June 5, 2020

At HOPE’s Request, Old Lyme Zoning Extends Affordable Housing Hearing Deadline to July 17

Around 300 people came to Monday night’s Public Hearing held by the Old Lyme Zoning Commission in respect of HOPE Partnership’s application for a 37-unit Affordable Housing complex.  This was some 200 less than attended the meeting when the hearing opened on June 5. Photo by K. Winters.

UPDATED 1:53pm: Around 300 people attended the Old Lyme Zoning Commission’s Regular Meeting in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS) auditorium on Monday.  This represented some 200 less than were seated the previous Tuesday when the HOPE Partnership made its initial presentation to the commission in reference to their two Affordable Housing applications for 18-1 Neck Road (formerly 16 Neck Road) for a total of 37 dwelling units.

The property, which will be known as River Oak Commons I and II, falls under Connecticut General Statutes 8-30g and is currently owned by Graybill Properties, LLC.

Monday’s meeting included a continuation of the Public Hearing regarding the first of the two applications.  The Hearing had not been completed at the prior meeting due to time constraints imposed by the school.

Prior to the meeting, the HOPE Partnership had requested an extension to the Public Hearing to allow them more time to respond to questions.  The commission voted unanimously to permit the extension setting a new date of July 17 for its closure.

The majority of those who spoke at the meeting were not in support of the project. Old Lyme resident B.J. Bernblum clarified to LymeLine (see his entry in the Comments below) that he spoke, “in support of the project, provided that questions raised can be successfully addressed.”

Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Cable told LymeLine by email, “Our traffic engineer from Milone & Macbroom presented his review of the HOPE traffic report. He agreed with most of the conclusions and performed a sightline/stopping distance analysis of the off ramp traffic. He agreed that the 37 percent increase for summer traffic is appropriate.” She added that in addition to the July 17 meeting, “zoning will hold its normal meeting on July 9, but it is too early to know what will be on the agenda.”

Asked when a vote on the application was likely to occur, Cable replied, also by email, “We can vote only after a public hearing is closed. Mr. Royston’s (Royston is the attorney for the applicant) request is based on his expectation that we will receive our outstanding information. If we do, we can then close the public hearing (and the record) and vote based on the information in the record.”

For a more comprehensive report of the meeting (we were unable to have a reporter present at the meeting), read this article by Kimberly Drelich titled, Old Lyme Zoning Commission continues affordable housing hearing until July, which was published June 12 on TheDay.com



  1. Thomas D. Gotowka says

    I believe that Old Lyme will welcome a decision on this project. The meetings are now becoming more divisive than informational. Clearly, the site doesn’t work for the 37 units. Perhaps it’s time to consider alternative sites for this worthy goal of developing affordable housing in Old Lyme.

  2. Please be honest and thorough in your reporting. After all you quote Clergy in detail while trying to promote this monstrosity. MR BJ Bernblum said he was in support of affordable housing but NOT with the location and the problems it inherently brings with this specific project. In other words he is against this housing project as well. Thank You for your attention to this small detail.

    • Thank you for your comment. Our understanding from several sources was that Mr. Bernblum had spoken in support of the project. Since we were not present at the meeting however (which we have now clarified in the article), we have deleted the comment about Mr. Bernblum. If we receive any input from Mr. Bernblum himself regarding what he said, we will then update the article accordingly.

  3. This meeting will also be continued at the next scheduled zoning meeting after and if all old and new business are heard. The later date was intentionally scheduled on top of an existing date where the finance committee meets. This was brought up to the chair and she refused to even ask the school rep if another date was available after a member of the finance board pleaded so they could attend. This is another example of bad politics. People should know whats happening to transparency in this administration.

    • Thomas D. Gotowka says

      My wife and I were both at the 11 Jun Zoning Commission meeting and were also present when the applicant’s request for a continuation to 17 Jul was granted by the Commission. Public comment could be closed after that meeting and a vote will follow. There was a complaint from the floor regarding the new date, as it coincided with the July meeting of the Board of Finance. The woman raising that issue introduced herself as an Alternate on that Board.
      We do not know why 17 Jul was selected, but scheduling conflicts can occur, especially when there are statutory requirements regarding the length of elapsed time allowed for zonings decisions.
      There is no evidence that, as “B” stated in her comment, that “The later date was intentionally scheduled on top of an existing date where the finance committee meets”. We would think that Finance could also consider a re-schedule if there were no time-sensitive items on their agenda.
      “B” also stated that “the chair refused to even ask the school rep if another date was available. This is another example of bad politics. People should know what’s happening to transparency in this administration”.
      We agree that this may possibly be “another example of bad politics”. We were at a meeting last fall where the same individual who complained to the Chair regarding the new date had also complained that Ledge Light Health District used “Gestapo tactics in performing restaurant inspections. We also support transparency in governmental decisions.

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