July 7, 2022

Big Changes on Lyme Board of Selectmen; Mattson Retires as First Selectman, Lahm Takes Over Top Spot, Kristina White Appointed as Third Selectwoman

On July 5, Democrat Steven Mattson retired from position of First Selectman of Lyme.

LYME — At the July 5 Lyme Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman Steve Mattson (D) retired after having served as a Selectman for 17 years and as First Selectman for five.

In taking his retirement, Mattson said, “It’s been a privilege and an honor to serve the town I love, but it’s time for me to spend some more time with my family and do a little traveling.  This is the perfect time for me to step down.  The Town is in great financial shape and the board of selectmen is in excellent hands.”

Mattson had previously announced his intent to retire at the June 6 board of selectmen meeting.

Immediately following Mattson’s retirement, Second Selectman John Kiker (D) and Third Selectman David Lahm (R) appointed Lahm to serve as Lyme First Selectman for the remainder of Mattson’s term, which ends December 2023.

Lahm said, “On behalf of the Town of Lyme, I would like to thank Steve for his more than 20 years of outstanding service to our town, not only on the board of selectmen, but on numerous other Town boards and commissions as well.  He has been a dedicated public servant, our Town has benefited from his leadership and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Kristina White has been appointed Third Selectwoman of Lyme. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Lyme Land Trust. Photo by George Moore

First Selectman Lahm and Second Selectman Kiker then turned to the appointment of a new selectman to serve on the board to finish out Lahm’s term as Third Selectman.

They announced the appointment of Kristina White (D) to the position of Third Selectwoman.

White has lived in Lyme for nearly 20 years and served in high-profile volunteer and professional positions for a number of area organizations, boards and charities – including the Lyme Planning & Zoning Commission, the Lyme Fire Company, Musical Masterworks and the Lower Connecticut River Land Trust.

She currently serves as the executive director of the Lyme Land Trust.

Lahm said, “Kristina is an excellent addition to the Board.  John and I welcome her, and look forward to working closely with her.”

Colin Heffernan Unanimously Endorsed by Democrats to Run Against Incumbent State Rep. Carney for 23rd House District, Includes Lyme & OL

Atty. Colin Heffernan has been endorsed by local Democrats to run in November’s election for the 23rd District seat currently held by State Rep. Devin Carney.

OLD SAYBROOK — Colin Heffernan, a prominent local attorney and small business owner, has been unanimously endorsed for the 23rd House District by Democratic delegates representing Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Lyme, and Westbrook.

Heffernan’s opponent in November will be incumbent State Representative Devin Carney (R), who is seeking his fifth consecutive term in office.

“It’s an honor, and also a big responsibility,” said Heffernan. “There’s an opportunity here for our towns to finally have a seat at the table in the House. I’m in this to find sensible solutions, to protect choice, and make sure our values are represented in Hartford.”

“Colin is going to make an excellent state rep,” said Matt Pugliese, who seconded Heffernan’s nomination.

Pugliese added, “He understands the challenges families in our district face. He has been a servant in our community for years, serving on multiple commissions, he is a small business owner, and really is prepared to do the job on day one. We need his experienced, thoughtful perspective to make sure we’re finding solutions that work for every resident.

Nancy Walsh stated, “Colin’s opponent sided with ultra-conservatives by voting against reproductive rights last session, something that’s simply unacceptable in 2022 and does not represent our district, at all.”

Heffernan graduated magna cum laude from Tulane Law School, and after serving as a research clerk in the Connecticut Superior Court, joined the Heffernan Legal Group.

He grew up spending summers in Old Saybrook and moved there full time in 2008. 

Through his experience as a general practice attorney he has supported his clients during their most difficult times, a perspective he will bring to serving his constituents.

Heffernan has served on the town of Old Saybrook Zoning Commission and currently chairs the Old Saybrook Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission as well as the Old Saybrook Aquifer Protection Agency.

Old Lyme DTC Issues Statement Concerning Guns, Public Health

Editor’s Note: The Old Lyme DTC sent us this statement, which is also published on their website at this link.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) supports the statement below from Attorney Colin Heffernan, Democratic-endorsed candidate for the 23rd House District. We urge the public to take these issues most seriously and to vote for legislators who will adopt sensible gun legislation and increased access to behavioral healthcare. 

The DTC’s support for reasonable gun regulation does not mean we fail to support citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment. Like the vast majority of Americans, we support both. But we challenge this majority to hold our elected officials accountable for implementing measures to  reduce these intolerable daily mass-casualty events.

As noted by Colin [Heffernan], inconsistent and ineffective gun restrictions have led to easy access to military-style weapons. Uvalde demonstrated that even trained law enforcement officers may be hesitant or unwilling to confront assailants so armed, even if the lives of 4th graders are at stake. The data show that in places that have implemented  sensible gun restrictions, such as minimum age limits and red flag laws, lives are saved.  

The DTC seeks your support for legislators and candidates who, like Colin [Heffernan], will promulgate reasonable gun safety measures and public health measures, including mental health.

We have gotten to “enough.”

Statement from Colin Heffernan:

As the news of yet another shooting came out of Uvalde, on the heels of the shooting in Buffalo, I’m reminded of how little progress we’ve made since Sandy Hook. 

We still have craven politicians blaming everything but guns for the massacres that steal our children and threaten our lives in every corner of public space. 

We still have talking heads fantasizing that a “good guy with a gun” can stop monsters, even when we just saw that they can’t. 

I’d like to say “enough” but that won’t do. It will never be “enough” until we demand that lawmakers denounce the culture of death that values an AR15 over a child. It’s far too easy to get a weapon of mass carnage in this country, and no amount of bad faith whataboutism will change that fact. 

Oh, and here’s the thing: I’m a gun owner. I bought a shotgun while I was living in post-Katrina New Orleans where there were precious few police and the National Guard was patrolling the street under a state of emergency. It was a scary time and I know first-hand that there are legitimate reasons to purchase and keep a gun. 

But what we have now is madness. When a kid can go and buy two assault rifles for his eighteenth birthday and then murder 19 children a week later, the issue could not be starker. It is far too easy to obtain assault weapons and the results are horrific. We passed good  laws in Connecticut after Sandy Hook, but rifles and madmen don’t respect state lines and the easy access to assault weapons in the USA threatens all of us and all of our children. 

Let’s get to “enough” and demand that every one of our lawmakers commit to using every tool  at their disposal to enact nationwide comprehensive gun reform. If they refuse to do that, they  shouldn’t represent us … because they never will. 

Colin Heffernan
Democratic-endorsed candidate for House District 23

Lyme DTC Urgently Calls for US Senators to Take Action on Guns

LYME – The Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) today, May 25, issued the following  statement:  

“The Lyme Democratic Town Committee today urgently called on Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, as well as Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, to bring forward federal  gun legislation in the U.S. Senate that would help stop the ongoing plague of gun violence killing  children and adults in communities across this country – noting that the legislation has been  languishing in the Senate since being passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.”

The statement continues, “The committee commended Senator Murphy for his comments yesterday on the Senate floor urging his fellow senators to take action, and expressed its hope that enough U.S. senators would stand up for Americans and work to put an end to mass shootings.”

Needleman Unanimously Endorsed to Run for Third Term Representing State Senate 33rd District, Includes Lyme

State Senator Norm Needleman

ESSEX/LYME — State Senator Norm Needleman this week received unanimous support for re-election to a third term in the Connecticut State Senate, representing the 33rd District, which includes Lyme, Conn.

Sen. Needleman was originally elected to the State Senate in 2018 and won re-election in 2020.

As Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, Sen. Needleman led the “Take Back Our Grid Act,” which requires the companies to provide reimbursements and credits for extended power outages after serious weather events.

In that same role, he also led passage of legislation adding hours of wind power and battery storage along with an increase to the amount of solar resources authorized to be built in the state, bringing Connecticut closer to generating all electricity from renewable resources.

Additionally, Sen. Needleman helped pass a bipartisan two-year budget investing in education, municipal aid and focusing on Connecticut’s future, and an adjustment to that budget supplying the state with $600 million in tax cuts.

He also supported workforce pipeline training to promote regional manufacturing job growth, and voted to expand recycling programs and ban use of PFAS “forever chemicals” in several industries.

In addition to his work as State Senator, Sen. Needleman also serves as First Selectman of Essex, currently in his sixth term in the role, and is founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories in Essex, the largest producer of effervescent products in the United States.

Anti-Lamont PAC Launched with $500K Donation From Former RTC Chair Kelsey of Old Lyme Reports Spending $300K, Second Donor Also Gave $500K

OLD LYME  — CT Truth PAC,  the independent-expenditure group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski with television and web ads attacking Gov. Ned Lamont, reported Sunday it has spent about $300,000 of the $1 million provided by two wealthy businessmen.

Formed in February with an initial contribution of $500,000 from David Kelsey of Old Lyme, the super PAC collected another $500,000 last month from Thomas E. McInerney of Westport, according to the campaign finance report filed Sunday with the State Elections Enforcement Commission …

Editor’s Note (i) Visit this link to read the full article by Mark Pazniokas titled, Two donors provided total of $1M to anti-Lamont PAC and published April 10, 2022 on CTMirror.org

(ii) Visit this link to read our earlier article published Feb. 15, 2022 about the launch of CT Truth PAC.

State Rep. Carney Announces Re-Election Bid for 23rd District That Includes Lyme, Old Lyme

Incumbent State Rep. Devin Carney (R) has announced he is seeking a fifth term in the 23rd District, which includes both Lyme and Old Lyme. Photo submitted.

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) has announced that he is running for re-election as State Representative for the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. This is his fourth re-election bid, and if elected, it will be his fifth consecutive term in office.

Rep. Carney was first elected in 2014 and currently serves as Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee and  Ranking Member of the Transportation Bonding Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Education Committee, Finance, Revenue, & Bonding Committee, and the House Republican Screening Committee.

In addition, he serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Future Caucus and Clean Energy Caucus and is an Assistant Republican Leader.

During his tenure, Rep. Carney has maintained a strong attendance record at the Capitol and has continued to be active in community events in all four towns of the 23rd District.

Rep. Carney has been commended for his accessibility, bipartisanship, and work ethic during his tenure as State Representative. In late 2021, he was one of only two legislators, nationally, to receive the Millennial Action Project’s Rising Star Award for his work trying to bridge political gaps and for his advocacy on issues important to younger generations.

“I’ve always worked hard to put the people of the 23rd District first – above special interests and party interests,” said Carney.

He continued, “To me, this is my responsibility as Representative. I am always honored to go to Hartford to be the voice of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook; and I take that job extremely seriously, especially at a time of uncertainty and concern in government.” 

Rep. Carney’s committee assignments have put him at the center of many important policy debates at the Capitol.

On the Transportation Committee, he has been integral in working to reduce the Connecticut gas tax, improve state bridges and roads, and to improve operations at the DMV.

On the Education Committee, Rep. Carney has fought forced regionalization and worked to ensure communities have local control over educational decisions. 

“Our local public schools are a source of pride for our communities and the state should not be able to dictate what we teach or how we teach it,” said Carney. “As long as I am State Representative, I will fight government overreach, forced regionalization, or any measures that will weaken the quality of our local schools.”

Serving on the Finance, Revenue, & Bonding Committee, Rep. Carney has focused on growing our local economy and jobs, boosting business development, and stopping higher taxes.

“The COVID pandemic created so many issues for our local and state businesses and now it’s the time for the state to take a step back and allow them to grow,” Carney said.

He added, “We have to get people back to work and encouraged to train for jobs that are in-demand. In addition, Connecticut continues to remain unaffordable for many, and I will always oppose higher taxes on our seniors, families, and businesses. As Connecticut continues to come out of the fog of the pandemic, it is essential that government works to give people a break and not to expand its size and scope even further.”

In addition to his legislative work, Rep. Carney works locally in finance and volunteers for many local organizations. He serves on the board of trustees of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, and as board treasurer of Old Saybrook Senior Housing. 

He is a member of both the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary Club of Old Saybrook, which serves all four towns of the 23rd District.

He is a lector at Grace Church in Old Saybrook and a member of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee.

He was also recently named as a board member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators on the basis of his  environmental record.

He currently lives in Old Lyme but grew up in Old Saybrook, where he graduated from Old Saybrook Public Schools.

Rep. Carney has already qualified for Connecticut’s Citizen Election Program grant by collecting over 175 contributions and nearly $10,000. 

He commented, “I was thrilled to reach my fundraising goals quickly this campaign and am incredibly grateful to all of those who continue to have faith in me. As this session moves along, I will continue to be available to listen and to bring the people’s voice to Hartford.”

Rep. Carney concluded, “I look forward to visiting many constituents during my campaign to hear their needs and address their concerns. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the people of the 23rd District.” 

Editor’s Notes: i) For further information on Rep. Carney’s campaign, visit facebook.com/devincarney2022.
ii) This article is based on a press release issued by Rep. Carney.

State Rep. Carney Joins CT Senate, House Republicans Call to Suspend State Gas Tax

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) File photo.

LYME/OLD LYME/HARTFORD COMMENTING ON THIS ARTICLE IS NOW CLOSED  On Thursday, March 10, State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), whose district includes both Lyme and Old Lyme, stood with Connecticut Senate and House Republicans to call on state lawmakers to temporarily suspend the state gross receipts tax on gasoline.

The group urged Connecticut’s federal Congressional delegation to deliver on a federal gas tax cut proposal to provide immediate relief to Connecticut residents as gas prices surge.

Connecticut Republican lawmakers are proposing to suspend the state’s gross receipts tax on gasoline, which has risen to 26.4 cents per gallon in recent weeks.

They also want Connecticut’s federal delegation to follow through on calls to halt the federal 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax.

Together, these proposals will immediately save Connecticut residents 44.8 cents on every gallon of gasoline.

Republican leaders are calling on state lawmakers to adopt this proposal during the legislative session scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The lawmakers will also seek to adopt language to require that suppliers and retailers pass on the reduction in taxes to consumers.

The state tax proposal is budget neutral.

“I hear from neighbors every day who are struggling with the impacts of inflation, especially since gas prices continue to climb and are now over four dollars a gallon. This is relief we can provide struggling residents right now,” said Rep. Carney, who is a House Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee.

Carney continued, “The gross receipts tax often leads to Connecticut residents paying more at the pump than our neighboring states. Across the country, six Democrat governors have called to suspend the federal gas tax, and locally so has Senator Blumenthal, I hope our friends across aisle will join us and move forward with immediate action.”

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by State Rep. Carney’s office.

Old Lyme RTC Chair Kelsey Donates $500,000 to Launch New PAC

A new independent expenditure group, CT Truth PAC Inc., came to life over the weekend with a $500,000 contribution by David Kelsey, the GOP town chair of Old Lyme and a longtime donor to Republicans.

Organization papers filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission confine the PAC to independent spending on races for governor and the five other statewide constitutional offices …

Read the full article titled Super PAC launches in Connecticut with $500,000 from one GOP donor by Mark Pazniokas and published Feb. 13, 2022 on CTMirror.

Editor’s Note: 2/19/22 Our understanding is that Mr. Kelsey no longer serves as Chair of the Old Lyme RTC.

Letter to the Editor: State Sen. Formica Announces Decision Not to Seek Reelection in Nov. 2022

To the Editor:

State Sen. Paul Formica (R – 20th)

A New Season

As I have grown older, I’ve come to believe that there are seasons in a person’s life. There are experiences, opportunities, relationships and a number of other circumstances, some wonderful; some tragic, that can define these seasons, but they come and go all the same.

In recent months I have been sensing a pull toward a new season. It has been a thought-provoking process because I have been deeply blessed, grateful and proud of the season I am currently in. I have decided to embrace this new season and therefore I will not be seeking reelection to the State Senate in November of 2022.

My 31 years of elected public service have collectively been one of the greatest honors in my life and now I feel it’s time for me to retire and move into the next season. I believe that I live in the greatest town, in the greatest senate district, in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world and it has been an immeasurable gift to have the opportunity to share my time, voice and talents as a public official.

As First Selectman of East Lyme, I was able to bring solid business practices and enhanced customer service to a growing shoreline town. I led a team to responsibly fund expanded services and create economic development including rejuvenating our main street district. We preserved hundreds of acres of open space including securing the town’s water supply for generations to come. The years I spent at town hall were some of the most fulfilling of my life. I was able to work with talented regional leaders and learn what other municipalities across the state were doing to successfully manage their own challenges.

As State Senator of the 20th district, I was able to serve not only East Lyme, but seven additional, beautiful and diverse communities. Here we truly have it all: farmland, coastal downtown areas, New England suburbs, fine arts destinations, historical landmarks, the great city of New London, the Niantic Bay Boardwalk only to name a few!  During my four terms in Harford, I was a leader in the fight to secure the next decade of Connecticut’s carbon-free baseload supply of energy at Millstone Station. I worked to support Connecticut’s renewable energy future helping the initial development of the emerging offshore wind industry while being a voice for generations of fishermen. As a co-chair of the appropriations committee, I had the opportunity to help develop a true bipartisan budget in 2017 that is, to this day, providing large surpluses for our rainy day fund while paying down on our pension debt due to the controls we established in that budget. I helped to increase funding for programs and opportunities that help those in Connecticut managing intellectual and developmental disabilities while serving as Co-Chair of the IDD caucus, and I have been able to witness the overwhelming benefits of working in partnership with our Native American Tribal Nations. I founded the bipartisan Arts, Culture and Tourism caucus, which is now helping Connecticut’s hospitality industry to recover and thrive again in our state. Further, I have been able to support and give back to those who are on the difficult road to recovery from substance abuse and addiction.

It has been an honor to work with my colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly and to be a leader on the great Senate Republican team.

The most rewarding aspect of my elected service has been the honor and pleasure of meeting and serving so many wonderful and passionate people from around the 20th District and across our great state.

Throughout this time, I have also continued running a successful restaurant in southeastern Connecticut and just this month I welcomed my first grandchild into the world.

I am particularly grateful to my business family, the incredible team on my town and state staffs and especially my family for bearing with me as I split my time and attention with my public service for over three decades. I would not trade a day of it.

I look forward to spending more time with my family, my businesses, perhaps some new hobbies, and to begin a new season with my special love.

There is a bright future ahead for this state and this district. I believed it 31 years ago and I believe it even more today. Thank you for the honor of serving the communities I hold so dear.

Sincerely,

Paul Formica,
East Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the State Senator for the 20th District, which includes Old Lyme.

State Rep. Carney Honored as 2021 National ‘Rising Star’ by Millennial Action Project

On Dec. 9, Connecticut Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), second from left, and Arkansas  Rep. Jamie Scott (D), second from right, received the 2021 Millennial Action Project’s (MAP) Rising Star Awards from Layla Zaidane, President & CEO of MAP at a ceremony held in Washington DC. At the same event, Kansas Representatives Nick Hoheisel (R), left, and Brandon Woodard (D), right, accepted the Cherisse Eatmon Collective Impact Award on behalf of the Kansas Future Caucus for which they serve as Co-vice-chairs. Photo by the Millennial Action Project.

Award Recognizes Two Lawmakers — One R, One D — For Transcending Political Polarization Through Public Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last Thursday, Dec. 9, in Washington, D.C., the Millennial Action Project (MAP), the largest nonpartisan organization of Millennial elected officials in the U.S., presented the 2021 Rising Star Award to Connecticut State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Arkansas State Rep. Jamie Scott (D). Carney’s District includes the Towns of both Lyme and Old Lyme.

The annual Rising Star Awards highlight young leaders—one Republican and one Democrat—and their contributions to the State Future Caucus Network (SFCN) over the last year. This is the fourth year that the award has been presented.

The Awards recognize lawmakers, who have embodied MAP’s mission to transcend political polarization through their public service and taken initiative in shepherding bipartisan legislation that addresses priority issues in today’s political climate.

The MAP elaborated on this saying in their announcement of the awards, “This year’s awardees went above and beyond to build relationships with their colleagues across the aisle. Their exemplary leadership and collaboration is a model of American democracy at its best. We applaud and thank them for their dedicated public service.”

Both Rep’s Carney and Scott are co-chairs of the Future Caucus in their respective states. 

Immediately after receiving the award, Rep. Carney said in a Facebook post, “[I am] so incredibly honored to receive the Millennial Action Project’s Rising Star Award tonight in DC!”

He added, “As a millennial legislator, I have worked hard to push policies that can make Connecticut a better place to work, go to school, and raise a family. I’m proud of the friends and positive relationships I have made on my side and across the aisle, which is what MAP is all about.”

In a press release issued by MAP prior to the awards ceremony, Rep. Carney said, “I’ve always placed tremendous effort in supporting good public policy, regardless of where it originates from, so I’m incredibly honored to receive the Rising Star Award from my peers at the Millennial Action Project for my work in promoting their mission of transcending political tribalism.”

He continued, “Despite the polarization that seems to be overplayed in the news, I firmly believe there is so much more that unites us politically than divides us, particularly among younger generations. I hope more young people get involved in public service; it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you put your name on a ballot or actively support a cause or organization.”

Carney concluded by expressing thanks, “to MAP for all of their amazing work and this distinguished recognition.” 

In the same press release, Rep. Scott said, “I am honored to be chosen by the Millennial Action Project and I love that we share the same mission to find common ground with our adversaries. In my service to the Arkansas legislature and as a young woman of color, I have led by example to build relationships across party and demographic aisles to wage inclusive efforts to pass meaningful legislation.”

She added, “I believe our generation needs to be the change we have been waiting on. Our generation owes a great debt to the ones that came before us. I cannot think of a better way to repay that obligation than by working across partisan and racial divides to solve the great challenges of the 21st century. It is time to reunite these great states of America.”

The Cherisse Eatmon Collective Impact Award, recognizing an outstanding state caucus for their future-focused leadership and political bridge-building, was presented to the Kansas Future Caucus. The Kansas Future Caucus is led by Co-chairs Rep. Tory Arnberger (R) and Rep. Rui Xu (D); and Co-vice-chairs Rep. Brandon Woodard (D) and Rep. Nick Hoheisel (R). 

Rep. Rui Xu commented in the MAP press release, “Winning the 2021 Cherisse Eatmon Collective Impact Award means a great deal to me, both because of who it honors and because of the work we’ve done in Kansas to turn down the heat politically and show people what bipartisanship looks like.”

He continued, “While there are many issues we disagree on, we have all worked hard to become friends first and then use that friendship to try to understand each other better, which in turn has made us better friends. It’s an honor to serve with Reps. Arnberger, Hoheisel, and Woodard and it’s an honor to receive this award.”

Layla Zaidane, President & CEO of MAP, congratulated the awardees, saying, “We believe we can create a more inclusive, effective, and representative democracy if we can support the next generation of political leaders. The legislators recognized are living proof of how young people can transform how we do politics.”

She said, “The Rising Star Award and the Cherisse Eatmon Collective Impact Award honor those leaders for their commitment to building a better future together, while shifting the narrative about what is possible in our democracy.”

The Rising Star Awards reception was held at the Colada Shop in the District Wharf of Washington, D.C., where awardees were joined by a community of MAP leaders, supporters, and members of Congress in celebration of their accomplishments. 

Nosal Wins Seat on Zoning by Six Votes in Monday Night’s Recount

Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (File photo)

OLD LYME — UPDATED NOV. 11 at 1pm with a comment from Selectwoman Nosal. The final result in Monday evening’s lengthy recount of the votes cast last Tuesday for a five-year term starting 2022 on the Old Lyme Zoning Commission was as follows:

Mary Jo Nosal (D): 1,600
Sloan Danenhower (R): 1,594

This result confirmed Nosal, who currently serves as Old Lyme Selectwoman but did not seek re-election, as the winner of the race.

Asked her reaction to the recount result, Nosal told LymeLine in a text, “The recount validated the Nov 2nd election results. Clearly Mr. Dannenhower and I were supported by many voters in Old Lyme. It was a good race.”

She added, “I look forward to being seated on the Commission next year to fairly apply our regulations on the local concerns that come before the Commission.”

The unofficial result announced the night of the election was:

Mary Jo Nosal (D): 1,600
Sloan Danenhower (R): 1,593

No Vote Recount for Old Lyme’s Fourth Seat on BOE Planned, Recount for OL 5-Year Zoning Seat to be Held This Evening

OLD LYME — UPDATED NOV. 8 at 2:40pm — Old Lyme Republican Registrar Cathy Carter has confirmed to LymeLine by email this morning that there will only be one recount this evening for Old Lyme Zoning Commission position with a five-year term beginning 2022.

She explained that the results for the fourth position on the Region 18 Board of Education (BOE) were “… read incorrectly on Election night, however a tape from the tabulator was posted for public viewing with the correct numbers.” 

Carter said she will confirm to LymeLine this afternoon where and when the tape was posted.

She added, the final vote counts for BOE candidates Christopher Staab (R) and Alexander Lowry (D) were respectively 1578 and 1555, thus giving Staab a margin of victory of 23 votes.

This 23-margin difference places the result just outside the number needed to generate an automatic recount; a margin of 20 votes or less triggers an automatic recount.

We will update this story with new information as soon as we receive it.

OLD LYME — An announcement on the Town of Old Lyme website states, “The Old Lyme Registrars of Voters will conduct a recount of the votes cast for the Zoning Commission member having a five-year term beginning in 2022 on Monday, 8 November 2021 at 6:00 pm in the Mezzanine Conference Room of the Old Lyme Town Hall.”

The unofficial results from Tuesdays’ election in this race were:

Mary Jo Nosal (D): 1,600
Sloan Danenhower (R): 1,593

with Mary Jo Nosal being declared the unofficial winner. The margin of seven votes generates an automatic recount since Connecticut state law requires an automatic recount when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent of total votes cast for any office or fewer than 20 votes.

An automatic recount was also generated in the Old Lyme Board of Finance Alternate race where the unofficial results were as follows:

Sarah E. Michaelson (D): 1,621
Katherine Thuma (D): 1,630
Matthew Olsen (R): 1,754
Maria Marchant (R): 1,709

Thuma, Olsen and Marchant were declared unofficial winners, but the margin between Michaelson and Thuma potentially called for a recount since that difference in total votes between the candidates was nine votes. The New London Day reports, however, that Michaelson has waived her right to a recount.

We have not yet received details of a recount for the fourth member of the Region 18 Board of Education, where the unofficial results were:

Christopher Staab (R): 1,578
Alexander Lowry (D): 1,568

with Christopher Staab being declared the unofficial winner. This margin of 10 votes would also generate an automatic recount.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold stated in his Friday newsletter to the community, “Because the vote counts of two elected officials were within fifteen votes of each other, there will be a recount of their votes on Monday.”

He did not respond to our request for more information on when the second recount would be held.

11/7 UPDATE at 1 a.m: We note the New London Day is now reporting the number of votes cast respectively for Staab and Lowry as follows:

Christopher Staab (R): 1,578
Alexander Lowry (D): 1,555

This 23-margin difference places the result just outside the number needed to generate an automatic recount since it is more than 20 votes.

It appears the initial vote tallies announced on election night for this specific office were incorrect and that they have now been corrected. We are unclear at this point whether a recount for this seat will be held since we have not received an official response to that question yet.

We will update the information on the potential second recount as soon as we receive it.

BREAKING NEWS: Griswold Withdraws Proposal Prior to Meeting: Letter to the Editor: HRIC Chairman Invites Questions, Comments From Public on Halls Rd. Village District Application; Old Lyme Zoning Hearing Monday

UPDATED: 3:45PM We have just heard that Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold has withdrawn the application for the Halls Road Village District so it will no longer be on the agenda at the Zoning Commission this evening. 

To the Editor:

Schematic of proposed Halls Road Village District taken from application for same to Old Lyme Zoning Commission.

Creating a Village District is a complex process that involves multiple stakeholders and professionals. It is intended to address the goals of the Halls Road Master Plan Report, which were based on the past three years of research surveying the people and businesses of Old Lyme.

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission’s next Public Hearing will be held Monday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. and will include the continuation of the town’s application for the new Halls Road Village District.

Now is the time to pose questions to make this new zone the best it can possibly be. These can be sent ahead of the hearing to the zoning commission and/or in person at the meeting.  We welcome your comments, support and suggestions. Please email them to hallsroadcommittee@oldlyme-ct.gov

The rezoning application forward* that explains the reasons behind the rezoning is printed in its entirety below.

Visit this link to view the full application related to the Halls Road Village District, which has been submitted to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission.

Visit this link to view the presentation made to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission by the Halls Road Improvement Committee to support the application related to the Halls Road Village District.

Sincerely,

Edie Twining,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: i) The author is chairman of the Halls Road Improvement Committee.

ii) *For the benefit of our readers, the text below is the explanation sent the Old Lyme Zoning Commission by the HRIC to support the application to create the Halls Road Village District. 

Dear Members of the Zoning Commission,

The Town of Old Lyme is excited to submit to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission this application to create the Halls Road Village District. This application is the result of years of work by the Town’s Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) in consultation with local businesses, residents, town and civic groups, and professionals in relevant fields.

The aim of the Halls Road Master Plan (attached) is to secure the long-term viability of the town’s main retail district by a combination of improvements in the public realm, and changes in the zoning that regulates and guides the development of private parcels in the Halls Road district. The effort is intended to serve these and other needs of Old Lyme by changing the focus of development on Halls Road from isolated, car-centric, commercial-only strip centers to a walk-able, bike-able, mixed-use neighborhood that is safe and inviting, and is both more accessible to, and better integrated in form and function with, our historic civic center and arts district on Lyme Street. We believe these changes are needed to secure the town’s continued vitality, and will best serve the near-universal desire of residents to maintain the small town rural New England look and feel of Old Lyme.

Making the Halls Road area safe, inviting, and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and giving them an attractive connection between Lyme Street and Halls Road is chiefly a matter of public realm improvements. These improvements are a major part of the Halls Road Master Plan, but they do not, in themselves, require changes to zoning. The zoning changes are required in order to implement the over-all plan and support the long-term viability of retail on Halls Road.

The two aspects of the plan work together, and each relies on the other.

The turn away from a strip center model and toward a mixed-use village district does require zoning changes as requested in this application. Briefly, these changes include:

  • Establish a Halls Road Village District in which Lyme Street (not the current Halls Road) is the model.
    Allow mixed use in the new district. That is: allow a mix of retail, office, and residential, in which “residential” is limited to smaller-scale (e.g. apartments, condos, town houses, etc.) market-rate alternatives to the currently dominant housing stock (92% of which is single-family houses on their own lot).
  • Reduce the set-back requirements to encourage mixed-use buildings directly on Halls Road with retail on the first floor (facing Halls Road) and office or residential above and/or behind.
  • Relax the older parking requirements that encouraged maximal parking lots, and promote parking behind new buildings that face Halls Road.
  • Establish Design Guidelines and a design review process for the Village District to ensure new development and renovations advance the long-term goals of making Halls Road visually and functionally an integrated part of an extended town center based on historic Lyme Street.

Mixed Use
The introduction of mixed use in the new Halls Road Village District is a key part of the Halls Road Master Plan, and promotes the shared goals of Old Lyme on multiple levels.

Mixed use as proposed for Halls Road directly addresses a critical shortage of smaller-scale housing options in town, and places that housing in a village environment that is particularly attractive to older residents wanting to downsize, and to young families moving into town or just starting out in life. By making it possible for older residents to stay in town when they downsize, we keep friends together and support a community with deep connections. Younger families are the future of our town. They are the backbone of our all-volunteer support systems, including the OLFD, and their children are the whole purpose of our excellent schools. Without younger families, all of these institutions will wither.

Mixed use also helps to improve the general business climate of the town and of Halls Road in particular. Retail trade is under severe pressure from the Internet. There is increasing dis-investment in retail malls and little interest in retail investments generally. One type that does still draw investment is retail embedded in a mixed-use neighborhood, where foot traffic and casual browsing help bolster trade. Mega-malls tried to imitate a village setting but they failed. It turns out a neighborhood needs actual neighbors if it is to support local retail trade. It is not just the foot traffic, but the ambience of a vibrant living neighborhood that makes a retail area an interesting place to walk, browse, and meet one’s friends. That is the goal for the Halls Road Village District, and mixed use is a crucial part of that aim. Over time, the Halls Road Village District should become a living neighborhood with a mix of retail, office and residential—a walk-able retail town center that complements the civic and arts district centers on Lyme Street and connects with them seamlessly.

Mixed use supports our retail trade, but it is also beneficial in an indirect way. None of the hoped-for changes in retail or housing along Halls Road can come about until private investors are willing to create them. It is true that investors are more likely to invest in the kind of town-focused retail space that serves Old Lyme if that retail is in a mixed-use neighborhood, but residential building is still more attractive in the current economic climate than retail space. We think it is important to account for this in the new zoning by, for example, mandating a minimum of retail construction on Halls Road frontage. With the current commercial-only zoning, Halls Road is primarily attractive to businesses focused on the highway, not the needs of Old Lyme. Allowing mixed use will help to attract the kinds of investments we want, creating competition for the limited space. Clear zoning and Design Guidelines will also help to attract the kinds of investments we want, and discourage those we do not want. People in business like certainty. Clear planning, zoning, and design guidelines can give them that.

In addition to its direct benefits, mixed use in the Halls Road Village District will add much-needed variety to the housing stock and new tax revenues to the town without increasing sprawl across the remaining open land elsewhere in town.

The goal is to create, over time, an attractive streetscape of shops and restaurants/cafes that encourage residents and visitors to stroll, browse, and meet their friends. When people park once and walk it is better for business, builds community, and helps the environment. What Halls Road lacks today, and what the Halls Road Village District is intended to supply, is a sense of place that says “Old Lyme.”

Mixed use of the type proposed:

  • Creates a significantly more supportive environment for town-focused retail trade. (Crucial in the fast-changing economy.)
  • Makes a gesture at balancing our mix of housing stock.
  • Directly benefits two un-served housing markets (vital to Old Lyme):
  • Older residents downsizing (community continuity)
  • Young families starting out (town future: schools, fit volunteers)
  • Attracts investment in town-focused retail, as well as small-scale residential. 
  • Encourages what we want, which helps to forestall getting what we do not want.
  • Supports the most likely path to a wider range of retail to serve the town.
  • Creates a real, living town center that looks, acts, and feels like Old Lyme.
  • Gains new housing stock and tax revenues without sacrificing rural open space.

Public Realm Improvements 

The proposed public right-of-way roadway and sidewalk improvements (see attached Master Plan) will create safe pedestrian and bike routes along Halls Road from Neck Road (Rte. 156) to Lyme Street. Pedestrian lighting, landscaping, open green spaces, sidewalks, and crosswalks are all a part of the improvements the town will undertake. The plan also includes the most popular element suggested in town-wide surveys conducted in 2019: a new replacement for the old ‘Bow Bridge.’ This biking and walking bridge will span the Lieutenant River at the old bridge abutment, creating a safe and beautiful connection between Lyme Street and our main commercial district on Halls Road. Work on these improvements will begin as soon as the town secures funding and the required regulatory approvals.

Private Property Improvements 

The actual building and maintaining of a vibrant new Halls Road (commercial and/or residential) will be initiated and carried through by private investors and business people. The town can only open opportunities, provide guidance, and set limits; it cannot initiate in these areas. We hope to achieve a significant change, recreating a mixed-use town center for Old Lyme. That means responding to market forces and guiding development along Halls Road into the avenues that seem best for Old Lyme’s long-term future. 

An illustrative plan was drawn up to show how Halls Road could be redeveloped to reflect community priorities and desires for this area. It is just an example of how new private investments could play out over the next 20 years. To allow this type of development to occur, new Village District zoning is needed to allow and attract retail and residential investment, and to no longer require the deep set-backs and large parking lots that favored strip centers. The zoning that once attracted strip centers now disproportionately favors investments aimed primarily at serving highway traffic (e.g. gas stations and fast food chains). 

The town has said for decades it does not want Halls Road to be dominated by highway services. New zoning is required to address that. In addition, the 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) states that visual details such as adequate buffering and landscaping, appropriate architecture, preservation of natural site features and vistas are among the critical components of the look and feel of Old Lyme, yet there are no regulations in place mandating attention to such details except in the Sound View Design District. The proposed zoning changes are intended to address these community concerns in the Halls Road area. 

The Master Plan was used as a tool to help in writing new zoning language and design guidelines. In the new zoning, cluster housing, town houses, and second-story apartments will help ease the severe shortage of smaller-scale housing options in Old Lyme, and help turn a “9-to-5, commercial-only” area into a living neighborhood with mixed use—as Lyme Street was before the 1960s. The primary goals of the new Halls Road Village District zoning and Design Guidelines are to keep and attract the kinds of amenities that serve the needs of Old Lyme, and to create a look and feel in keeping with the rest of the town. The long-term goal is to create a mixed-use commercial and residential neighborhood that feels like a part of Lyme Street and the wider town of Old Lyme.

Zoning Regulations and Design Guidelines 

Two additional (new) Zoning elements are proposed to help guide the redevelopment of the Halls Road area. One is a recommendation that the Town establish a new zoning district called the Halls Road Village District. The second is the preparation of Design Guidelines to be used by a new Halls Road Design Review Committee (under the Zoning Commission) to guide the design of new buildings and sites as well as the rehabilitation of existing buildings within the Halls Road Village District.

New Zoning Regulations for the Proposed Halls Road Village District 

The proposed Halls Road Village District zoning is intended to encourage the redevelopment of this older commercial corridor in a manner that is more consistent with the architectural styles of the Historic District of Old Lyme. The proposed regulations have been written to encourage safe and healthy use of the area by providing for a mix of residential and commercial uses along or within close proximity of the road corridor to encourage walking and shopping within a village atmosphere. Further, the intent is to encourage a new mix of residential and non-residential uses within the district, and to encourage the creation of diverse housing types that are currently under-represented in Old Lyme.

Once the new and revised zoning is adopted, development in the district shall be designed to achieve the following compatibility objectives: 

  • The building and layout of buildings and included site improvements shall create a village character and streetscape environment through the placement of buildings and included site improvements to enhance the district
  • Existing and proposed streets shall be inter-connected
  • Open spaces within the proposed Village District shall reinforce the rural, riverside setting and the small-town nature of Old Lyme in form and siting
  • Locally significant features of the area, such as natural resources or sight lines of vistas from within the district, shall be integrated into the site design 
  • The landscape design shall complement the district’s landscape patterns
  • The exterior signs, site lighting, and accessory structures shall support a uniform architectural theme
  • The scale, proportions, massing and detailing of any proposed building shall be consistent. 

Design Guidelines to Supplement Zoning in the New Halls Road Village District 

In surveys and public meetings, many residents said they wanted Halls Road to be a walk-able, bike-able area with safe streets, and the feel of a real neighborhood with mixed use – a new town center. Older residents remember Lyme Street as just such a place before retail trade was deliberately moved to Halls Road. Old Lyme is one of the oldest settlements in New England, and as attached to its traditions as any small town needs to be. Traditions notwithstanding, the town has evolved over the centuries to meet changing conditions.

Most retail trade was banished from Lyme Street around 1960 and relocated to a series of strip centers with vast parking lots fronting Halls Road. Easy parking was the “must-have” of the car-centric 1950s. In exchange for more parking (and to relieve pressure on potential wastewater treatment capacity) the town broke with 250 years of community development in which commercial, residential, and civic uses had evolved together in mutually supporting roles. Something was gained, but something valuable was lost.

This is not a criticism of the people who made those decisions in the 1950s. They faced the challenges of their day, and chose the solutions that made sense then. We face different challenges. Today, the older mixed-use model seems most resilient in the face of online commerce, while strip malls fade. We must choose what makes sense now. If the specific choices seem opposites, the impulse is identical: to do what is best for Old Lyme’s future. 

Despite efforts at tasteful design, the strip centers on Halls Road have never looked like a part of Old Lyme, nor of any other New England town. The Halls Road Village District Design Guidelines will look to Lyme Street as the basic model to set the style of future development along Halls Road. We believe that functional and aesthetic improvements to the Halls Road Village District will increase its value to businesses, residents, and property owners alike.

The purpose of the Design Guidelines and design review process is to implement design standards for new or renovated buildings that will: 

  • Make sure future development in the Halls Road Village District works to make the look and feel of the district more like that of historic Lyme Street.
  • Provide prospective developers or renovators with a clear view of acceptable styles, including examples. 
  • Make clear what is not acceptable in renovations or new developments. 
  • Support and reinforce the long-term aims of the Halls Road Village District: the creation of a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood, well integrated with historic Lyme Street. 

Community Input and Process to Date 

The preparation of the Halls Road Master Plan, and of the proposed new Halls Road Village District zoning and Design Guidelines, has been guided by: 

  • Recognition of changing economic and environmental circumstances,
  • The established aims of the Town (as expressed in official planning documents), and 
  • A continuous and extensive effort to keep all stakeholders involved in planning a better future for Old Lyme’s main retail district along Halls Road. 

A more complete discussion of these elements, including a timeline, summaries of actions and findings, and pointers to additional sources is included in this document as Appendix A.

As the formal Halls Road Master Plan was completed, HRIC went back to the community to gauge support, visiting local businesses, institutions, and civic groups to present the final plan and answer any questions. This is an ongoing effort, but the response to date in dozens of sessions involving scores of individuals has been very positive, often enthusiastically so. 

Opinion seems to have evolved since the subject of change along Halls Road was first raised several years ago. Residents and other stakeholders have had time to consider the issues. Responses to the CERC survey of 2019 showed over 80% of respondents wanted some development along Halls Road, though only a minority at that time asked specifically for mixed use. Today the idea of mixed use on Halls Road has much greater and broader support, and its role in helping to achieve related aims is better understood. 

Appendix A:

Community Input and Process to Date 

The preparation of these proposed Halls Road Village District zoning regulations and Design Guidelines has been guided by: a recognition of changing economic and environmental circumstances, the established aims of the Town (as expressed in official planning documents), and a continuous and extensive effort to keep all stakeholders involved in planning a better future for Old Lyme’s main retail district along Halls Road. 

Plan of Conservation and Development 

The proposed changes address four long-standing concerns of Old Lyme’s formal planning efforts: the mix of retail trade along Halls Road, the viability of the town’s main business center, the need for greater variety in the town’s housing stock, and the over-arching concern of maintaining Old Lyme’s small-town look and feel. 

Retail:

Because Halls Road is the connector between the two halves of Exit 70 it has always been attractive to businesses focused primarily on serving the through traffic on I-95, the main route between Boston and New York. The town has always insisted that Halls Road, the town’s main shopping district, should be focused instead on the needs of Old Lyme residents (year-round and seasonal). The town has opposed any tendencies to allow Halls Road to become a mere ‘service plaza’ for travelers. From the Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) of 2000 and of 2020:

“Old Lyme was once an active center of transportation as passengers awaited the ferries carrying people, goods and even railroad cars across the river. With the construction of a series of ever larger bridges, there is now little need to pause in Old Lyme during journeys along the Connecticut coast. The town’s interests are focused on providing basic services and amenities for year round and summer residents and guests. It has successfully avoided any pressure to allow turnpike oriented* services such as multiple gas stations, fast food restaurants and motels. This is not an accident, but a deliberate choice.” [Old Lyme POCD 2000, page 5, paragraph 3] 

“Although Old Lyme has two exits connecting to Interstate 95, the town’s interests are focused on providing basic services and amenities for year-round and summer residents and guests. It has deliberately avoided any pressure to allow turnpike-oriented* services such as multiple gas stations, fast food restaurants and motels.” [Old Lyme POCD 2020, page 8, paragraph 3] 

*[I-95 shares the roadbed with the older (1958) Connecticut Turnpike from the New York border to Exit 76 (I-395) in East Lyme.]

Change:

Changing economic conditions are overtaking the confident language of the POCDs. Old Lyme long resisted the pressure to make Halls Road a mere service plaza for I-95, but it did so in a time when many other uses (more congruent with town aims) were competing for the same retail and commercial space. Since 2000 Internet commerce has come to dominate one retail segment after another. For goods or services that can be delivered electronically or by express truck, the Internet now offers a wider range at a lower price than any local ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailer can hope to match. Retail that is embedded in a viable mixed-use neighborhood (with foot traffic and walk-in trade) seems best able to resist the total virtualization of retail trade. Halls Road was always attractive to highway-focused services. In these new market conditions the “commercial-only” designation makes Halls Road attractive primarily to such businesses. 

The proposed zoning changes and Design Guidelines are necessary to protect and promote the long-established aims for Halls Road set out in POCDs over multiple decades. They will help Old Lyme adapt to changing market conditions, and retain the convenience of town-focused retail trade along Halls Road. 

Housing:

The proposed changes will address another long-standing concern of the Old Lyme Planning Commission: adding much-needed variety to Old Lyme’s housing stock, 92% of which is single-family homes on their own lot. For decades, Old Lyme’s POCDs have called for the addition of alternative housing types in appropriate locations. Halls Road is an appropriate location in which to meet some of the demand for smaller-scale, market-rate housing that is not of the dominant type. 

Small Town:

The proposed zoning changes and Design Guidelines are intended to work together to ensure that Halls Road becomes more integrated with the rest of Old Lyme’s town center, both in form and in function. The aim is to create, over time, a mixed-use district that looks, acts, and feels like a living part of Old Lyme—a small town on the Connecticut shoreline. 

Halls Road Improvements Committee 

The Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) was formed at the close of 2015. The initial impulse was public demand for safer pedestrian and bicycle access to the shopping district along Halls Road, and a desire to support the future commercial viability of the town’s main retail area. 

A 2015 change in Connecticut law had made it easier for towns to create Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, and that was an early focus of the HRIC. A TIF district allows a town to fund current development (such as capital improvements) in the TIF district by earmarking future property tax revenue increases there for those purposes. The creation of a TIF district requires a formal plan of development for the district, and there was none for Halls Road. Funds were allocated for the planning work. 

The improvements under consideration were not a trivial expense. Many residents objected that such a large sum should not be spent without looking more broadly at Halls Road and the various problems and opportunities it presents. Without a plan, how could we know what sort of development we wanted along Halls Road or what Halls Road should look like in 20 years, much less how the sidewalks should be laid out to accommodate that future? To build sidewalks without a plan for the future seemed unsound, so planning took precedence. 

Early in 2018 HRIC was allocated $20,000 to begin the planning process. The town hired the Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW), which produced very helpful baseline drawings of the existing conditions at Halls Road. YUDW also ran two public meetings intended to introduce the town to the kinds of considerations typically encountered in a planning effort. Ultimately, HRIC felt YUDW failed to grasp the small town nature of Old Lyme, offering options more appropriate to an urban than a rural setting, and so recommended the town not engage YUDW for later phases. 

The planning effort continued with local volunteer resources. During this process it became clear that Halls Road was not a project of the right scale and scope to take advantage of a TIF district, and that avenue was not pursued further. In 2018, HRIC’s volunteers produced a vision proposal for Halls Road.

In 2019 HRIC presented the vision proposal to multiple local groups, publicized it online and at the Mid-summer Festival, and held two open houses at which residents and business owners could speak one-on-one with committee members and register their opinion on specific aspects of the ideas under consideration. 

EDC and CERC:

Also in 2019, the future of Halls Road figured prominently in economic research, surveys, and workshops conducted on behalf of the town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC). The EDC engaged the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC, now AdvanceCT) to help create a picture of the economic environment of Old Lyme and its place in the surrounding region. 

As a part of that effort CERC and EDC conducted a major survey of Old Lyme residents and business owners. Nearly 10% of the adult residents and over 10% of the representatives of local businesses responded to the survey. It covered Old Lyme as a whole and broke out specific areas, including Halls Road, for particular questions. Most of the survey questions were in the form of ranking a set of attributes or aims by their importance. Respondents also had the option to provide additional comments. Among the findings were: 

  • Nearly all respondents said future development should be consistent with the small town charm of Old Lyme and reflect its particular rural New England look and feel. 
  • Over 80% wanted improvements along Halls Road, from more varied restaurants and shops to greater safety for walkers and cyclists. 
  • Businesses wanted the town to do more to encourage business, thought the town needed a proper town center, and wanted the town to encourage more young people to move here. 
  • Responses regarding housing were self-contradictory, with only one in five saying Old Lyme needed more housing, yet two-thirds saying some specific type of housing was in short supply and should be added. 
  • Similarly, few said Old Lyme needed additional green space, but when asked about Halls Road in particular, 75% said development there should include additional green space, small parks, etc. 

CERC ran two workshops with representatives of commercial property owners, local businesses, and civic groups. The workshops considered the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) relevant to Old Lyme’s future. Although the scope was town-wide, Halls Road (as the main shopping area) was a major focus. A wide variety of factors were identified and discussed, but a few stood out as areas of broader agreement. In order of their relative prominence under each heading, these were: 

  • Strengths: Good schools, artistic heritage/culture, natural beauty/location, and volunteerism/sound town finance. 
  • Weaknesses: Lack of diverse housing for younger/older residents, weak CT economy, constraints on infrastructure [presumably: wastewater/groundwater], lack of walking/biking infrastructure, no coherent plan for commercial areas (Halls Road, Hartford Ave.) 
  • Opportunities: Deliver action plan for Halls Rd./Hartford Ave., make town more connected for bike/foot traffic, diversify housing stock, change Soundview stigma, attract younger residents. 
  • Threats: Resistance to change, CT state policies, environmental change, growing competition nearby. 

There was some confusion between “weaknesses” (~internal to the town) and “threats” (~external). Despite that definition, “resistance to change” was the most commonly cited threat to Old Lyme’s future, and Connecticut’s lackluster economy accounted a weakness. 

The need for different types of housing, and its role in ensuring a viable future for Old Lyme was far more prominent in the SWOT workshop discussions than it had been in the general survey. The fact that SWOT participants were all business- and civic-oriented may help to explain why they were more aware of the issue. Also, the SWOT workshops took place after the town-wide survey and many HRIC presentations, at a time when there was increasing public discussion of possible changes to Halls Road. The idea of mixed-use along Halls Road seems to have steadily gained public support over time, and continues to do so. 

Formal Plan:

Feedback from HRIC’s town-wide presentations and interactions, and the results of EDC research provided additional direction to the planning process. 

A formal plan for Halls Road required professional experience and knowledge. A search narrowed the field to three firms who presented proposals to HRIC. Of these, BSC won the contract at a cost within the limits of the funds previously allocated for planning. At the end of 2020, the town of Old Lyme engaged BSC Group, Inc. and their sub-consultant, Bartram & Cochran, to create a Master Plan, propose Public Realm (i.e. roadway, sidewalk and public open space) improvements, and to write Design Guidelines and recommended Re-Zoning Language for a new Halls Road Village District. 

That work is now complete, and the re-zoning language and Design Guidelines are presented with this request. 

Community Support 

As the formal Halls Road Master Plan was completed, HRIC went back to the community to gauge support, visiting local businesses and civic groups to present the final plan and answer any questions. This is an ongoing effort, but the response to date in dozens of sessions involving scores of individuals has been very positive, often enthusiastically so. 

Opinion seems to have evolved since the subject of change along Halls Road was first raised several years ago. Residents and other stakeholders have had time to consider the issues. Responses to the CERC survey of 2019 showed over 80% of respondents wanted some development along Halls Road, though only a minority at that time asked specifically for mixed use. Today the idea of mixed use on Halls Road has much greater and broader support, and its role in helping to achieve related aims is better understood.

Election Reaction From Both Parties in Old Lyme

Anna Reiter

OLD LYME — UPDATED 11/5 with the Old Lyme Democratic Campaign Manager’s comments: Asked her reaction to Tuesday’s results, Anna Reiter, who served as the Old Lyme Democratic Campaign Manager, responded to our question by email saying, “I am thrilled that voters elected 10 very qualified and dedicated democrats Tuesday. We are of course disappointed that we didn’t win a few more, but 2023 will be here before we know it.”

Victoria Lanier (File photo)

We also asked Victoria Lanier, who served as the Old Lyme Republican Campaign Manager, for her thoughts on the election results and she replied to our question by email saying, “I am grateful that the voters of Old Lyme agreed that the Republican slate truly represented the best choice for Old Lyme.”

Noting, “Our slate of candidates, including unaffiliated candidates, Matt Ward (selectman), and Laura Dean-Frazier (BOE) are looking forward to serving all of the voters of Old Lyme, she concluded, “Certainly,  the results demonstrate that our positive message resonated with Old Lyme voters.”

Martha Shoemaker (File photo)

Responding to the same question as Lanier and Reiter, incoming Democrat Old Lyme Selectwoman and re-elected member of Region 18 Board of Education Martha Shoemaker told LymeLine by email, “During the past three months I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing team of people on our campaign. We ran a great race. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the Row A team.”

She continued, “Congratulations to Jason Kemp, Kim Russell Thompson, Katherine Plazza Thuma, George Finley, Rob McCarthy, Kip Kotzan, Kathleen Tracy, Russell Fogg, and Mary Jo Kelly Nosal for winning their elections.”

Adding, “I especially want to thank Jim Lampos for being my running mate,” she noted, “Although he will not be serving with me on the Board of Selectman, I know that he will always have the best interests of Old Lyme foremost on his mind.”

Shoemaker concluded, “I look forward to serving on the Board of Selectman with Tim Griswold and Matt Ward. I will do my best to represent the interests of Old Lyme during my term. I look forward to my continued service on the Board of Education as well.”
We also asked Timothy Griswold, who was re-elected as Old Lyme First Selectman in Tuesday’s election, for his thoughts on the outcome of the election. We have not yet received a response.

Republicans Griswold, Ward Win in Old Lyme; Shoemaker (D) Takes Third Spot on BOS; Early Results Show Nosal Secures Seat on Zoning, But Recounts Needed in Several Contests; Full Unofficial Results

Editor’s Note: COMMENTING IS NOW CLOSED ON THIS ARTICLE.

Tim Griswold (right) has been re-elected as Old Lyme First Selectman. He will be joined on the board by fellow Republican Matt Ward (left) and Democrat Martha Shoemaker (not pictured.) File photo.,596

OLD LYME — UPDATED 11/3 WITH MORE DETAILS ON VOTE COUNTS: These are the preliminary UNOFFICIAL results from Tuesday’s election with those elected in bold. Several of the races appear to require a recount.

Republican Tim Griswold retained his position for a second consecutive term as Old Lyme First Selectman by a relatively small margin of 104 votes. Griswold garnered 1,700 votes and Shoemaker 1,596. Griswold previously served seven terms as First Selectman from 1997 to 2011.

Griswold’s running mate, the unaffiliated but Republican-endorsed Matt Ward, secured precisely the same number of votes as Griswold (1,700), and takes the second selectman spot.

Democrat Martha Shoemaker netted more votes than her running mate Jim Lampos, who received 1,575 votes, and therefore she (Shoemaker) will also join the board of selectmen.

The hotly-contested Region 18 Board of Education race, which saw eight candidates vying for four open seats, was won by a mix of Republicans and Democrats. Unaffiliated but Republican-endorsed Laura Dean-Frazier was the top vote-getter with 1,705 votes, followed first selectman candidate — and now Old Lyme Board of Selectmen member — Democrat Martha Shoemaker with 1,680 votes. Democrat Jason Kemp came in third with 1,621 votes and rounding out the winners was Republican Christopher Staab with 1,578 votes — but as Alexander Lowry was only 10 votes behind Staab, a recount may be requested.

Andy Russell and Jude Read were re-elected the board of finance defeating Democrat challengers Anna Reiter and Bradley Mock.

Republicans Matthew Olsen and Maria Marchant were elected as board of finance alternates along with Democrat Katherine Thuma.

The Planning Commission saw incumbent Todd Machnik (R) re-elected after defeating selectman candidate Jim Lampos (D).

Republican Jane Marsh was re-elected to the Zoning Commission, but Democrat and current Old Lyme Selectwoman and Democrat Mary Jo Nosal also won a seat to the Commission after defeating Republican Sloan Danenhower. A recount in this latter race is also expected since there were only seven votes between the two candidates with Nosal receiving 1,600 votes and Danenhower 1,573.

Democrat Russell Fogg was elected to the ZBA defeating Daniel Montano (R).

More analysis to follow.

FIRST SELECTMAN: 

Martha Shoemaker (D): 1,596

Timothy  Griswold (R): 1,700

SELECTMAN: 

Jim Lampos (D): 1,575

Matthew Ward (R): 1,700

TOWN CLERK: 

Vicki Urbowicz (R): 2,204

BOARD OF FINANCE – FULL TERM: 

Bradley Mock (D): 1,483

Anna Reiter (D): 1,530

Andrew Russell (R): 1,722

Judith Read (R): 1,716

BOARD OF FINANCE – TO FILL FOUR-YEAR TERM: 

Kimberly Russell Thompson (D): 1,890

BOARD OF FINANCE ALTERNATES: 

Sarah E. Michaelson (D): 1,621

Katherine Thuma (D): 1,630

Matthew Olsen (R): 1,754

Maria Marchant (R): 1,709

BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS 

George C. Finley (D): 1,664

Timothy Griswold (R): 1,558

PLANNING COMMISSION
5-Year Term beginning 2021 

Jim Lampos (D): 1,548

Todd Machnik (R): 1,711

5-Year Term beginning 2022 

Rob McCarthy (D): 1,938

ZONING COMMISSION:
5-Year Term beginning 2021 

Maria Martinez (D): 1,478

Jane Marsh (R): 1,701

5-Year Term beginning 2022 

Mary Jo Nosal (D): 1,600

Sloan Danenhower (R): 1,593

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
5-Year Term beginning 2021 

Kip Kotzan (D): 1,897

5-Year Term beginning 2022 

Russell Fogg (D): 1,632

Daniel Montano (R): 1,535

Alternates 

Kathleen Tracy (D): 1,651

Sherry Johnston (R): 1,664

Christopher Kerr (R): 1,871

Rod Clingman (R): 1,722

REGION 18 BOARD OF EDUCATION 

Jason L. Kemp (D): 1,621

Marisa Calvi-Rogers (D): 1,520

Martha H. Shoemaker (D): 1680

Alexander Lowry (D): 1568

Mona Colwell (R): 1,391

Laura Dean-Frazier (R): 1,705

Michael Presti (R): 1,525

Christopher Staab (R): 1,578

Democrats Retain Top Spot in Lyme Uncontested, Make Other Gains Notably on Board of Finance

First Selectman Steve Mattson (right) and  Selectman John Kiker, both Democrats, retain their respective seats on the Lyme Board of Selectmen.

LYME – The only real race in Lyme saw Democrats Bob House and Alan Sheiness edge out Republican Bruce Anderson for seats on the board of finance.

All other races in Lyme were uncontested so Democrat Steve Mattson remains as First Selectman with fellow Democrat John Kiker as Second Selectman. David Lahm joins the board as the minority Republican.

On learning the results of today’s municipal election, Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Chairman John Kiker issued the following statement: “On the behalf of everyone at the Lyme DTC, I would like to thank the residents of Lyme for electing a full slate of highly qualified Democratic candidates whose experience and expertise will benefit our town boards and commissions. We are particularly excited about our additions to the Board of Finance and the Planning & Zoning Commission, who will help ensure these important boards are balanced with Democratic values.”

He continued, “All of the newly elected Democratic officials love our town and want Lyme to stay the beautiful, historic town that it is; and they are grateful to have the opportunity to serve the residents of our town.”

Kiker added, “I would also like to thank all the volunteers who helped run our campaign this year – in particular, the members of our Nominating Committee, who did such an excellent job of recruiting some of Lyme’s best and brightest to run for public office.”

Noting, “The Lyme DTC’s mission is to support and strengthen the Democratic Party in the Town of Lyme and the State of Connecticut. The committee meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme Town Hall (barring holidays or other necessary schedule changes),” Kiker concluded, “These meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.”

Unofficial Election Results From Lyme

FIRST SELECTMAN: (Vote for one)

Steven Mattson (D): 420

Steven Mattson (Endorsed by Republicans): 157

SELECTMAN: (Vote for one)

John Kiker (D): 412

David Lahm (R): 249

BOARD OF FINANCE:  (Vote for up to two)

Bob House (D): 431

Alan Sheiness (D): 413

Bruce Anderson (R): 260

BOARD OF FINANCE ALTERNATE: (Vote for one)

Jim Miller (D): 414

Tom St. Louis (R) 239

BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS (Vote for one)

John Kiker (D): 471

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION (Vote for up to two)

Phyllis Ross (D): 404

David Tiffany (R) 348

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION ALTERNATE – FULL SIX-YEAR TERM: (Vote for one)

Ann Littlefield (D): 475

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION ALTERNATE – FULL FOUR-YEAR TERM: (Vote for one)

Frederick Gahagan (R) 367

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION ALTERNATE – FULL TWO-YEAR TERM: (Vote for one)

Mary Stone (D): 468

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (Vote for up to two)

Fred Harger (D): 427

David Lahm (R): 306

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS ALTERNATE: (Vote for one)

Toni Phillips (D): 463

LIBRARY DIRECTORS: (Vote for up to two)

Mary Stone (D): 466

Laura Mooney (D): 462

REGION 18 BOARD OF EDUCATION (Vote for one)

Anna James (D): 479

‘Debate’ Held With Republicans, No Democrats; Eric Parker Served as Question Master

OLD LYME — Monday night’s planned debate was reformatted to an event featuring only the Republican candidates after a major misunderstanding occurred as to whether or not the debate had been cancelled.

Ann Reiter, campaign manager for the Democrats, stated in an email sent Monday at 11:52 a.m., “… unfortunately our (the Democrats) understanding yesterday [Sunday] at 2pm was that the debate was cancelled because of several reasons, the main being that we did not have a moderator and neither Vicki [Lanier] or I had any prospects for a moderator.  At that point we (the Democrats) notified our supporters and candidates that the debate was cancelled.  I was not available last night and did not receive news about Eric Parker’s possible participation until very late last night. We were disappointed to cancel the event and Vicki and I both agreed that if we are the campaign managers for the town committees again in two years, we would work together starting in September to create a fair and well-planned event.”

Victoria Lanier, campaign manager for the Republicans, countered in an email sent Monday at 11:57 a.m., “Anna Reiter … confirmed that the Democratic candidates will not be attending the scheduled debate this [Monday] evening at the LOLMS.  Her reasoning was that she claimed to me that “we agreed to cancel the debate”.  To be perfectly clear – there was never an agreement to cancel the debate.  Rather, she informed me yesterday [Sunday] via telephone (rather than email) at about 2pm that her candidates wouldn’t be at the debate because we didn’t have a confirmed moderator.
The Republican candidates will go forward. Eric Parker [of Channel 3 News*] will ask questions of the Republican candidates that will be supplied to him in a sealed envelope when he arrives at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.”

Parker took the role of question master in a personal capacity not as a representative of Channel 3 News.

The questions were a combination of those submitted to CT Examiner and LymeLine.

Visit this link for a recording of the event. The recording was supplied by the Old Lyme Republicans.

 

‘Debate’ to be Held This Evening at 5:30pm With Republicans, No Democrats; Eric Parker to Ask Questions

OLD LYME — We have just been informed that tonight’s debate has been reformatted as follows:-

The event will start at 5:30 p.m. NOT the previously announced 5 p.m. It will still be held in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS.) All are welcome.

Victoria Lanier, campaign manager for the Republicans, states, “The Republican candidates will go forward. Eric Parker [of Channel 3 News*] will ask questions of the Republican candidates that will be supplied to him in a sealed envelope when he arrives at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.” [The questions will be a combination of those submitted to CT Examiner and LymeLine.]

The Democrats will not participate.

Ann Reiter, campaign manager for the Democrats, states, “… unfortunately our (the Democrats) understanding yesterday at 2pm was that the debate was cancelled because of several reasons, the main being that we did not have a moderator and neither Vicki or I had any prospects for a moderator.  At that point we (the Democrats) notified our supporters and candidates that the debate was cancelled.  I was not available last night and did not receive news about Eric Parker’s possible participation until very late last night. We were disappointed to cancel the event and Vicki and I both agreed that if we are the campaign managers for the town committees again in two years, we would work together starting in September to create a fair and well-planned event.”

Lanier counters, “Anna Reiter … confirmed that the Democratic candidates will not be attending the scheduled debate this evening at the LOLMS.  Her reasoning was that she claimed to me that “we agreed to cancel the debate”.  To be perfectly clear – there was never an agreement to cancel the debate.  Rather, she informed me yesterday via telephone (rather than email) at about 2pm that her candidates wouldn’t be at the debate because we didn’t have a confirmed moderator.”

Both campaign managers expressed thanks to CT Examiner and LymeLine for supporting their efforts.

We understand the event will be recorded and the recording posted on the Old Lyme Republicans Facebook page shortly after the conclusion of the event. Here is a link to the recording.

Editor’s Note: Eric Parker is taking this role in a personal capacity not as a representative of Channel 3 News.