April 17, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Gas Station/Convenience Market on Halls Rd. Raises Many Concerns

To the Editor:

Re: Proposed Service Station Complex on Halls Rd.

We recently learned that Big Y Foods, Inc. is planning to develop the open parcel of land that lies between Treasures and the Essex Savings Bank on Halls Road into a large gas station and convenience market complex.

The open parcel, which is owned by the bank, is contiguous with another bank-owned parcel that fronts on Neck Rd. (Rte. 156). Both are for sale and, if linked, would provide access and egress on two of Old Lyme’s (already) busiest thoroughfares. The Halls Road “raceway” already connects, in less than three quarters of a mile, two busy entrance/exits to I-95 North and South. Old Lyme’s roads are already burdened by cars, trucks, and buses seeking alternate routes, when backups occur on the interstate,

I have been involved in the past in drafting certificates of need applications for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. I know that we took great care to demonstrate that a proposed expansion of service was unique and not redundant of other readily available and existing services.

I don’t believe that the approving process for this project is required to consider redundancies. However, that said, Halls Road already has a Shell gas station, which, coincidentally, had also proposed a convenience store expansion.

Further, both Andy’s Deli & Market, and the Big Y World Class Market, already serve different segments of Old Lyme residents and visitors shopping for groceries and prepared foods. Thus, Old Lyme is already well-served by two high quality organizations.

We patronize both, and interestingly, for the same reasons. We are known, by name, in both stores; and both provide us with the feel of a small-town local market.

However, the difference is that the supermarket’s customer base will not be largely compromised by the new convenience market.

In contrast, I know that Amish and Neha Shah, Andys’ owners, feel that the proposed facility would compete with their customer base, and probably, as part of a much larger organization, offer broader products and services at lower prices than they, as sole proprietors, can provide. They are very concerned that their small market and relatively small margins, could not sustain any significant new competition.

Further, I don’t think, based on the meetings that I’ve attended, that this proposed gas station and convenience market complex can possibly be consistent with the master plan that is still in development by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee. Finally, we don’t need to put existing local businesses at risk by approving redundant services; and Halls Road’s ability to support increased traffic from I-95 is very limited.


Thomas D. and Christina J. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Rubino’s Record, Broad Experience on Racial Justice, Voting Rights Both Impressive and Timely

To the Editor:

We are writing in support of Dave Rubino’s candidacy for State Representative in CT’s 23rd House District. His record and broad experience in matters of racial justice and voting rights are very impressive, and very timely.

Paraphrasing Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try our souls.”: institutionalized racism, voter suppression, gerrymandering, a pandemic that has made health and healthcare inequities in the United States  apparent, and an elected executive hell-bent on undermining confidence in our elections.

Although those issues are ostensibly non-existent within the friendly confines of Old Lyme, CT; it is high time, nevertheless, that we build a cadre of elected officials who understand and are willing to act on these problems of national importance.


Christina J. & Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Needs Reemsnyder, Nosal to Continue Their Honest, Ethical, Fiscally Responsible Approach

To the Editor:

With election day in Old Lyme less than 3 weeks away, we are writing in support of the candidacy of incumbents Bonnie Reemsnyder and Mary Jo Nosal.

Old Lyme has enjoyed honest and ethical, and fiscally responsible leadership during their terms of public service. They communicate well with residents and schedule hearings and town meetings for most large and/or costly projects. Any changes in project scope or schedule are also thoroughly communicated to residents.

They are willing to consider and present regional alternatives or partnerships for some services when cost or availability of resources is at issue. We’ll only mention a few key projects delivered over the past two years. These include the boat house, the Sound View streetscape, and a focus on the health of Rogers Lake.

However, the “Mother of All Projects” was the successful fight against the Federal Railroad Administration’s (per Senator Blumenthal) hair-brained and half-baked project that would have decimated our historic district.

Bonnie rallied a team that expanded the issue from Old Lyme to all of Southeast Connecticut. The team eventually included Old Lyme residents; environmental groups; elected representatives from the communities impacted by the plan; and our State and Federal Legislators. FRA’s plan was scrapped.

Their professionalism was clearly demonstrated in the recent debate. They were factual and complete in their answers and conducted themselves with courtesy and without rancor.

We are concerned, however, that Old Lyme’s RTC had adopted some of the tactics employed by some members of the national republican party in that debate: i.e.,the actual facts don’t really matter and, lacking those, throw out a stray insult or half-truth here and there.

Please Join us in support of Bonnie and Mary Jo.


Christina J. Gotowka,
Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.