November 19, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Improving Hartford Avenue Needs Leadership (Maybe New)

To the Editor:

I am a property owner on Hartford Avenue, and I have been working with my business partner on plans to improve my property.  I have been very disappointed with the lack of leadership and assistance from the town for the last two and half years to try and get something done.

We have made some good proposals to the town but it seems that there is absolutely no interest in their desire to help.  For example, we offered to demolish all the properties that we own in return for keeping our existing zoning or negotiate potential zoning in its place and that was declined.

We want to improve significantly from the old structures built in the 1930’s now on the properties, but we need to have zoning changes and understand the plans for sewers.  This was the same situation with the last owner, who also hit a wall with the town in 2006, and whose plans were also a great improvement to the streetscape.

We have recently submitted new plans with the generous help of the (SVC) Sound View Commission and that failed too.   Most people don’t understand (including the town) the new FEMA guidelines of constructing new projects in a potential flooding area.  Our design for residential housing would have started the beatification of Hartford Ave and would have helped others on the street to do the same.

For at least two years, I have been talking to groups starting with the board of selectmen who passed us along down the line.  I feel that to make anything change, groups like the zoning board, the WPCA and the planning commission need a strong leader who can sit everyone down and make things happen so that people have confidence to invest and to make our town a better place.  It seems like each board or commission does their own thing, and there is no leadership at the top.  We need to change this.

Sincerely,

William Randazzo,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the owner of 52-56 Hartford Ave.

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