February 25, 2020

Chris Kerr (R): Candidate (Incumbent) for Old Lyme Selectman

Chris Kerr

Chris is a life-long resident of Old Lyme with a long history of public service.  Chris has served for over 15 years on the Board of Finance and the Planning Commission.  He has also been active in the Old Lyme Fire Department for 34 years. While serving on the Board of Finance, Chris oversaw the completion of two major Town capital projects, the construction of the town salt shed and the replacement of the town garage.  Chris is a small business owner, including real estate appraisal work and construction contracting, with significant financial and management experience.

Q1: What is your personal vision in broad terms for the Halls Road/Lyme Street area of Old Lyme in 2025?

2025 is a long time away – I think we can make some real improvements very shortly and create a flexible area to allow private owners to come up with creative ideas for their properties.  In the short term, installing sidewalks, crosswalks and planted traffic islands are easy improvements.  Longer term, bringing zoning, planning and the economic development commission together to end up with more flexible and accommodating zoning and a significantly improved sign policy will go far to provide our private land owners the empty canvas upon which to paint their masterpieces.

Q2: What is your personal vision in broad terms for the Sound View area of Old Lyme in 2025?

Sound View improvements are also about supporting private owners and their plans that are right for the town.  Convening meetings with planning, zoning, economic development and private owners is very, very rare, and needs to happen with much greater regularity to people willing to put money into their properties do not face long, delayed processes and uncertainty outcomes.  Finally completing the sewer project, which is now in its sixth year and counting for a very modest number of homes, will help give owners more certainty to make investment decisions.  One very big theme over the last eight years has been the uncertainty created by long, drawn-out town ideas that prevent private owners from making any investment decisions until the town makes up its mind.

Q3: In light of Old Lyme’s current non-compliance with the state mandate that 10 percent of housing stock be deemed, “Affordable” and the recent withdrawal of the Affordable Housing proposal on Neck Rd., how do you see the future of Affordable Housing in Old Lyme?

To be absolutely, 100% clear, the 10% threshold in state statute 803g is not in any way, shape or form a mandate that a town needs 10% of its housing stock to be what the state deems “affordable”.  The 10% is the threshold after which a developer of affordable housing no longer gets statutorily preferential treatment by a town zoning and other commissions approval.  That needs to be very, very clear to residents.  That said, I support legal affordable housing in the areas that make safe and environmental sense.  We currently have a lot in town that is zoned for multifamily homes on  Hatchetts Hill and it is for sale and available for development, an area that the town has already supported as a good location for multifamily by agreeing to its zoning being multifamily. I also would encourage zoning to change its wording on accessory apartments and or duplex’s to allow millennials or the aging community, and I firmly support affordable housing for our older residents.

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