July 4, 2020

Letter to the Editor: If Elected to Planning Commission, Lampos Will Balance Old Lyme’s ‘Special Beauty’ With Town’s Housing, Commercial Needs

To the Editor:

I am honored to be on the Democratic ticket in Old Lyme as a candidate for the Planning Commission.  I have a deep love and respect for our town’s history, quality of life, and natural environment, and want to contribute to its healthy future.

My graduate degree is in urban affairs and policy analysis, and I have worked on various municipal and non-profit development projects in New York City.   As the owner-operator of Groton Pizza Palace, my family’s restaurant of 54 years, I also have a practical business perspective.   My enthusiasm for innovative planning solutions combined with respect for the economic drivers necessary for a healthy community will guide me in helping our town navigate the cross-currents of development and preservation.   I want to encourage smart solutions to planning issues, to help us avoid the unfortunate choices other towns have made whereby landscape and quality of life have degraded with little net economic benefit.

Old Lyme’s special beauty and culture are irreplaceable. They must be balanced with our need to maintain a full range of housing and commercial enterprises that will preserve and promote our town’s vibrancy.  I am running for Planning Commission to join a team making positive, informed decisions. I would greatly appreciate your vote on November 5.

Sincerely,

Jim Lampos,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The writer is a 2019 candidate for the Old Lyme Planning Commission.

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Letter to the Editor: Sound View Residents’ Sewer Cost Concerns are Justified

To the Editor:

Thank you for your coverage of the Sound View sewer project.  Property owners in Sound View should be aware of their potential obligation for the construction, operation, and maintenance of this system.

According to the WPCA slide presentation, the “typical average house of 1 EDU (1,242 square feet)” would be charged a “$6,000 connection fee plus a $25,007 betterment assessment” for a total of $31,007.

The per EDU assessment will be calculated on a sliding scale.  Thus a 2,500 square foot house would be charged for 2 EDUs.   In my case, my house was built in 2009, with a compliant septic system that cost me $30,000.  My home did not need any zoning variances to be built, and the town limited me to a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house based on the septic capacity of the lot.  The EDUs however are based on square footage of the home, not bathrooms or typical occupancy, which are also metrics allowed by state guidelines.  My EDU calculation comes to 2.5, thus my betterment assessment comes to $62,500.  Along with the $6,000 connection fee, my total assessment comes to $68,500.   This doesn’t include the actual cost of connecting to the main, which estimated at $100 per linear foot brings me into the neighborhood of $80,000.

All this for a newly built home with a state of the art septic system.

Furthermore, these per EDU cost estimates have been quickly escalating, and there is no assurance that they will not go higher.  The referendum is for the bond issue only–the cost per homeowner is not fixed by the current agreement.  As the town has made it clear that 100% of the town’s share of the sewer project will be paid by the residents of Sound View only, and all future costs will also be passed on in full to these homeowners, the exposure of Sound View property owners is unlimited.

Finally, in the likelihood that other beach communities down the line such as White Sands require sewers, or the potential Halls Road developments, Sound View homeowners have received no assurance that they will not also be on the hook for those.  We have been told that these will be considered on a “project by project” basis, and the costs for those potential sewer projects may be paid by the town as a whole, thus obligating Sound View property owners not only to pay 100% of the town’s share at Sound View, but also a share of the costs for projects elsewhere in town.

The concern of Sound View residents is well founded.

Sincerely,

Jim Lampos,
Old Lyme.

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