to Lynde Street in Old Saybrook 39 years ago. On the street was a hairdresser and on the far corner where Lynde meets Route 1 was TJ’s restaurant and bar. In every other sense it was a residential neighborhood. The same little houses, many of the same families. It was quiet. “There was and is nothing to make noise,” Mitchell said at a zoning commission meeting in August when the character of the street seemed on a tipping point toward change. “We are suddenly going to have all these people moving in being able to look out

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Zoning Approval for Hanford Commons in Old Saybrook Delayed

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OLD SAYBROOK — A decision on whether to approve or deny the proposed Hanford Commons mixed-used development was again postponed by the Old Saybrook Zoning Commission. The public hearing is scheduled to be continued on Wednesday, September 4. The commission is waiting for a final report from the town engineer, as well as information on the height of the cupola on the 8-unit apartment building at 99 Lynde Street and the percent of the property that will be landscaped. “The applicant has granted the town an extension of 65 days to the review period that is typical,” said Christina Costa,

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