January 21, 2019

Lyme, Old Lyme Town Halls, Libraries Closed Today to Honor MLK Day

Lyme and Old Lyme Town Halls and libraries will be closed Monday, Jan. 21, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Transfer Station in Lyme will also be closed on Monday.

There is no change to the trash or recycling pick-up schedule in Old Lyme on Monday. 

A new 2019 color coded recycling calendar for Old Lyme is available on the Old Lyme Sanitation website and on the Town website under Trash & Recycling

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Holiday Schedules for Town Hall, Trash, Recycling in Lyme and Old Lyme


Lyme Town Hall and Lyme Transfer Station will be closed Monday, Dec. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday; and again on Monday, Dec. 31, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, in observance of the New Year’s holiday.

Old Lyme Town Hall will close at 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24, and also be closed on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1, 2019.)

Old Lyme Transfer Station will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for the next two weeks for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Lymes’ Senior Center has special holiday hours as follows:
Christmas Eve — Monday, Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25, and Wednesday, Dec. 26
New Year’s Eve — Monday, Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Closed New Year’s Day, Tuesday, Jan. 1

Old Lyme trash and recycling will follow a normal schedule on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve). Trash and recycling that would normally be picked up on Tuesday (Christmas Day) will be picked up the following day.  Automated containers should be curbside by 7 a.m. There will be no return trips.

Christmas trees will be picked up in Old Lyme during the week of Jan. 14. If you would like the Town to pick up your tree, you must have it curbside by 7 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14. If you miss pick up on your street, you can take your tree to the Transfer Station (open Tuesday through Saturday) at no charge. There will be no return trips for curbside pick up.

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Update on Halls Rd. Improvement Project

We felt an update on the Halls Road Improvements project would be timely since several related things have occurred since our last post on the subject.

Firstly, we have received quite a number of thoughtful and constructive comments from readers on the topic, some of which we have already published and others that were sent to directly to us and anonymity requested. We are now publishing  them all in their entirety below.

We still welcome further comments and will continue to respect people’s anonymity if requested.

Halls Road today. Photo from Yale Urban design Workshop presentation given on Dec. 6, 2018..

Secondly, the Halls Road Improvements Committee has now published the Dec. 6 Yale Urban Design Workshop presentation on the Town of Old Lyme website at this link.  There is also an opportunity to comment on the proposed plans at this link.

Thirdly, the folk at SECoast.org have published their report of the Dec. 6 meeting at this link.  They are also soliciting comments on the proposal on their Facebook page at this link.

Finally, there is an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the town hall meeting room, which includes an update on the project on its agenda.

Comments on the proposal received to date from readers are as follows:

Author; John Stratton:

For more than a century there’s been no comprehensive plan for the use and appearance of lower Boston Post Road (now known as Halls Road). The 1911 auto bridge and the 1948 realignment of the Boston Post Road essentially created the present patchwork. It’s time for a set of guidelines which are proactive from the standpoint of creating a single, attractive, town destination, preferably one that blends economic, residential, and community spaces. Yes, problems may arise, and careful rezoning will have to anticipate them. In 1990-1993 the initial proposals for the new I-95 bridge and interchange were seen to consume a lot of our shopping center. People reacted with concern and the invasive roadway plans were altered— but no new plan emerged to redefine the Halls Road streetscape as a “town center.” This is our chance to build that plan.

Author: Anonymous

I think the Town’s effort is great.  It is for plans such as these that we have Town committees and staff in the first place.  They are doing their job, and thinking long term about what kind of Old Lyme we want to have.  As said by one of the representatives (and I paraphrase), when we let the developers lead, we end up with an ugly mishmash of structures … just like we have on Halls Road now.

What the Town is proposing is reasonable.  Over the next 30 years, there will be development one way or the other.  The town is just saying, hey let’s all have a say in defining what we want to wind up with at the end of the day.  The Town is not saying let’s spend a whole lot of tax money up front, or even in the long term.  They are just saying let’s all agree on what we want, and let private developers fill in the blanks as they see future economic opportunities.  The Town might provide a few dollars, but it sounds like it is more intent on offering zoning benefits, and seeking to access State grant money.

At the end of the day, this is a 30 year plan.  We have 30 years to monitor it, and to make revisions if necessary.  Give it a try.  Otherwise Halls Road will remain a blight.

Author: Thomas D. Gotowka

Christina and I attended both public meetings hosted by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee, and conducted by members of the Yale Urban Design Workshop. Yale presented the Committee’s vision statement and several conceptual renderings of what fully realizing that vision might yield. The article in the New London Day accurately summarized the vision.

The audience was skeptical of the immense breadth and scope of that vision; – requiring twenty- five or more years to complete.  Several concerns were raised about cost and the impact on taxes.

We left with a few thoughts and concerns. It was not apparent to us that current Halls Road business owners and the professionals occupying office space had participated to any extent in developing that vision. It is absolutely important to get their buy-in. Essex Bank did state that any of their future development would take Old Lyme’s plan into consideration.

We found Alan Plattus’ presentation to be a bit glib. This is important stuff, and some of the vision could be lost in presenter style. Also, know the names of our local landmarks, especially if they factor into the plan. (i.e. it’s the “Bow Bridge” that used to cross the Lieutenant River). But, after all; they’re Yale, not Harvard.

Our suggestion: parse the plan into achievable shorter- range projects that will yield some early successes. Start with the hiking/biking paths along the Lieutenant River, rebuild the foot bridge, and create the new Halls Road village green.

Author: J. David Kelsey

I strongly believe a municipality’s best service for economic development is to create a flexible crucible allowing for creative use of people’s property and to support it with reasonable infrastructure. A good starting point is indeed a big picture vision of what could be – the work of the Yale is a helpful guide to figure out what zoning flexibility might be added and to identify infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, rational street signs, crosswalks) that might be undertaken.

What is not clear is the level of involvement of the town in changing the nature of existing buildings – are we talking about the town purchasing certain parcels and eminent domain strategies so that the town (instead of existing private owners) determines what might happen? I would advocate for a clear statement soon of how the town proposes to be involved, and I would hope it would be a light touch of reducing setbacks, requiring rear parking, introducing mixed-use zoning and working with DOT early to see what actual changes could be made for street parking (it is a unique stretch of US-1 with unusually high volume during frequent detours), sidewalks and hardscape improvements. Private owners could then determine what makes sense economically for changes to existing buildings and for new construction.

If the goal is for the town to control actively in some manner the types of use and nature of construction, that is a very large role to undertake, since this part of town is economically vibrant already with buildings that are close to full already with businesses, despite being less aesthetically desirable in the case of some buildings. I hope we get a clear picture that is public of the long-term town plan, rough ideas of costs to the town and a timetable once the community feedback for Yale’s draft plan is complete. A great start at very low cost and quickly achieved would be consolidating or eliminating street and traffic signs and at least having them stand up straight.

For more than a century there’s been no comprehensive plan for the use and appearance of lower Boston Post Road (now known as Halls Road). The 1911 auto bridge and the 1948 realignment of the Boston Post Road essentially created the present patchwork. It’s time for a set of guidelines which are proactive from the standpoint of creating a single, attractive, town destination, preferably one that blends economic, residential, and community spaces. Yes, problems may arise, and careful rezoning will have to anticipate them. In 1990-1993 the initial proposals for the new I-95 bridge and interchange were seen to consume a lot of our shopping center. People reacted with concern and the invasive roadway plans were altered— but no new plan emerged to redefine the Halls Road streetscape as a “town center.” This is our chance to build that plan.

Author: Ron Breault

I attended the Dec 6 meeting. My comments

1) When asked about the planning assumption regarding possible DOT changes to I-95, the Yale Urban Design response was that, despite recognition that traffic delays and congestion already exist, there would be no area changes in I-95 in the next 20 years.

Since this is already a significant thru traffic problem which can only get worse, changes envisioned by the ‘plan’ for Halls Rd that include on Halls Rd parallel and/or diagonal parking, increased commercial density and pedestrian use, increased recreational use and pedestrian crossing and stop signs will aggravate, perhaps dangerously, the Halls Rd environment.

2) There appeared to be no consideration given for a more limited, ‘modest’, less expensive improvement of Halls Rd, ie’, sidewalks, bike paths, a return of the pedestrian crossing bridge over the Lieutenant River, elimination of ‘leaning’ power line poles with unattractive heavy looping wires and electrical equipment. Maybe some street lighting, and buried wires?

3) One of the meeting attendees commented that she had lived in Nantucket for 25 years and, because of development, ‘Nantucket is no longer Nantucket’. Paraphrased, her concern was the extensive multi story commercial/residential development plan presented for Halls Rd would mean Old Lyme would no longer be Old Lyme. I think this was a shared feeling by many at the meeting.

Author: Ted Mundy

Unfortunately I did not attend the meeting. Nonetheless, the previous comments and SE Coast write-ups provide a good base of information.

Rule One for architects is to live in what they intend to design. Of course, this is impossible until built. However, they should visit at least twice during the calendar year. The first is a summer Friday night when I-95 gets jammed. The overflow of traffic makes 156 and Rt-1 very congested. If there is an accident southbound, Rt-1 after Exit 75 is backed up from Laysville south to the Hall’s Road traffic lights. Some traffic goes down Lyme Street, which is the heart of what makes Old Lyme great. Imagine shopping on Hall’s Road during these incidents. We avoid it.

The second time to visit is in early December. The town is relatively quiet especially the shore communities. One wonders how some of the Hall’s Road merchants make it at all. With the exception of the Big Y, foot traffic is slow in my judgment.

This gets to the final point. Do we want to change the character of Old Lyme? If the Mundys shop for goods other than necessities, we go on-line or visit Old Saybrook. Let’s leave Old Lyme the way it is and save government funds for infrastructure repair and reduce our tax burden.

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Residents Hear Initial Ideas on Halls Rd. Improvement from Yale Urban Design Team, Reactions Mixed: What do YOU Think?

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder addresses the audience in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School cafeteria during the Thursday evening meeting.

“Members of the Halls Road Improvements Committee and the Yale Urban Design Workshop met with the public Thursday evening to discuss the creation of a master development plan envisioning future improvements to Halls Road, the town’s main commercial district.

The committee, after holding a similar public discussion earlier this year, has been working …”

These are the opening sentences of an article by Mary Biekert titled Improvements to Old Lyme’s Halls Road discussed in public forum and published today on theday.com.  Read the full article at this link.

Editor’s Note: In pursuit of our mission of serving our community … let us know what YOU think of the Halls Rd. Improvement proposals?  Either post a comment with your thoughts here on LymeLine.com or send us an email with them to editor@lymeline.com

We’ll publish a summary of the comments we receive, but only naming the writer if you have given specific permission.

Thank you — we look forward to hearing from you!

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Public Meeting to Discuss Halls Rd. Improvements Master Plan to be Held This Evening

Halls Road — existing conditions 2018.

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) and the Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) will host another Community Meeting titled, ‘Halls Road Improvements: Introduction of Design Concepts and Community Workshop’ on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School cafeteria.

12/3 UPDATE: A regular HRIC meeting scheduled for that night has been cancelled.

Halls Road Improvements Committee Chairman Bennett (BJ) Bernblum told LymeLine.com that he is hoping for a good turnout at the event.  He noted that the Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW) will present their recommendations and options at the meeting and then will conduct a design workshop to stimulate feedback from the public.  Bernblum said he was aware in broad terms of the concepts that the YUDW was going to present, but the group was still working on details of the plans.

The Old Lyme BOS and the HRIC’s publicity flyer for the meeting states it is, “the next step towards creating a Master Plan for Halls Road. The Yale Urban Design Workshop in conjunction with the Halls Road Improvements Committee has been developing design options based on the community meeting held this past July.”

The flyer further notes the hope is that by seeking community participation, it will, “help us [the BOS and HRIC] move closer to an agreed-upon framework for future development at Halls Road.”

Looking back to the July meeting, the publicity poster for that meeting said, “Feedback at community meetings over the past two years has made it clear that developments along Halls Rd. need to be looked at in an integrated, long-term context.”  It continued, “In addition, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC), which is a non-profit government/business joint effort, has offered to help collect economic and market data in support of the planning process.”

 

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Old Lyme Registrars Hold Final Voter Special Registration Session, Today

Mid-term elections are just around the corner on Tuesday, Nov. 6.  In order to maximize participation, the Old Lyme Registrars of Voters will hold their final special voter registration sessions at their office on the mezzanine level of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall on Monday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

People can also register to vote Monday through Friday in the Town Clerk’s office if the Registrars are not available.

Absentee Ballots and Voter Registration Applications are available from the Town Clerk’s office — not through the Registrars.   Absentee Ballots will be available from the Town Clerk on Oct. 5.  For more information on Absentee Ballots, call the Town Clerk at 860-434-1605, ext. 221.

Oct. 30 is the last day for mail-in registration, on-line registration (until 11:59 p.m.), and in-person registration to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

On-line voter registration is available 24/7 and is user-friendly. Visit www.voterregistration.ct.gov or the Secretary of the State’s website at www.SOTS.ct.gov, select Elections & Voting and then On-line registration.

On-line voter registration also allows voters to make changes to name, address, and/or party affiliation.

If you wish to know if — and how — you are registered, select Am I Registered to Vote? and then Voter Lookup Tool.

The only people who can register and be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election after Oct. 30 are those

  • who turn 18, or
  • become U.S. citizens, or
  • move into town

after Oct. 30 and on/before Nov. 6.  Persons in this category can apply for voter registration in the Registrar’s Office until 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.

The location for Election Day Registration (EDR) is the Registrars Office, Mezzanine Level, Town Hall, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more voter registration information, call (860) 434-1605 x 226 or email registrars@oldlyme-ct.gov

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Lymes’ Senior Center Artists to Display Their Art in Old Lyme Town Hall; Opening Reception, Nov. 9

Art groups from the Lymes’ Senior Center will hold their third annual holiday exhibit of their work for sale in Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall during November and December. The participating artists have been taking art classes with Sharon Schmiedel.

Paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces will be on display. Additionally, two members of the Center’s community, Janet Cody and Peg Sheehan, will add a “Touch of Craft” with their work in traditional punch needle pieces and handmade jewelry of silver, gold and semi-precious and precious stones respectively. Another member, Norma DeGrafft, will also display her scenic watercolors in the Lyme Town Hall. A portion of any sale will be donated to the Lymes’ Senior Center.

An opening reception for this show will be held on Friday, Nov. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. in Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall. Light refreshments will be served.

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Old Lyme Zoning Approves Controversial HOPE Housing Project on Neck Rd. by 3-2 Vote

Zoning Commission members discuss the upcoming vote at Tuesday night’s meeting. Photos by Debra Joy.

By a vote of 3–2, the Old Lyme Zoning Commission Tuesday night approved the Neck Road affordable housing project known as River Oak Commons I and II.  Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Cable and commission members Gil Soucie and Alan Todd voted in favor of the proposal while commission members Jane Marsh and Paul Orzel voted against.

From left to right, Zoning Commission members Paul Orzel and Alan Todd discuss HOPE’s zoning application while Zoning Commission Alternate Harvey Gemme listens carefully.

Citing previous affordable-housing legal decisions as precedent, commission chair Jane Cable said that unless there is “hard evidence” that a proposed project is going to lead to a health and safety problem, the commission “cannot use opinion to bolster denial” of the project. “My feeling is the law requires us to approve [the project] unless there is hard evidence to deny.”

HOPE Executive Director Lauren Ashe (left) watches the proceedings at the meeting while HOPE board member Tom Ortoleva (right) and HOPE project attorney David Royston (second from right) check their phones.

Attorney for the Zoning Commission Matt Willis drafted two motions for this meeting:  one approving the project, and one denying it.  The motion to approve, which includes 17 conditions that must be met before construction may begin, was read aloud. Brief discussion followed, followed by the vote. The denying motion was not read aloud, Cable said, because the motion to approve passed.

Zoning Commission member Jane Marsh carefully studies a document during the hearing.

During the discussion, commission member Jane Marsh said, “I don’t think it’s the intention of the state legislature that we should rubber stamp” affordable housing projects. If that is the case, she asked, ‘Why are we even sitting here?’” Asked later whether public safety concerns voiced by citizens at numerous public hearings should have had some influence on the commission’s decision, Marsh said, “I believe we have a responsibility to consider the opinions” of the public. 

Old Lyme Zoning Commission Alternate Member Stacey Winchell (right) enjoys a lighter moment during the meeting.  Harvey Gemme sits to her left.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who attended the meeting, said she hopes that the town “can heal” now, after what has been a contentious time for the zoning commission and town leadership. She added that it’s been “hard to watch the process, but I appreciate the focus that the zoning commission has given this application.”

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Old Lyme Zoning Meets Tonight, May Render Decision on HOPE Projects

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission meets this evening at 7:30 p.m. in Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.  Discussion of the controversial Affordable Housing Applications for 18-1 and 18-2 Neck Road (formerly 16 Neck Road) for 23 and 14 dwelling units respectively and to be known respectively as River Oak Commons I and II  is on the agenda for the regular meeting.

It is unclear at the time of writing if the Commission plans to take a vote on whether or not to approve the projects at the meeting this evening. If we hear more on this during the day, we will update this article accordingly.

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Both Votes — Pump Station Lease, Solar Facility– Pass at Packed Old Lyme Town Meeting

More than 300 residents came out last night for a Special Town Meeting in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium and voted to pass proposals from the board of selectmen regarding a pump station lease and proposed solar facility.

The pump station will be sited on a portion of the Town-owned property at 72 Portland Ave. in Old Lyme.  The lease, which was presented by First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, includes access rights to the following:

  • the leased area
  • the Miami Beach Association,
  • the Old Lyme Shores Beach Association
  • the Old Colony Beach Association
  • each of their respective Water Pollution Control Authorities (the “Tenants”)

The lease will be for an initial term of 40 years from its commencement date, for the purpose of the construction, operation, and maintenance of a sanitary sewage pump station, underground piping, and related facilities by the Tenants.

The proposed lease terms and a map showing the proposed lease area are available on the WPCA page of the Town website  at www.oldlyme-ct.gov.

Residents also approved a resolution that the first selectwoman, on terms and conditions deemed by the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen to be commercially reasonable and in the best interests of the Town, and subject to the approval of the Town Attorney as to legality and form, is authorized to negotiate and enter into a Memorandum of Agreement and subsequent lease for an initial term of up to 25 years with a solar energy generation firm.

This firm must be legally qualified to produce and distribute solar energy in the State of Connecticut for the purpose of allowing the tenant to install, own and operate solar photovoltaic generation equipment (“Solar Facilities”) on some or all of the capped portion of the former landfill on the Town-owned property at 109 Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme, together with and for the term of the lease:

(i) an easement over, across and through Town Property outside the leased area as reasonably necessary to allow the tenant, its employees, invitees, agents, contractors and subcontractors to access the leased property and the Solar Facilities by vehicle, foot or otherwise, in such location(s) as shall be reasonably determined by mutual written agreement of the Board of Selectmen and the tenant;

(ii) an easement on Town property outside the leased area, as reasonably necessary for the sole purpose of servicing the solar facilities, to build, maintain, upgrade, install and relocate electrical lines, conduits, and disconnects running to and from the solar facilities and other equipment and communication facilities, including without limitation utility meters and switches, transformers, inverters, disconnects, reclosers, poles and switchboards, all of which shall be reasonably needed to operate the solar facilities, and all of which shall be located where reasonably determined by mutual written agreement of the board of selectmen and the tenant;

(iii) the right, license and privilege to use, as reasonably necessary, up to 15,000 square feet of Town property outside the leased area  as a temporary workspace for the placement and storage of equipment and materials during the construction and the removal of the solar facilities, the specific location of such temporary workspace to be agreed upon by mutual consent of the selectmen and the tenant prior to construction of the solar facilities.

Read a full report of the meeting by Kimberly Drelich and published yesterday on theday.com at this link.

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Old Lyme Selectmen Host Two Public Hearings on Proposed Leases; First Relates to Pump Station, Second to Solar Power

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen are conducting two public hearings Wednesday, Sept. 19, under Connecticut General Statutes section 7-163e. The first will commence at  7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium at 53 Lyme St., and relates to a proposed lease of a portion of the Town-owned property at 72 Portland Ave., in Old Lyme.

The lease includes access rights to the leased area and to the Miami Beach Association, the Old Lyme Shores Beach Association, and the Old Colony Beach Association, and to each of their respective Water Pollution Control Authorities (the “Tenants”), for an initial term of 40 years from its commencement date. The purpose of obtaining the lease is to allow the construction, operation, and maintenance of a sanitary sewage pump station, underground piping, and related facilities by the Tenants.

Members of the public can review related documents at Old Lyme Town Hall in the selectman’s or town clerk’s office, or on the Town website at this link.

The second Public Hearing will start at  7:30 p.m. tomorrow evening at the same location and relates to a proposal to authorize the board of selectmen to negotiate and the first selectman to execute an MOA and subsequent lease of some or all of the capped portion of the of the Town-owned property at 109 Four Mile River Rd. in Old Lyme. This land is to be used for the installation and operation of solar power generating facilities, to include rights to access the leased area via and to install equipment and facilities necessary to the operation of the solar power facilities on, through and under other portions of the property at 109 Four Mile River Rd.

For more on this story, read Kimberly Drelich’s article published Sept. 18 on theday.com at this link.

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Old Lyme Zoning Hears Final Comments on HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal, Decision Now Pending

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission listens to comments from a member of the public at Monday night’s meeting.

More than 250 people filled the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium Monday evening to hear another round of comments from both the applicants and their attorney, and members of the public regarding the proposed 37-unit Affordable Housing development at 18-1 Neck Rd. (formerly 16 Neck Road). The applicants have submitted two separate applications for 23 and 14 dwelling units respectively known as River Oak Commons I and II.

Zoning Commission Chairman Jane Cable  (second from left) consults with a fellow commission member during the hearing.  Photo by Debra Joy.

Public comment was closed around 10:30 p.m. (thus meeting the legal requirement in terms of how long it can be held open) and the meeting ended without the commission taking a vote on either application.

Project Engineer Joe Wren (left) of Indigo Land Design of Old Saybrook makes a point to the attorney for the applicants, David Royston, at the end of the meeting.  Photo by Debra Joy.

The commission now has 65 days from the closing of the public hearing to deliberate and vote.

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After Receiving State Grant, Old Lyme to Undertake Historic Properties Survey

The Town of Old Lyme is planning to conduct a survey of historic properties in the town after receiving a grant of $30,000 from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to support the project.

The Request for Proposals for the project was issued in June of this year and can be viewed at this link.  Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal confirmed yesterday that only one application was received in response to the proposal.

A meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall to introduce and discuss the project, at which a SHPO representative will be present.

The board of selectmen first discussed the possibility of undertaking the survey at a Special Meeting held in November 2016.  The issue had been raised by the Old Lyme Historic District Commission, which had made a motion requesting a study of historic properties in the town.  At that time, the board of selectmen did not move forward on the issue.

Read our article published Nov. 21, 2016 about that Special Meeting at this link.

 

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Meeting Hall Packed to Hear, Question Latest Updates on Old Lyme’s Sewer Situation

Old Lyme WPCA Chairman Richard Prendergast, standing center with microphone in the far distance, gives his presentation last night with residents in the foreground standing in the foyer since all seats were taken in the Meeting Room.

More than 100 people packed Old Lyme Town Hall’s Meeting Room last night with some standing around the perimeter of the room and another 25 standing outside in the foyer to listen to the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority’s (WPCA) Chairman Richard Prendergast give a presentation on where things stood currently with the proposed installation of sewers in Old Lyme.

More to follow on this story later today.

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Community Meeting to Discuss Master Plan for Halls Rd. Improvements Held

Aerial view of Halls Rd. and Old Lyme.

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) and the Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) have announced a Community Meeting to discuss ‘Improvements for Halls Rd.’ on Wednesday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

The BOS and HRIC state in their notice announcing the meeting that, “Feedback at community meetings over the past two years has made it clear that developments along Halls Rd. need to be looked at in an integrated, long-term context. At the recommendation of the Halls Road Improvements Committee, Old Lyme has retained the Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW) to help develop a proposed master plan for the area along Halls Rd.”

The notice continues, “In addition, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC), which is a non-profit government/business joint effort, has offered to help collect economic and market data in support of the planning process,” adding, “The meeting will introduce YUDW and CERC to the public. Group break-out sessions will follow to allow discussion among attendees and presenters. The presenters are attending the meeting both to describe what they can do and also to ask the residents of Old Lyme what they hope to accomplish.”

 

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$1.75M Funding for Old Lyme Library Renovations Passes Easily in Packed Meeting

There was standing room only for some residents attending Monday night’s Special Town Meeting in Old Lyme.

UPDATED 7/24: FULL STORY NOW ADDED — More than 140 people packed into the Meeting Hall at Old Lyme Town Hall Monday evening to cast their votes on whether the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library should receive $1.75 million from the town coffers to fund its planned renovations.

Library Director Katie Huffman explained the library needs in part to be renovated due to the dramatic changes that have occurred in the way people gather information in the past 25 years, when the last renovation took place.  The advent of social media and smartphones, the decreasing cost of technology, and a dramatic increase in publishing and the availability of information have changed people’s information needs.

She said, “More and more people are coming in with their devices … more people are studying remotely.” adding, “people need space for Skype interviews and to take exams.”  She pointed out these changes have resulted in a 70 percent increase in reference questions since the new building opened in 1996, a 90 percent increase in library programs, and a 140 percent increase in attendance at those programs.

Library Building Committee Chairman Ken Biega addresses the audience.

Drayton Fair, a principal architect from LLB Architects in Pawtucket, R.I. opened by saying,”Public libraries are reasserting themselves,” noting, “They should be the best place in town, where everyone is welcome.”  He agreed with Huffman that the increase in programming has been exponential and then went on to describe the proposed changes to the library under the renovation, summing them up as “We kept the best and improved the rest.”

He noted the staff would be moved up to the second floor, there would be “areas for tutoring, private study and Skype,” and a new Young Adult Area, which would be “acoustically separate.”  Fair added the plans also called for “opening up the Children’s Room … consolidating the Reference and Circulation functions at a central desk … and the creation of an outdoor reading terrace.”  He concluded enthusiastically, “I hope you’re all as excited about this as we are.”

Library Building Committee Chairman Ken Biega explained the costs of the project saying the total project cost will be $3.05 million.  This cost will include both construction and soft costs, such as furnishings, technology, and shelving.  It also includes a built-in construction contingency fund.

Significantly, the library has secured a $1.0 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library, thus dramatically reducing the impact of the funding required for the project on Old Lyme taxpayers.  Moreover, the library has committed to raising $300,000 through its own efforts and is requesting $1.75 million from the Town of Old Lyme. Biega raised a ripple of laughter in the audience when he commented, “Everyone has a little bit of skin in this game.”

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder discussed the impact of the project on homeowners in Old Lyme.  She said the owner of a house appraised at $347, 200 would pay conservatively an additional $24 per tax year for the next 15 years.  The respective number for a house appraised at $540,200 would be $38.  Reemsnyder cautioned that the Town was “not definitely borrowing the full amount,” and that, if that were the case, Old Lyme taxpayers would pay less.

Library Board Chairman Lynn Fairfield-Sonn answers questions from the audience..

After a couple of quick questions from the audience answered by Library Board Chairman Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, residents voted first in a hand vote that McGarry called in favor of the Ayes.  One resident, however, wanted to know the exact count and so the vote was repeated with residents holding up cards denoting they had been approved as legitimate Old Lyme taxpayers.  When the hand votes had been counted, McGarry announced to loud applause that the motion had passed by 104 votes to 30.

Harbor Commission Chairman Steve Ross proposes the new ordinance, with First Selectwoman Reemsnyder and Attorney McGarry standing behind him.

The second motion established a new ordinance to amend the Town’s Harbor Management Plan.  Harbor Commission Chairman Steve Ross explained the Town “needed a variance if there is a hardship” and this ordinance will create a procedure for the Harbor Management Commission to recommend variances from the Harbor Use Zone Standards of the Plan to a state or local permitting authority in Old Lyme waters.

After Ross had made a motion to approve the ordinance, McGarry called for a show of hands. There was no call for vote count this time and the motion was carried by a convincing margin.

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Old Lyme Town Meeting Tonight Includes Vote on Town Contribution of $1.75M for OL-PGN Library Upgrades

A vote on the Town of Old Lyme’s contribution of $1.75 million for renovations and upgrades to the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library is planned for July 23, at a Special Town Meeting.

UPDATED, July 23: A Special Town Meeting will be held tonight, Monday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall of the Old Lyme Town Hall at 52 Lyme St. to consider a proposal to appropriate $1.75 million towards the cost of the capital construction project being undertaken at the Library by the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc.  It is anticipated that a vote will be taken on the proposal at the meeting.

Asked why the library needed renovating, OL-PGN Library Director Katie Huffman explains, “The current building was renovated  nearly 25 years ago and many of the mechanical systems are nearing the end of their natural life expectancy. These include several rooftop HVAC units, two boiler pumps, and the lighting fixtures.” She adds, “The carpet, paint, furnishing, and other finishes have likewise not been updated since 1995.”

Huffman also notes that significant changes have occurred in our culture and the way people gather information in the past 25 years.  The advent of social media and smartphones, the decreasing cost of technology, and a dramatic increase in publishing and the availability of information have changed people’s information needs.  She points out that perhaps surprisingly to some, “Rather than decreasing dependence on the Library, these changes have resulted in a 70 percent increase in reference questions since the new building opened in 1996.”

This plan shows the proposed layout of the main floor after the renovation is complete.

She continues, “During this time the Library has already added services, including one-on-one technology assistance, new e-collections, and more programs (a 90 percent increase), which in turn, are attended by even more people (a 140 percent increase).

Finally, Huffman says, “Input from survey and focus groups during long-term planning begun in 2013 identified opportunities to meet patrons’ needs and expectations better.” This means that many of the goals set by the library in response to those needs and expectations require changes to the library’s space.

The total project cost will be $3.05 million.  This cost will include both construction and soft costs, such as furnishings, technology, and shelving.  It also includes a built-in construction contingency fund.  Significantly, the library has secured a $1.0 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library, thus dramatically reducing the impact of the funding required for the project on Old Lyme taxpayers.  Moreover, the library has committed to raising $300,000 through its own efforts.

The library is requesting $1.75 million from the Town of Old Lyme.  If this request is passed at Monday’s Town Meeting, the impact on the owner of a house appraised at $347, 200 is estimated conservatively at $24 for the 2019-20 tax year.  The respective number for a house appraised at $540,200 is $38.

The site plan of the proposed renovation which shows no change to the current footprint of the library.

It is anticipated that if the request for funding passes this evening, construction will start in early 2019 and be completed by the fall of the same year.

For more information on the library renovation proposal including the opportunity to view the library’s slide show presentation, visit this link.

The second item on the agenda for the Special Town Meeting is a proposed ordinance to amend the Town’s Harbor Management Plan.  This ordinance will create a procedure for the Harbor Management Commission to recommend variances from the Harbor Use Zone Standards of the Plan to a state or local permitting authority acting on an application to conduct activities affecting the waters of Old Lyme.

A copy of the proposed ordinance is posted on the Town’s website and paper copies are available for review in the office of the Town Clerk.  

If approved by the Town Meeting, this ordinance will be effective 15 days after its publication in a newspaper having a circulation in the Town of Old Lyme.

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Old Lyme Residents Approve Town Budget, Tax Rate Set to Increase to 21.91 Mills from Current 21.75

Old Lyme residents unanimously approved both the Town’s proposed $36,301,175 budget, and also an amended and restated retirement plan for the Old Lyme Fire Department, Inc. and Old Lyme South End Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc. at the annual town meeting held last night in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium.

Visit this link for a full report of the meeting written by Kimberly Drelich of The Day and published yesterday evening on theday.com

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Lyme Holds Annual Budget Meeting Tonight

9:28am Update: Meeting Date Corrected — The Town of Lyme will hold its Annual Budget Meeting tomorrow evening, Thursday, May 17, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Lyme Town Hall at 480 Hamburg Rd.  The agenda includes the following items:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of the Town of Lyme Annual report for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2017.
  2. Acceptance of the Emerson Cemetery property from the Jewett family to the Town of Lyme.
  3. Consider and approve the Town joining an approved Connecticut Health Department or approved Connecticut Health District.
  4. Consider and repeal of the 1968 ordinance relating to Public Health in the Town of Lyme.
  5. Consider and act on estimates and recommendations of the Board of Finance for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2019.

There are expected to be several votes during the meeting.  All residents and citizens qualified to vote in a Town Meeting must be present if they wish to vote.

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Completion of Sound View Streetscape Celebrated with Cake, Pizza, Ribbon-Cutting … and Smiles!

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Sound View Commission Chairman Frank Pappalardo stand with their ribbon-cutting scissors and symbolic beach construction toys during the celebrations.  Photo by MJ Nosal.

Around 30 people were present yesterday on Hartford Ave. in the Sound View section of Old Lyme to celebrate the completion of the streetscape improvements on Hartford Avenue at Sound View.  The project, for which expenses were refunded up to 80 percent by a federal transportation grant, included new sidewalks, ADA accessible ramps, drainage, a bike lane, bump-outs, decorative posts and paving.

All the members of the Sound View Improvement Committee (SVIC), except Arthur ‘Skip’ Sibley who had a prior engagement, were present.  Chairman Mary Jo Nosal presented each of them — Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Sound View Commission Chairman and SVIC member FFrank Pappalardo, Angelo Faenza, Jim Lampos, John McDonald and Rob Haramut of RiverCOG — with symbolic beach construction toys.

Old Lyme Selectwoman and Sound View Improvement Committee Chairman Mary Jo Nosal cuts the cake celebrating the completion of the Sound View streetscape.

Other distinguished guests were representatives from the state Department of Transport and the Inspector Engineer from the construction company WMC.

Dee and Jerry Vowles, who are the owners of The Carousel Shop, and Lenny Corto who manages Lenny’s on the Beach, joined a number of other Hartford Ave. residents at the celebrations.

Due to the ongoing threat of rain, after the ceremonial ribbon cutting outside on Hartford Ave., the celebratory speeches and consumption of pizza from Teddy’s and cake had to be relocated to the Shoreline Community Center.  In her speech, Reemsnyder commended Nosal and her committee for their enormous efforts to see the long-awaited project through to completion.

 

 

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