July 19, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Two “Inescapable Facts” About Affordable Housing in Old Lyme

To the Editor:

In considering the debate over the suitability of 16 Neck Road for development of affordable housing under CT 8-30g as proposed by the HOPE Partnership, there are two inescapable facts in play.

First, Old Lyme has a woefully inadequate supply of affordable housing. As a result, the people who teach our children, respond to our 911 calls, earn wages in local businesses or are starting an independent life often cannot afford to live in the community in which they work and serve, and where they may have grown up. The beneficiaries of this project could be our children, or our parents. This reality seems to have been lost on June 5.

Second, 8-30g is specifically written to encourage towns like Old Lyme to develop affordable housing, and, importantly, to accelerate and simplify the path to approval of such developments. The chair of the zoning commission, Ms. Cable, was clear on June 5 when she reminded the commission members that, in considering any denial of an application under 8-30g, the role of the commission was effectively reversed, and that the burden of proof was on the commission, not the applicants.

While there have been legitimate concerns cited about traffic safety and the water supply that should be resolved, there have also been attempts to artificially raise the bar for this application, and to transfer the burden to the applicants. This includes attempts to link affordable housing to eliminating the need to own and operate an automobile. In rural southeastern Connecticut, this is, as we all know, frankly absurd. There is no requirement that that affordable housing must include development of a pedestrian mall. I also doubt that scare tactics about surface soil contamination near interstate highways would be employed if this development involved multi-million dollar homes. Concerns about the all-to-frequent times when accidents on I-95 cause increased traffic on Rt. 156 are not specific to the proposal, as this affects all intersections and properties along 156 west, south, and east. The commission should not and cannot be influenced by red herrings.

Regarding the tenor of the meeting on June 5, suffice to say that the 11-13 year old students that typically use the Middle School auditorium are held to a higher standard of behavior than was demonstrated by some members of the public. Thanks to the commission, particularly Chairwoman Cable, and to the HOPE Partnership presenters for maintaining composure and decorum in the face of that behavior. Volunteer public servants on the zoning commission, and the HOPE Partnership applicants whose only interest is doing good works in good faith deserve better. I hope that the continuation of the meeting on June 11 can be a more civil discourse.

I can’t help but think that if the creativity, time and expense that have been marshalled in opposition to this project were used to solve problems rather than create them, we would all be, quite literally, in a better place.

Sincerely,

Michael Fogliano,
Old Lyme.

 

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Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Clergy Speak Out in Support of Affordable Housing

To the Editor:

On Tuesday evening, June 5, a public hearing was held in the Middle School Auditorium concerning the proposed affordable housing project, sponsored by the Hope Partnership.  As the clergy from the First Congregational Church and St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, we sat through the meeting and listened to a very thoughtful and careful proposal from Hope, and from its team of planners.  We appreciated the structure of the meeting outlined by the Zoning Commission.  We also heard, by contrast, the comments and catcalls of residents, many of whom were vitriolic, spiteful, and willfully disruptive.  It was not a proud moment for Old Lyme.  It was, in fact, quite embarrassing, for it revealed some of the most dreadful tendencies that can emerge in small towns such as the one in which we all reside. 

It was apparent in the hearings that some residents had spent considerable intellectual energy to challenge the work that Hope Partners put into their proposal.  We can only wish that those same individuals used that energy to solve problems of housing, or poverty, rather than disrupting the work of a trustworthy organization focused on providing housing for everyone from firefighters to returning veterans, postal workers to retail workers and far more.  We could hope that they might have used their knowledge to solve some of the issues they claim to have uncovered.  We still hope that those individuals might use their wisdom and experience to help move a worthy project forward, helping to diversify our community, that others might enjoy what is truly good about this town.

As clergy, we believe we’re called to a better and higher way.  We believe there’s room for dialogue, respect, and civil disagreement in public forums.  And we believe that there are better angels within us all that may yet emerge.

We also believe that Old Lyme needs affordable housing.  We further believe that Hope Partners have carefully and thoughtfully selected an appropriate site for such housing in Old Lyme.  To provide shelter is an injunction and virtue at the center of all the Abrahamic faith traditions.  But it stands at the center of our democratic tradition as well.  There are those in our midst who desperately need shelter.  Some are elderly, as one person courageously reminded us on Tuesday.  Some are young families struggling to get by.  Some are recent college graduates, working several jobs to get a foothold in a shrinking labor market.  Some come to us from different parts of the world, striving to make a new life in the United States.  Affordable housing is a powerful way of providing shelter, when shelter is in short supply.

Every Christmas, each of our congregations rehearses the story of Mary and Joseph, turned away from their own quest for shelter because, the story tells us, “there was no room for them in the inn.”  We appeal to our fellow residents to seek a different, and better response, one that says, “There is room in our inn.  There is room in the town of Old Lyme.”

We believe that’s what the better angels of our humanity call us to in a moment such as this.

In faith.

Sincerely

Rev. Dr. Steven R. Jungkeit, Senior Minister, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
Rev. Mark K. J. Robinson, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Old Lyme
Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
Rev. Carleen Gerber, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

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Letter to the Editor: Fair Process Needed for Fair Housing

To the Editor:

I believe in open, careful and deliberative government for our democracy.  As a member of the Board of Finance, I try to raise material issues to achieve the best process for open discussions and careful decision making, not rushed, rubber-stamping votes.

My observation of the effort to allow multifamily zoning for the site at Exit 70 and Route 156 has raised my alarm very significantly.  On the face of it, the location puts potential residents at obvious and significant risk of getting t-boned by folks exiting I-95, which calls into question the initial decision to choose that site in the first place and spend so much time and effort, especially with other much better sites in town.

This is the largest multifamily project ever in Old Lyme, and its application has seemed rushed, though with a welcome slow down Monday evening by the Zoning Commission.  The application has been consistently incomplete before the Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC), and material facts seem to change at each presentation.  Inlands Wetlands actually approved the application May 22nd without having our Town engineer or other Town expert offer their opinion on the facts presented.  Such approval is wrong and inconsiderate of the Town residents whose interests the Commission is supposed to represent.  Proper process is for our Town engineer and other consultants to be engaged in the process and offer their expert opinions upon which our commissions should act in the safety and environmental interests of the Town.

As I began to learn more about the advanced nature of the project earlier this year (despite HOPE portrayals of an early conceptual stage at a late January informational meeting), Chuck Hinckley and I decided that it was important to engage our own affordable housing attorney and environmental consultants to offer their opinions on the circumstances of the process and on the site itself.  We were right to do so, given the result of the IWC decision derived from revised applicant plans presented the meeting night of the decision and made without the input of the Town attorney.

I support efforts to bring smart affordable housing to those who need it.  I don’t support those who seek to achieve that goal through rushed incomplete or preliminary information that has not been vetted by our own Town experts.  This is an important Town decision that we need to get right.

Sincerely,

David Kelsey,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Proposed 23-Lot Subdivision in East Lyme Questioned, Previous Application Denied Unanimously by Wetlands in 2017; Public Meeting Tonight

To the Editor:

In 2017, the Inland Wetlands Agency of East Lyme unanimously denied an application presented by Joe Wren of Indigo Land Design for a 25-lot subdivision built on a parcel of property abutting Four Mile River and consisting mostly of wetlands. The five-page denial details the many reasons this application would likely have an adverse impact on the wetlands and watercourses. It discusses the hazards of groundwater pollution, questions the capability of the proposed septic systems to successfully remediate nutrients or pollutants, challenges the efficiency of the proposed stormwater management measures, and points out that the proposed activities would make it less likely for the existing wetlands to perform as a vernal pool where they exist, among other important environmental concerns.

In 2018, a new plan has been proposed and will be presented to the Inland Wetlands Commission on Monday, June 25, at 7 pm at East Lyme Town Hall. The new plan is for a 23-lot subdivision  that seeks to address the concerns of the previous denial without fully addressing many of the issues noted by the previous commission. This new plan will be presented to a commission consisting of a new Chair and new Vice Chair, as the Chairwoman who led the commission during the denial was told her seat would not be renewed.

The new plan does not protect this valuable natural resource. We hope that people will come express their concerns at the public meeting on June 25th. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/protectgreenvalleylakes/

Sincerely,

Nancy Barwikowski,
East Lyme.

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Sincere Thanks to the ‘Key Retrievers’ at Old Lyme Town Hall

To the Editor:

I want to let you know what an amazing job Scott D’Amato and Lawrence Galbo did retrieving my keys from the storm drain in front of Town Hall yesterday. It wasn’t an easy job and I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t do it. Thank you once again.

Thank you also to the women in Town Hall who contacted Public Works.

Sincerely,

Donna Staab,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Poop Isn’t Pretty … So Let’s Make a New Year’s Resolution To Pick It Up

To the Editor:

I am writing in part to fulfill a promise to a daughter. Our daughter Erin arrived for the Christmas holidays from North Carolina with an adolescent Hungarian vizsla pup. She walked Daisy a few times each day; and always with a doggie waste disposal bag in her pocket.

She commented on the large amount of pet waste that she encountered on her walks and wondered why Old Lyme hasn’t required, – or at least encouraged – pet owners to “police” their dog’s waste. I do not know that this problem is widespread or endemic in our town, nor will I attempt to quantify the issue. It is noticeable.        

I assume that residents are largely cleaning up after their pets. However, the (hopefully) minority of dog owners who are so discourteous to their neighbors that they don’t bother to bag and dispose this waste, are leaving an unsightly and unhealthy memorial of their pet’s exercise.

Erin’s professional career has been principally in Boston/ Cambridge, MA and the United Kingdom. These places have longstanding strongly enforced ordinances regarding removal and disposal of pet waste. So, she may react to such misbehaviors earlier than many would.

I am not advocating that Old Lyme enact an ordinance regarding pet waste. Rather, I feel that we should communicate the problem better and continue with our Tennessee Williams – type approach to  resolution i.e., with apologies to T.W., we should always depend on the kindness of neighbors.

The problem is not insignificant; dog mess is not only an eyesore, but also a health hazard.

In the extreme, according to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dog waste is a major pollutant and contaminant of the water supply. It is a serious health issue.

In fact, it is estimated that 1/3 of all water contamination is a result of dog waste run off entering streams and leaching into underground well water. The EPA deemed dog waste a “non-point source of pollution”, which puts it in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals. So, picking up after your pet every single time is important.

I’ll summarize the “How”: Always carry a plastic bag with you when you walk your dog.  Using the bag like a glove, you pick up the waste, turn the bag inside out around the waste, tie it in a knot and dispose of it in a trash can. 

Repurposed supermarket fresh produce bags work well. Lacking those, dog waste pickup bags are available in many  stores and online. Note: do not put this waste  in your home compost pile because it may contain parasites, bacteria, pathogens, and viruses that are harmful to humans which may not be destroyed by composting.   Those interested in digging down further into procedural details should look at: https://www.wikihow.com/Pick-Up-Dog-Poop

Sincerely,

Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor:  Generosity of Florence Griswold Garden Gang Appreciated

To the Editor:

As we approach year’s end I would like to recognize the kind generosity of my friends and colleagues on the Florence Griswold Museum’s Garden Gang. The Garden Gang is a volunteer group of women who maintain and nurture the museum’s incredible complex of historic gardens. Note that although currently comprised wholly of dedicated women, the group is also open to male gardeners.

One Friday morning we were discussing, over mulch, the “dilemma” of teachers working in 2017 in many Connecticut public school districts where budgets are often stretched to the limit with only limited state contributions. So, teachers must frequently supplement essential school supplies with out-of-pocket purchases.

My daughter teaches first grade in New London at the Early Childhood Center at Harbor School and, like many other teachers, makes a weekend stop at office supply or discount department stores.

To make a longish story short, boxes and bundles of paper and other supplies began arriving regularly on my porch courtesy of Garden Gang members; and then made their way to her first grade.

I thank them for their generosity and their immediate assistance in improving the daily learning experience of first graders at Harbor School.

See the following article about the Garden Gang in Connecticut’s Historic Gardens: http://www.cthistoricgardens.org/the-garden-gang/

Sincerely,

Christina J. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Time for Democracy, Support the National Popular Vote

To the Editor:

This past Election Day, we took for granted that our votes would matter and the local candidates receiving the most votes would be the winner. That’s the way it works for every election in the U.S., except for president.

With winner-take-all Electoral College voting, a dozen battleground states with only 33% of the population decide who becomes president. Twice in the last 17 years, the loser of the popular vote became the winner. That doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a nonpartisan plan to make everyone’s vote for president matter equally—regardless of whether they’re in a blue, red or battleground state—and to make the winner the candidate with the most votes.

The NPV Compact is an agreement among states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. It kicks in as soon as states with a combined 270 electoral votes sign on, ensuring the popular vote will always pick the president. Eleven states with a combined 165 electoral votes have already signed on.

Our state legislature has considered joining the Compact five times since 2009. Last session, there were 68 co-sponsors of the NPV bill, more than ever before. It will be introduced again in 2018. If you agree that the candidate with the most votes nationwide should become the president, contact your state legislators and ask them to support it.

This isn’t a partisan issue. A switch of 60,000 Ohio voters in 2014 would have put Kerry in the White House, despite three million more votes cast for Bush. The NPV is not a Democratic plan: in 2014 Newt Gingrich strongly endorsed it. With a national popular vote, every vote would matter, not just those in twelve states. It’s time for a change, time for democracy.

Sincerely,

Marta Daniels,
Chester.

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Letter to the Editor: Planning Commission Chair Endorses Hard-working, “Thinker” Kerr for Old Lyme Selectman

To the Editor:

Chris Kerr is an intelligent, hardworking individual with integrity, a personal approach to people and dedication to the Town of Old Lyme.

For decades, I have known Chris personally, professionally and as a volunteer in service to the Town of Old Lyme.  Chris is a “thinker” and not a reactionary.  Chris’s approach to situations is very professional as Chris works to identify the source of a concern and then strives to define and implement a reasonable resolution.  Beyond the Planning Commission, Chris also has extensive experience as a member of the Old Lyme Board of Finance.

As a member of the Planning Commission, Chris has actively supported changes to the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) that supports planned growth for the Town of Old Lyme.  Recently, Chris has actively supported proposed changes to the POCD that encourages changes in Old Lyme land use regulations that would simplify applications to modify shoreline residential structures to comply with FEMA standards.  I believe that Chris is a valuable resource and as Selectman, would make a tremendous contribution to Old Lyme.

Sincerely,

Harold Thompson,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Old Lyme Planning Commission.

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Letter to the Editor: Democrat High Speed Rail Activist Wants Change in Old Lyme, Voting Republican

To the Editor:

Over the last two years I have worked on the high-speed rail issue with nearly every community, from Providence, RI, to Greenwich, CT.
I’d like to think that I’ve gained an honest measure of Old Lyme, and our town government.
I understand the reluctance of many of you to cross the aisle, but this liberal Democrat will be voting for a change on November 7. I’ll be voting for Judith Reed and Chris Kerr for Old Lyme. I strongly urge you to join me.
Sincerely,
Greg Stroud,

Old Lyme

Editor’s Note: The author is the founder of SECoast.org.
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Letter to the Editor: Reemsnyder, Nosal Offer Sound Leadership Combined With Future Vision for Old Lyme

To the Editor:

Exercising you right to vote is crucial, especially when you live in a small town. Having experienced, knowledgeable leadership with a vision for our future is most important. We have that here in Old Lyme with First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal. Together they have worked hard to keep a strong surplus, while also maintaining a Mill rate much lower than most of our surrounding towns.

Bonnie and Mary Jo worked tirelessly to stop Amtrak from rolling through our historic district.

They spearheaded improvements of the streetscape and handicap accessibility on Hartford Avenue. Besides these enhancements and others that Bonnie and Mary Jo have made in Old Lyme, the indispensable quality of this team is their experience. Before Bonnie was elected First Selectwoman, she served on the Board of Selectmen for several years. Therefore, she started her position with an understanding of our town government and how it functions. Since Bonnie and Mary Jo have held office, they have collaborated with area towns and their leadership, giving them a network of know how. The point is, when you are looking to have a job done right you hire the people with experience! The only candidates this election with the experience to do the job right are First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal. Vote Row A on November 7th.

Sincerely,

Marisa Hartmann,
OldLyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Read Understands Needs of Old Lyme, Eminently Qualified to be First Selectman

To the Editor:

Judith Read, a candidate for First Selectman in Old Lyme in the upcoming election is eminently qualified for this position. She has resided in Old Lyme for over 30 years and during this time has devoted much of her time working to improve the conditions of our community; volunteering in our school system and as a Girl Scout leader, serving on both the boards of Finance and Education and operating small businesses in the area. All of these activities give her a sense of the needs in our town. Jude would like to retain our small town atmosphere, while at the same time adjusting to changing times. As a longtime resident of Old Lyme I am convinced that she has all the qualities to be successful in this endeavor.

Sincerely,

Karl R. Friedmann M.D.,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Republican Endorses Democrat Mattson as Most Qualified Lyme First Selectman Candidate

An Open Letter to Lyme residents and business owners:

I would like to offer my whole hearted endorsement of Steve Mattson for First Selectman in Lyme.

After serving Lyme for many years on the Board of Selectman, as well as on many other town boards and committees it is clear to me that Steve has the unparalleled credentials necessary to lead our town.

His significant prior corporate and business experience has only further prepared him for the continued fiscal management of our Town during the ongoing crisis in our State’s budget. This experience will also help in maintaining a strong and articulate voice as he continues to work with our State representatives.

Having personally worked alongside him during my time as Lyme’s Emergency Management Director, I know that he has the temperament to manage emergencies, and work effectively with our emergency-management personnel and our Fire and Ambulance services.

For the good of Lyme, I endorse Steve Mattson as the most qualified candidate for First Selectman. As a registered Republican, I believe the health and safety of Lyme will be best served by Steve, regardless of party affiliation.

Sincerely,

Richard Lee Watkins, Lieutenant USNR & Vietnam Veteran,
Lyme

Editor’s Note: The author is a past Lyme Emergency Management Director & Current CM-75, past Lyme Fire Company Chief & Veteran Member.

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Op-Ed: Wayland, Lord Will Continue Tradition of Excellent Leadership in Lyme

By Tony Lynch

I half-jokingly refer to Lyme as “Lynch’s last stand”.  I’m a refugee from Greenwich, Southport and Glastonbury.  All three of those towns were bucolic farming communities when generations of my family moved to them.  All three are now densely populated suburbs, with attendant traffic, chain stores and restaurants.

Most of us likely moved here because we cherish the wide open spaces, light traffic and the absence of traffic lights, stores, restaurants and industry.  With careful stewardship on the part of our town government and volunteer organizations, Lyme stands a good chance of remaining as pastoral as it is today.

Lyme also has one of the lowest property tax mill rates in the state, yet through careful fiscal managment, has still been able to complete a Town Hall and Library project, convert the landfill to a transfer station, and support the Lyme Land Conservation Trust and the Nature Conservancy in preserving open space.  This year, our leaders also had the foresite to anticipate that the state would cut it’s contribution to the education budgets of towns like ours.  As a result, we are one of few towns in the state that were not surprised by that development and thus didn’t have to increase local taxes to compensate.

This past July, after more than two decades of excellent leadership, our First Selectman, Ralph Eno, retired.  We now have the opportunity and responsibility to elect a successor who will continue to shepherd our town in a similar way.

Which leads to my unequivocal endorsement of Mark Wayland for First Selectman.  Mark is a 3rd generation native of Lyme whom I have come to know and respect as a fellow leader of Lyme-Old Lyme Boy Scout Troop 26.  In the years that we served together, Mark demonstrated excellent leadership skills, uncompromising ethics and a natural ability to foster teamwork among our youth and adults.  Not one to shy away from a challenge, Mark completed Wood Badge training, Scouting’s pinnacle adult leadership program that only a small percentage of leaders complete.  The curriculum emphasizes project management, conflict resolution, listening, mentoring and team development – all essential skills for a First Selectman.  Mark rose through the ranks and currently serves as the Troop’s Scoutmaster.  He also serves as a Selectman in Lyme and as a volunteer with the Lyme Fire Company.

Mark recently commented that “I knew at an early age how special our town is, and I want to keep it that way for future generations to enjoy as much as I have”.  Together with Selectman Parker Lord, I believe Mark will succeed to our great benefit.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent voter (like me), I urge you to come out and vote on Tuesday and join me in electing Mark Wayland as our First Selectman and Parker Lord as Selectman to continue the excellent leadership our town has enjoyed for many years.

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Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Reemsnyder, Nosal For All The Good Things They’ve Done, Yet To Do

To the Editor:

The team of Bonnie Reemsnyder and Mary Jo Nosal have, over their tenure of six years leading Old Lyme government, implemented numerous improvements. These include: creation of a program to maintain town-owned buildings; establishment of a reserve fund for maintenance of town roads; upgrade of Hartford Avenue, now virtually completed, with 80 percent federal funding; redesign and rebuild of the Rogers Lake boathouse and other park improvements; and introduction of LED lighting to town roads. These improvements promise to enhance our quality of life and safety in a cost-effective manner. Old Lyme is financially healthy, with spending in check and able to stay current with technology assets.

In addition, Reemsnyder was instrumental in leading the successful fight to defeat the Federal Railroad Administration’s plan to run a high-speed rail line over or under the center of our town and across southeastern Connecticut. She has now taken the lead as a fact-finder exploring ways to improve Old Lyme’s police services.

This writer unequivocally urges the re-election of both Reemsnyder and Nosal, recognizing the substantial experience and ability they have afforded our town and the contributions they will make in the future.

David B. Woolley,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee.

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Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Cannot Afford to Lose Reemsnyder, Nosal’s Experience

To the Editor:

The Republican candidates for Old Lyme Selectmen claim that their service on Old Lyme’s boards and commissions better qualifies them than the six years of leadership experience enjoyed by incumbents Bonnie Reemsnyder and Mary Jo Nosal. I disagree.

Challengers must always criticize their opponents, even if they have to misstate the facts. And it is customary for them to say “we can fix everything,” because they have the magic wands that incumbents lack.

The fact is, however, that town leaders cannot keep problems from arising. Their measure is taken in how they respond. Old Lyme’s challenges in recent years have included discontent and shortages in our police force, pollution in our beach communities, and surprises with some construction projects. In each case, Bonnie and
Mary Jo have faced the issues head-on and acted responsibly and effectively to address them, engaging the community and soliciting bipartisan support. For example, Bonnie’s leadership ability and her relationships with state and federal officials were critical to defeating the high-speed rail plan; we cannot afford to lose her.

The experience and demonstrated competence of Bonnie and Mary Jo should not be exchanged for the service of their opponents on town boards and commissions.

Sincerely,

Joseph G. Soucie,
Old Lyme

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Letter to the Editor: Who Saved Old Lyme From The Train? An Alternative View

To the Editor:

Make no mistake; a major train project in our community (even if well into the future) is a foremost public concern.  What are distressing are the boisterous claims of credit by our local leaders, when in fact concerned residents in the community raised the alarm.

On November 10, 2015 the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) wrote personally to First Selectwoman Reemsnyder and RiverCOG (which Reemsnyder chairs) forewarning the NEC Future Plan and inviting public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Ms. Reemsnyder spoke against the plan in mid-January 2016 in New Haven.  However, the townspeople of Old Lyme, local officials, cultural organizations, and businesses were not made aware of this federal plan until late January by an alarmed resident who identified the “threat” to our Old Lyme Historic District and initiated a large grassroots campaign along the shoreline that prompted leaders to real action. Before that, most everyone was unaware of the plan or the looming comment deadline for the Draft EIS. 

We need our leaders to be forward thinking, not reactionary.  Is Old Lyme ready for the next big wave, whether the widening of I-95, coerced regionalization, or the replacement of the Connecticut River Bridge?  As it turns out, the FRA on January 5, 2017 concurred with an Environmental Assessment that paves the way for Amtrak to replace the Connecticut River Bridge; yet we have heard nothing about it and no planning details such as construction staging, trucking routes, river operations and mitigation dollars.  In Norwalk, local officials spent two years negotiating the required details to make sure they were not steamrolled by government agencies. 

On November 7th, we need to elect leaders Jude Read and Chris Kerr who recognize early on the risks and opportunities for major state and federal initiatives, and keep residents, boards and commissions informed of what is going on.

Respectfully,

Wayne Buchanan,
Old Lyme

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Letter to the Editor: Local State Legislators Advocate for Republican Team in Old Lyme

To the Editor:

In the upcoming Old Lyme election on Tuesday, November 7th, we encourage voters to consider the Republican team found on Row B. The team is being led by Jude Read for First Selectwoman and Chris Kerr for Selectman. Both have years of experience in Old Lyme municipal government and strong small business credentials. We believe both would do an admirable job for the town.

We think voters should also consider several other candidates running for office on Row B including Grub Garvin for Board of Finance, J. David Kelsey for Board of Finance Alternate, Tim Griswold for Board of Assessment Appeals, and Dan Montano for Zoning Board of Appeals. In addition to them, the town is fortunate to have several very qualified cross-endorsed candidates, including Vicki Urbowicz, who is the perfect successor to longtime Town Clerk Eileen Coffee, and Paul Orzel, Alan Todd, and Rick Goulding. We know all will work hard for the community.

Please make sure to exercise your right and get out and vote on November 7th.

Sincerely,

State Senator Paul Formica & State Representative Devin Carney

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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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Letter to the Editor: (Still Unfinished) Boathouse Project Cost to Town Now $550K Over STEAP Grant/Donations; Elect Read to Regain Fiscal Responsibility

To the Editor:

Old Lyme Town Ordinance 20-8 states: “The responsibility for the management, control and development of the Town’s recreational facilities and expenditures made in connection therewith is vested in a Parks and Recreation Commission” (PRC). Thus, PRC requested that it review and approve plans proposed by the ad hoc Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Committee (BHPIC), as it did for the original Boathouse in 1987 and all three phases of Town Woods Park.

While PRC supported the plan to upgrade the existing Boathouse submitted with the $478,000 STEAP grant, PRC raised serious objections to subsequent BHPIC plans involving $405,000 in Town funds.  So, First Selectwoman Reemsnyder decided to overrule Ordinance 20-8, and requested the previous Town Attorney justify her decision. That factually inaccurate “justification” was unambiguously refuted by a highly respected local attorney on legal grounds.  However, Ms. Reemsnyder continued to ignore PRC concerns about BHPIC-proposed Boathouse plans and likely cost overruns.

The result:  the Boathouse phase of the project exceeded the budget presented to the community in Jan 2016 by over $175,000 – primarily due to structural and code issues and related design errors and omissions; and the project is still not complete, due to on-going drainage issues.

Because the Boathouse cost overrun consumed funds earmarked for the project’s second phase:  upgrading the park’s ADA accessibility and restrooms for use by both rowers and the public, Ms. Reemsnyder requested an additional $150,000 be incorporated into Old Lyme’s 2017-18 Annual Budget to complete the project.  This brings total Town costs to $555,000, in addition to the STEAP Grant funds and donations.

We need experienced community leadership that respects important checks and balances, and will restore governmental and fiscal responsibility to Old Lyme.

Please elect Jude Read First Selectwoman!

Sincerely,

Bob Dunn,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note i): The author is the Old Lyme Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman, former chairman of the Town Woods Park Building Committee.

Editor’s Note ii): The author is also a member of the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Committee. We apologize that this detail was omitted from the original posting of the letter.

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