May 20, 2019

Old Lyme Holds Annual Budget Meeting, Tomorrow; 2018 Citizen of the Year to be Announced at Meeting

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen will host the Annual Budget Meeting on Monday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium at 53 Lyme Street in Old Lyme.  Agenda items include the long-awaited announcement of Citizen of the Year of 2018.

Other agenda items, which may be voted on at the meeting, include:

  1. The adoption of the Budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, as recommended by the Board of Finance.
  2. A proposal that taxes in the Town of Old Lyme on Real Property and Personal Property shall be paid in two (2) equal semi-annual installments, the first payment being due on July 1, 2019 and the second payment being due on January 1, 2020, provided that any such tax of less than $100 for the year shall be due in full in one payment on July 1, 2019, and provided that taxes in any amount  owed for vehicles on the Supplemental List shall be made in one payment due on January 1, 2020.
    1.  A proposal to purchase, using open space acquisition funds, lands that are owned by Jean A. McCulloch Farm, LLC, consisting of 300 acres, more or less, situated near Whipporwill Road and Flat Rock Hill Road, in accord with the terms of a Contract of Sale dated on or about April 1, 2019, for the consideration of $600,000 (a copy of the Contract, which includes a map, is available at the Town Clerks’ office); and
    2. To promote the public use and enjoyment of the open space lands, to authorize the First Selectman and the Town Attorney to negotiate and consummate a modification to the easement covering the said lands, in order to permit the Town the legal right to construct and maintain vehicle parking areas on the said lands; and
    3. In furtherance of the foregoing, to authorize the First Selectman to execute and sign, on behalf of the Town, such contracts, deeds and other instruments as are reasonably necessary to carry out the said purchase and easement modification.
  3. An appropriation of $73,000 to the Health Insurance Account for health insurance costs associated with new memberships and changes in status.
  4. An appropriation of $16,000 to the PW Project Contractors Account for emergency repairs to Grassy Hill Road Bridge.
  5. An appropriation of $26,000 to the CRRA/MIRA Account for increase in CRRA/MIRA tipping fees.
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Want to March in Old Lyme’s Memorial Day Parade? Here’s How …

Old Lyme’s Annual Memorial Day observance is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27.

The Memorial Day observance is sponsored by the Town of Old Lyme, the Old Lyme Fire Department, American Legion Post # 41 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1467.

If readers would like to participate, contact the Old Lyme First Selectwoman’s office at Town Hall or email olfd387@comcast.net.

The grand parade will start promptly at the Lyme Street Fire Station and proceed via Lyme Street and McCurdy Road to the Duck River Cemetery for a memorial service.

Following the program, the parade will re-form and return to the fire station where refreshments will be available to all parade participants.

The winners of an essay contest on “What Memorial Day Means To Me” will read their essays as part of the cemetery program.

Parade participants are asked to report to the fire station not later than 10:30 a.m. for assignment to positions in the line of march, which will form on the access road behind the fire station.

In the event of rain, the parade will be canceled and an appropriate ceremony will be conducted at the Middle School Auditorium at 11 a.m. followed by refreshments at the Lyme Street Fire Station.

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State Police Host Open House on Becoming a State Trooper in Sound View This Morning

The State Police will host an Open House for anyone interested in applying to the next testing phase to become a Connecticut State Trooper on Friday, May 3, at the Shoreline Community Center in Old Lyme from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

All questions regarding the State Police Academy and general life as a State Trooper will be answered by Old Lyme Resident State Trooper Greg Hunter.

The public is also welcome to discuss any current issues, questions or concerns about local law enforcement matters as well as any about the upcoming summer beach season.

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Legal Notice from the Town of Old Lyme

At a Special Town Meeting of the Town of Old Lyme on April 16, 2019, amendments to Chapter 139 of the Old Lyme Code of Ordinances (Solid Waste Ordinance) were adopted, which shall become effective fifteen (15) days after the date of publication.  The amended Solid Waste Ordinance is available (here) or on the Town website under Trash & Recycling at www.oldlyme-ct.gov and in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall during normal business hours.

Vicki Urbowicz
Old Lyme Town Clerk

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Old Lyme Plans to Purchase 300 Acres of McCulloch Farm for Open Space, Two Smaller Parcels Earmarked for Affordable Housing; Total Cost $600K

The Town of Old Lyme Open Space Commission has announced an agreement to purchase approximately 300 acres of the McCulloch Farm for open space, and two smaller areas of three acres each within the 300 acres, subject to approval, for $600,000.

Immediately following the unanimous approval of authorization to sign at a special meeting of the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen on April 1, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder signed the contract on behalf of the town.

The McCulloch Farm, established in 1929, is considered one of Old Lyme’s signature properties and, as such, has been a key priority for open space acquisition.

The linkage of the McCulloch property to the town’s Ames Open Space, and to the adjacent Lay Preserve owned by the Old Lyme Land Trust, would create a large naturally significant greenway and forest, and it would greatly further a long-held goal of establishing a cross-town trail system for hiking, jogging, bicycling, bird watching and nature studies. In essence, the purchase would form an Old Lyme “Preserve” akin to that found in Old Saybrook.

The property holds particular ecological importance as part of the upper watershed of the Black Hall River, a tributary of the Connecticut River, which is part of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. A conservation easement on the property is held by The Nature Conservancy, Inc. While this easement does protect the land from development, it does not allow for public access to, and enjoyment of, the McCulloch Farm’s forest, fields and waterways.

Upon closing of the sale, the Open Space Commission hopes to quickly provide public access, and will aim towards creating an initial trail by this spring’s National Trails Day. The Old Lyme Land Trust has generously committed to overseeing trail-blazing. Eventually, the commission envisions three public trails and will explore other potential public uses, consistent with preserving the property’s natural state.

The complicated purchase has two components. The Open Space Commission would pay $500,000 for roughly 300 acres of McCulloch farm land.

The existing conservation easement allows for the possible development of two three-acre areas not pegged to any particular location within the McCulloch property. The town will pay $50,000 each for these areas, which have been appraised at $98,000 apiece. These areas would be fixed off Flat Rock Hill Rd., adjacent to affordable housing lots previously given to the town by David McCulloch.

The Open Space Commission and McCulloch family hope the two areas will be similarly developed for future affordable housing, after which the acquisition fund would be reimbursed for their sale price.

The purchase price of the McCulloch Farm property will be paid entirely from the town’s existing Open Space acquisition fund.

No budget appropriation, debt or other expense to taxpayers will be needed.

The commission will now seek the necessary final approvals. The Nature Conservancy, Inc. must approve the sale, although the town’s acquisition aligns with that organization’s goal of open space protection. The Open Space Commission will also present the purchase to the Planning Commission, with an ultimate goal of bringing the proposal to a Town Meeting in May.

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Old Lyme Board of Selectmen to Announce 2018 Citizen of the Year Tonight at Special Town Meeting

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen will hold a Special Town Meeting Tuesday, April 16, to announce the 2018 Citizen of the Year.  The announcement, which is normally made at the end of January, had to be postponed from the previously scheduled date this year.

The meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall at 52 Lyme St.

Also on the agenda will be two additional items as follows:

  • To consider and act on a proposal for the Town of Old Lyme to add 200 s.f. of Town-owned land to the area it is currently leasing out at the Boughton Road Fire Station at 189 Boston Post Rd., in Old Lyme to allow for an additional antenna to be installed on the cell tower now on the site and to make room for supporting equipment to be kept/ installed there.
  • To consider and act on proposed amendments to the Town’s Solid Waste Ordinance.

Copies of the proposed lease amendment and of a plan showing the current and proposed additional leased area and copies of the proposed amendments to the Solid Waste Ordinance are available on the Town website at www.oldlyme-ct.gov, and in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall during normal business hours.

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Old Lyme BOF to Hold Public Hearing on Next Year’s Town Budget Tonight

The Old Lyme Board of Finance will conduct a Public Hearing on the Proposed Town Budget for Financial Year 2019/2020 this evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall of Memorial Town Hall.

The proposed budget can be viewed at this link.  It includes a request from Region 18 (Lyme-Old Lyme Schools) for $27,556,679 although this amount has not yet been approved by the voters of Lyme and Old Lyme.

A referendum on the Region 18 budget of $35,084,758 will be held on Tuesday, May, 7, with a simple majority required across the votes from both towns to pass it. After the Region 18 budget has been passed, the share to be paid by Old Lyme (which relates to the respective percentage of students in Region 18 from each town) will then be added to the Town of Old Lyme’s budget and that combined budget will be voted on at an Old Lyme Special Town Meeting later in May.

 

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Lyme Public Hall, Town of Lyme Celebrate Earth Day with Town-wide Clean Up Through April 22

The Lyme Public Hall Association and the Town of Lyme are currently sponsoring a town-wide roadside clean-up through April 22 in celebration of Earth Day.  Plastic trash bags are available free to the public at the Hadlyme Country Store at the corner of Ferry Rd. and Rte. 82.  Bags can also be obtained at the Reynolds Store at 254 Hamburg Road (Route 156) in Lyme, the Lyme Public Library, and the Lyme Town Hall.

Residents are invited to collect litter that has accumulated along the roads over the winter months. This year there are also be blue bags available for  recyclable bottles and cans. The Town of Lyme will pick up bags left along the roadside.

For more information, visit lymepublichall.org or email wdenow@comcast.com.

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Old Lyme BOS to Hold Public Hearing on Transfer of Town-Owned Land for Antenna Placement on Boughton Rd. Cell Tower

Information session on amendments under consideration for Solid Waste Ordinance will immediately follow hearing

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen has scheduled a public hearing to be held Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m., in the Meeting Hall of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall at 52 Lyme St., to receive questions and comments from the public on a proposal for the Town to add 200 s.f. of Town-owned land to the area it is currently leasing out at the Boughton Road Fire Station at 189 Boston Post Road, Old Lyme, CT., to allow for an additional antenna to be installed on the cell tower now on the site and to make room for supporting equipment to be kept/ installed there.

This public hearing is required by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 7-163e.

Residents will be able to vote on the proposal at the Special Town Meeting planned for Tuesday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.

In addition, when the public hearing on the lease proposal ends, the board of selectmen will immediately conduct an information session at which they will discuss and accept comments and questions on amendments being considered for the Solid Waste Ordinance. This will be an informational session only and not a public hearing and is not intended to replace the town meeting that must be held on any proposed ordinance amendments.

Copies of the proposed lease amendment and of a plan showing the current and proposed additional leased area, and copies of the proposed amendments to the Solid Waste Ordinance are available on the Town website at www.oldlyme-ct.gov, under Current Projects,  and in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall during normal business hours.

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Old Lyme BOS Schedules Special Meeting to Announce Citizen of the Year; Region 18 BOE Sets Date for Budget Referendum

UPDATED: The date of the referendum was incorrect in our original article.  We apologize for the error.

At their meeting on April 1, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen settled on Tuesday, April 16, to hold a Special Town Meeting to announce the 2018 Citizen of the Year.  The announcement, which is normally made at the end of January, had to be postponed this year.

Also on the agenda will be two additional items as follows:

  • To consider and act on a proposal for the Town of Old Lyme to add 200 s.f. of Town-owned land to the area it is currently leasing out at the Boughton Road Fire Station at 189 Boston Post Road, Old Lyme, CT., to allow for an additional antenna to be installed on the cell tower now on the site and to make room for supporting equipment to be kept/ installed there.
  • To consider and act on proposed amendments to the Town’s Solid Waste Ordinance.

Copies of the proposed lease amendment and of a plan showing the current and proposed additional leased area and copies of the proposed amendments to the Solid Waste Ordinance are available on the Town website at www.oldlyme-ct.gov, and in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall during normal business hours.

Also on April 1, at the Public Hearing on Region #18’s 2019-20 proposed budget, the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education set the date for the referendum on the budget as Tuesday, May, 7, with the District Budget Meeting the evening before on Monday, May 6, in the Center School Board of Education Conference Room at 6:30 p.m.

All residents of Lyme and Old Lyme, who are age 18 or over and US citizens, are eligible to vote in the referendum.  Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.at Lyme Town Hall for Lyme residents and Cross Lane Firehouse for Old Lyme residents.

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Starting July 1, Trash AND Recycling to be Picked Up Weekly in Old Lyme

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder announced today that a contract has been signed with CWPM Waste Removal and Recycling Services to provide collection services for trash and recycling in the Town beginning July 1, 2019.

In a press release, she offers special thanks to Old Lyme Selectman Chris Kerr, Old Lyme Board of Finance Member David Kelsey and current trash/recycling service provider, Gary Yuknat of Old Lyme Sanitation, for their hard work in developing an Request for Proposal (RFP), reviewing the bids received, and their input on the contract that was signed.

Reemsnyder states, “The big news is that all residents will now have weekly pickup of both trash and recycling, beginning July 1,” adding, “It is important to note that in the past, beach areas had trash pickup twice weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but that will no longer be the case.”

She confirms unequivocally, “Trash pickup for the entire town will be once weekly throughout the year.”

She notes in the release, “Residents should also be aware that the State of Connecticut is pushing hard for compliance on recycling, and the Town has received several notices from its recycling vendor, Willimantic Waste, pointing out that there are contaminants in the recycling waste they receive from Old Lyme. This translates into increased cost to the town, resulting in increased taxes.”

The graphic at this link reminds residents”What’s In and What’s Out” in terms of recycling — please take note!

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Sen. Needleman Meets With Lyme Selectmen, Issues Statement on School Regionalization

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

State Senator Norman Needleman (D-33rd), whose district includes Lyme, issued the following statement Monday on school regionalization proposals.

“On Monday afternoon, Sen. Needleman met with the Lyme Board of Selectmen and had an extended conversation with them about his work so far in the legislature, the policies he will and won’t support this legislative session, and how he can best work with the town.

The discussion featured school regionalization as a lead topic. Sen. Needleman has proposed Senate Bill No. 572, “An Act Encouraging Regional Cooperation Between School Districts,” which would allow multiple boards of education acting in concert to define their own school districts and have that collaboration recognized by the state as a Local Education Agency, or LEA. 

“Collaboration on school services can provide schools with increased efficiency and save both the schools and taxpayers money,” said Sen. Needleman, “Unfortunately, current law makes such collaborations complicated and discourages districts from actually engaging with one another.”

Needleman points to his hometown of Essex and its collaboration with Chester and Deep River for grades K-12. The towns are required to operate five boards of education with thirty-three board members in order to share costs and comply with current state statutes.

“There is a good argument to be made that one of the reasons why school districts aren’t doing more together is because of this level of complexity,” Needleman said. “We should be encouraging creative solutions that let our educators to do what they do best. No two school districts are the same; we should allow them to innovate and determine what works best for students.”

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Work by Lymes’ Senior Center Artists on Display at Old Lyme Town Hall Through April

This watercolor by Keiko Kaiser depicting a beautiful flower garden is one of the featured pieces of artwork currently on display in Old Lyme Town Hall.

The Shoreline Artists’ Workshop and the Lymes’ Senior Center’s art classes, under the instruction of Sharon Schmiedel, will combine their artistic talents to present an exhibition at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall during the months of March and April. Exquisite pieces of work will reflect a variety of visual media and styles.

All pieces will be for sale, with a portion of any proceeds donated to the Senior Center.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, March 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the town hall.

Come celebrate the Senior Center artists for their dedication to support the visual arts and the Senior Center community.

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Halls Rd. Improvement Committee Offers ‘Frequently Asked Questions’

We received the following Frequently Asked Questions from BJ Bernblum, the Halls Rd. Improvements Committee Chairman. He asked that we publish them since, in his words, “At the Old Lyme public meeting held on Dec. 6, 2018, and in emailed comments received by the Halls Road Improvements Committee afterwards, a number of questions were raised that need to be answered.”

Bernblum states that this document of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the committee, dated Jan. 28, and published below, “… attempts to do this.”

A view of Halls Rd. today looking north. Photo courtesy of the Yale Urban Design Workshop.

We thank the Halls Rd. Improvement Committee for sending us these FAQ’s and, as always, we look forward to hearing reader’s thoughts on them.

Question 1:  Why should the town get into the development business?  Isn’t that better left to private developers?

Answer:  It shouldn’t and yes.  We are not suggesting that the town take charge of development on Halls Road but, rather, that we take steps to encourage private parties to develop the neighborhood in a manner and direction that will comply with current requirements (safety, complete streets, ADA accessibility, etc.) and best serve the needs of the community.  These steps would include adopting a “master plan” and guidelines for future development, investing limited funds in infrastructure and public spaces, and making appropriate changes to the town’s zoning code and Plan of Conservation and Development, all intended to allow for and encourage private developers to invest in upgrading existing structures and undertaking new construction. 

Question 2:  Halls Road is fine the way it is—why is the town considering changes? 

Answer:   Halls Road, our central commercial center, has developed haphazardly over many years.  It is inhospitable to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, portions of it are esthetically unattractive or looking tired, and residents currently have to leave town to seek products or services they cannot obtain locally. 

If nothing is done, we are concerned that the business environment will deteriorate, businesses will close, and even fewer goods and services will be available.  With thoughtful planning and inducements, we should be able to:

i.  improve the business environment, thereby assisting existing businesses, attracting new ones, and growing and diversifying the tax base;

ii.  create a physically-attractive neighborhood, safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists;

iii. stimulate the development of housing that is inviting to down-sizing residents and to young folks wanting to move to town; and

iv. provide public spaces for civic events and recreation.

The ultimate objective is to create a vibrant town center that has more to offer the citizens of Old Lyme and is one we can be proud of. 

Question 3:  What is the new plan for Halls Road?

Answer:  The plan does not yet exist; it is still developing and is flexible. The goal is to reach majority agreement on what the Halls Road neighborhood might ideally look like.  Initially, we held a public meeting to obtain feedback regarding those elements residents would like to see included.  The meeting produced many ideas, including the ability to park once and walk the entire road, creation of green space with a community gathering area, development of mixed-use facilities (or a mix of uses), and esthetic enhancements.  

We recently held a second public meeting to gain further input, and will hold more meetings in the future.  The Yale Urban Design Workshop is assisting us in developing a master plan, but we need substantial input from town residents and stakeholders in order to come up with sound ideas that enjoy widespread support.

Question 4:  What is the process for developing a master plan?

Answer:  Once we have enough public input to begin to see the outlines of a plan, we will present these ideas to local and state governmental authorities for input and necessary approvals.  At the town level, the plan will likely need buy-in from the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, the Zoning Commission and the Planning Commission, as well as amendments to the zoning regulations and the Plan of Conservation and Development. 

At the state level, we will need approval from the Department of Transportation, which owns Halls Road.  A master plan can be finalized only when it enjoys broad public support and satisfies governmental requirements.

Question 5:  What is the anticipated time-frame for implementing the plan?

Answer:  The Committee intends to develop a master plan and set of guidelines for the future development of Halls Road.  The plan would consist of several phases to be pursued in an orderly sequence over time, so that work done in one phase supports, or at least does not interfere with, improvements to be made in a subsequent phase.  Each phase will also be expected to “stand on its own,” in the sense that its completion will add value to the town even if subsequent phases are not pursued. 

For example, an initial phase might consist of improving access, such as by adding sidewalks, a bike path, improved signage, and a pedestrian bridge over the Lieutenant River.  The timing and exact nature of subsequent phases, and the changes that will be implemented, will of course depend on future events, including available funding and the decisions made by private developers and property-owners. 

Hence the timing is unpredictable, but this is surely a multi-year process over which the master plan will evolve, perhaps substantially but consistent with the guidelines, to address changes over time in the town’s commercial and residential needs.

Question 6:  Will the plan result in unfettered growth and additional traffic?

Answer:  We view this project as a rehabilitation of the Halls Road neighborhood, and any potential growth must be managed to fit the needs and the character of the town.  For example, we would encourage architectural design in keeping with the small New England town flavor of Old Lyme. 

There is no intent or appetite to change our “town business center” into a dense retail environment but, instead, to attract a limited number of businesses that our neighbors would like to enjoy locally (e.g., a restaurant, coffee shop, bakery, jewelry store), and enhance the patronage for existing businesses.  These changes would increase auto traffic somewhat. 

However, we intend to limit congestion through a design that encourages folks to park once and then walk the neighborhood, rather than drive from place to place.

Question 7:  How can this plan survive the overflow traffic from tie-ups on I-95?

Answer:  These tie-ups will not be materially exacerbated by a normal increase in Halls Road traffic, and they occur infrequently enough so that they should not discourage business development along the road, which is currently a pass-through. 

The plan might call for locating parking behind the main shopping and business buildings and creating tertiary access roads and walkways, which would mitigate the Halls Road bottleneck.  For example, we might explore the construction of a local access road south of the current Old Lyme Marketplace buildings (the Big Y plaza).  

Question 8:  Will private property owners be required to make changes or invest money?

Answer:  No one will be required to do anything.  Other than the state right-of-way along Halls Road, the real estate in question is privately owned and changes must be voluntary.

The expectation is that property owners will see the advantages of making changes to their property in order to increase profitability.  Alternatively, they may discover that they can sell their property at an attractive price to a motivated developer who is ready to invest in a significant project consistent with the town’s guidelines. 

Question 9  How will the plan be financed and how much will it raise property taxes?

Answer:  The objective is to have this project be tax neutral or result in a tax rate decrease because of an increase in the tax base.  The public infrastructure would hopefully be financed, at least in part, through state and federal grants, and from new tax revenue generated by the new construction, although this might initially require town bonding.  The private development will be financed by developers and property owners, who may also help pay for common amenities such as wastewater management, sidewalks and landscaping. 

The town might consider creating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District like the one just approved in Old Saybrook, under which new tax revenue generated by new construction may be allocated, in whole or in part, to improvements in the district and to financial inducements to developers.  In all events, any material town expenditures will have to be approved at a town meeting.

Question 10:  What happens if I-95 is widened in the future or the exit or entrance ramps are reconfigured?

Answer:  That question is impossible to answer, not knowing what properties the government might want to seize by eminent domain.  However, given the current economic condition of the state and the absence of any such plans, we do not think it prudent to forego changes benefitting the town because of a remote, future risk.

Question 11:  What do you mean by residential housing on Halls Road and why is it needed?

Answer:  We would seek to enable the construction of reasonably-priced rental properties and condominiums.  Many concerns have been expressed about young people who want to move to town (perhaps after college) or out of their parents’ homes, and older folks who are retiring or downsizing and would like to remain in Old Lyme, but cannot do so because of the lack of appropriate housing. 

The Halls Road neighborhood, as envisioned with expanded resources, offers an ideal location for this housing, since both groups prefer to live in areas where they can walk to stores, restaurants, banks, recreational facilities and other amenities.  Furthermore, the retailers in the neighborhood would surely benefit from the presence of these residents.

Question 12:  How do you intend to address increased wastewater?

Answer:  A good question that must be addressed, but there are solutions other than municipal sewers.  For example, it might be feasible to construct a community treatment facility that would process the wastewater to a condition where it can safely be discharged.  

Question 13:  How can the town validate what types of improvements would be the most successful for the town, its businesses and the tax base?

Answer:  One way would be to retain a professional consultant such as CERC (the Connecticut Economic Resource Center) to perform an economic review of Old Lyme and the region, and recommend what improvements would likely be most viable.  Such a study would give our residents and businesses guidance on the development possibilities and the impact on taxes.  It would also serve as an attraction to serious investors, both for its content and as an indication of the town’s seriousness about supporting the project.

Question 14:  How can I have input to the plan or keep updated on the progress?

Answer:  There are several ways for you to stay informed and be heard, and we hope you will utilize them.  We will hold more public meetings and focus groups, and intend to develop a page on the town’s website where we can provide updates and receive input.  You can also send an email to the Halls Road Improvements Committee at hallsroadcommittee@oldlyme-ct.gov, or ask to speak personally with any of us.

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Old Lyme Annual Meeting to be Held Tonight; Announcement of 2018 Citizen of the Year Now Postponed

9:18am, 1/28 UPDATE: We have just been informed that the announcement of the 2018 Citizen of the Year has now been postponed due to a “schedule conflict.”

Old Lyme’s Annual Town Business Meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium, 53 Lyme St.

The agenda is as follows:

  • To accept the Annual Town Report for the fiscal year July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, as submitted by the Board of Finance.
  • To announce the recipient of the Board of Selectmen’s Citizen of the Year for 2018. NOW POSTPONED
  • A request by the Board of Selectmen to appropriate $46,000.00 for Technology Upgrades.
  • To consider and vote on a resolution (a) to authorize the Town to issue and sell its notes and bonds pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, or any other provision of law thereto enabling, in an amount not to exceed $1,250,000 to finance an appropriation for the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library renovation project being undertaken by the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association; and (b) to authorize such other actions relating to the foregoing as may be necessary or appropriate. The full text of the foregoing resolution is on file and open to inspection at the office of the Town Clerk, Town Hall, 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Connecticut and on the Town website (www.oldlyme-ct.gov)
  • Election to fill a vacancy in the panel of regular members of the Board of Assessment Appeals.
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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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