July 21, 2019

A Clarification on the Sewer Payment Issue

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

We have received numerous inquiries this morning regarding who is responsible for paying what in regard to the sewers.

To clarify the situation in advance of tonight’s meeting, we followed up with First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who said categorically, “The Town [of Old Lyme] has to borrow the money, but the repayment will be based on revenues from the project … [which will be] paid by the users.”  She noted, however, that “There is always the chance that someone is going to challenge the amount charged to them.”

Asked whether the mill rate for the residents of Old Lyme would be increased to fund the loan, Reemsnyder responded, “The bonding should not impact the mill rate.”

She added that a vote is planned tomorrow morning at an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Special Meeting to set the date of Aug. 5 for a Special Town Meeting at which the referendum will be officially called for Aug. 13.

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Weekly Recycling Starts in Old Lyme, July 1

There is no curbside collection on the following holidays:

  • Christmas Day (Dec. 25)
  • New Year’s (Jan. 1)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • July 4th
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)

For these six holidays, curbside collection advances to the following day.

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Opinion: If You Do One Thing Today, Visit Old Lyme Town Hall to Give Your Thoughts on the Halls Rd. Project

This file photo shows Halls Road today. How do YOU want it to look in five or 10 years? Go and give your thoughts today!

Today the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) and the Halls Road Improvement Committee (HRIC) are hosting an Open House at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  They really do want to hear from the residents of Old Lyme what their current thinking and opinions are regarding the future of Halls Rd.  Or maybe you just want to ask questions about how we have reached the point where we are now and find out the tentative ideas the committee has already discussed.  Or perhaps you want to vent about the project because you don’t think it’s necessary at all.

We would urge two things:  first, take a minute to read Mark Terwilliger’s insightful op-ed on why, in his opinion, things have to change at Halls Rd.  He explains in simple terms why (again, in his opinion) sticking with the status quo is not an option, making the point clearly and succinctly that the world has changed since the 1950s when the Halls Rd. strip-mall was built.  He argues — and we agree — that if we fail to plan for the future in light of these changes, then change will happen anyway, but in an uncontrolled fashion and not necessarily in the best interests of the town’s residents.

The second thing we would ask is simply that you go to the Open House — whatever your opinions are about the project.  If you don’t go and share your thoughts, how can you then complain when a proposal is finally made?  It’s like that old adage, “You can’t win it, if you’re not in it” — the HRIC has deliberately made this Open House a non-threatening, informal environment so that people are comfortable speaking their minds to committee members.

We’ve heard plenty of comments both on and off the record about the HRIC and the BOS supposedly acting in isolation on the project and taking unilateral decisions.  This Open House is designed to put those rumors to rest and represents a great opportunity to give your input to the future of our town.

Don’t miss it … carpe diem!

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Open House at Old Lyme Town Hall Today Offers Opportunity for Public Input on Halls Rd. Future

A schematic design of Halls Road in 2019. How do you want it to look in 2030?

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen and the Halls Road Improvement Committee (HRIC) are hosting an Open House this coming Saturday, June 15, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall. The theme of the event is “The Past, Present and Future of the Halls Road Neighborhood.” and its objective is to gather input from the public on a possible future commercial/town center for Old Lyme.

An overview of the evolution of Old Lyme’s town center will be presented in a series of posters along with ideas on how the Halls Road neighborhood might be developed.  The flyer publicizing the event states, “Public discussions to date have addressed such issues as safe pedestrian and bicycle access, business retention and growth, demand for down-sized housing, public gathering spaces, improved esthetics and signage.”

The public is invited to drop by the town hall any time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., review the displays, and discuss ideas with the board of selectmen and HRIC members, who will be on hand. All feedback — regardless of whether it is positive or negative — is welcome.

To quote again from the publicity flyer, both the board of selectmen and the HRIC members believe, “Community involvement is key to the future success of Old Lyme.”

This is an opportunity to find out more about the project, ask questions, and give your opinions in an informal setting.

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Bob Doyen Named Old Lyme’s 2018 ‘Citizen of the Year’

Old Lyme’s 2018 Citizen of the Year Robert ‘Bob’ Doyen stands proudly between his wife Barbara ‘Bobbi’ Doyen and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. Photos by MJ Nosal.

After several previous tries, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen was finally able to name their choice for the 2018 Citizen of the Year at Monday evening’s Annual Town Meeting. First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder made the announcement by reading from a proclamation drawn up in honor of Robert ‘Bob’ Doyen that began with this question, “What does our 2018 Citizen of the Year have in common with Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Susan Saint James, and Walt Disney’s Black Beauty?”

The unpredicted answer was, “These celebrities came to Old Lyme for the Special Olympics in 1994 – the same year that Bob Doyen was first appointed to the Harbor Management Commission.”

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder reads the proclamation announcing Robert ‘Bob’ Doyen, standing to her left, as Old Lyme’s 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Doyen has been a member of Old Lyme’s Harbor Management Commission for 25 years, serving as both its Treasurer and Vice Chair. As the proclamation read by Reemsnyder notes, “His appointment to Harbor Management was a perfect fit. As Bob explains on his realtor website, “having grown up on Fishers Island, the move to areas along the Connecticut shoreline and the Connecticut River was a natural one. The River and Sound have a tremendous amount to offer, be it fishing, boating or beaches. You couldn’t ask for a better place to live.””

The other organization to which Doyen has given exemplary service is the Old Lyme Volunteer Fire Department, which he joined in 1988 and where he has held the offices of Lieutenant and Purchasing Agent for the department. The proclamation states, “An active Apparatus driver, Marine operator and Pump operator, he assists in training new Apparatus drivers and Marine operators.”

Bob Doyen, the 2018 Old Lyme Citizen of the Year, stand with some of his fellow Old Lyme Fire Department members after the honor was announced.

Still reading from the proclamation, Reemsnyder continued, “Doyen’s 30+ years of service have earned him a reputation in the Fire Department for his willingness to pitch in whenever he is needed. He has been a member of the Old Lyme Volunteer Fire Department’s Apparatus Committee throughout his tenure with the department. That committee is responsible for developing the specifications for new apparatus for the department.”

Reemanyder concluded, “We thank Bob Doyen for his lengthy service to our community as we proudly name him an Old Lyme celebrity —  our 2018 Citizen of the Year.”

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All Proposals Pass at Old Lyme’s Annual Budget Meeting

Around 50 people turned out for last night’s Old Lyme Annual Budget Meeting and subsequently approved all the items on the agenda that went to a vote.

These included the adoption of the Town Budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, and the setting of the mill rate at 22.41.

A proposal to purchase, using open space acquisition funds, lands owned by Jean A. McCulloch Farm, LLC, consisting of approximately 300 acres situated near Whipporwill Rd. and Flat Rock Hill Rd., in accordance with the terms of an already specified Contract of Sale for $600,000 (a copy of the Contract, which includes a map, is available at the Town Clerks’ office) was approved.

Associated with this, authorization was also given for the First Selectwoman and/or the Town Attorney

  • to negotiate and consummate a modification to the easement covering these lands, in order to permit the Town the legal right to construct and maintain vehicle parking areas on the said lands and promote the public use and enjoyment of the open space lands.
  • to execute and sign, on behalf of the Town, such contracts, deeds and other instruments as are reasonably necessary to carry out this purchase and easement modification.

Three appropriations were also passed as follows:

  • $73,000 to the Health Insurance Account for health insurance costs associated with new memberships and changes in status.
  • $16,000 to the PW Project Contractors Account for emergency repairs to Grassy Hill Road Bridge.
  • $26,000 to the CRRA/MIRA Account for increase in CRRA/MIRA tipping fees.

For more details on the meeting, read this article titled, Old Lyme voters pass budget, 300-acre open space purchase by Mary Biekert and published on theday.com

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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 at this link 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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