August 2, 2021

Old Lyme’s Inland Wetlands Commission Continues Public Hearing on Big Y’s Controversial Gas Station/Convenience Store Proposal to Next Month

The site of the proposed Big Y Express at the western end of Halls Rd. in Old Lyme. Map courtesy of the Halls Rd. Improvement Committee.

OLD LYME — Around 50 people joined Tuesday’s Public Hearing for the proposal presented by Big Y Foods for a gas station/convenience store at 99 Halls Rd. and 25 Neck Rd., which was hosted Tuesday via Webex by the Old Lyme Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission (IWWC).

According to the application submitted to the IWWC, the proposal is for a 2,100 sq. ft. convenience mart and a gas station on a site surrounding Essex Savings Bank that is currently vacant and partially cleared. The application states that the fuel system consists of six dispensers under a protective canopy and two double wall fiberglass underground fuel tanks with electronic monitoring.

The IWWC’s role is to assess whether there is potential for significant impact to the watercourses located on the property proposed for the development. Commission Chairman Rachael Gaudio stressed both at the Feb. 23 meeting of the IWWC and at this meeting that it is not under this commission’s purview to consider zoning, planning or traffic matters.

The Commission had received written responses from the project engineer for the applicant, Ryan Scrittorale, PE, of Alfred Benesch & Co. to comments by the IWWC engineer Thomas Metcalfe and soil scientist Eric Davison of Davison Environmental. These have been published on the Town website at this link.

Since Martin Brogie, of Martin Brogie, Inc., the applicant’s soil scientist, was not able to attend the meeting due to being hospitalized for COVID, the applicant’s attorney, Robin Pearson, requested that the hearing be continued until next month.

The commission heard testimony from Dr. Michael W. Klemens, who has a PhD in Ecology/Conservation Biology. He was introduced by Marjorie Shansky, the attorney representing the intervenor at  85 Halls Road, LLC.

Krewson said that a major problem he was facing in terms of assessing the environmental impact of the proposed project was that “We don’t know where the boundary of the vernal pool is … we need to understand where the vernal pool is … to determine what is present in the vernal pool.” He noted that the most recent data available is from 2006, but emphasized, “There needs to be a lot more detail.”

He noted, “Wood frogs are a unique and special case. They are actually involved in nutrient recycling,” adding, “We need to see robust data on biodata.” Klemens said he would assume, “The majority of the migration comes from the north,” but stressed again, “We need to know [what is at the vernal pool.]”

The owner of the adjoining property Brain Farnham at 29 Neck Rd. responded to comments that he was not permitting access to his property to inspect the vernal pool. He said, “There are diucks in that pond. It’s their breeding season. That’s why I’m resisting people walking on my property.”

Gaudio countered that, as someone who had obtained two bachelor’s degrees, one in Biological Sciences and the second in Wildlife Conservation and Mangement, prior to attending law school and receiving a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy, she understood Farnham’s concerns. She stated, however, “I don’t think a scientist would go out and be a big impact [on the property or duck nests],” noting the inspection would primarily involve walking around the edge of the pool and looking for evidence of wildlife.

Chairman Gaudio agreed to continue the hearing until Tuesday, April 27, at 6 p.m., when it will be held again via Webex. She urged all parties, including members of the public, to submit any further comments by the end of the day on April 26.

The Public hearing will likely be closed on April 27, but the IWWC will not necessarily vote on the proposal at that meeting.

Editor’s Note: The full Minutes of the meeting have now been published on the Town of Old Lyme website at this link.

 

 

Old Lyme Planning Commission Opposes CT Bills on Affordable Housing Currently Being Considered by Legislature

OLD LYME — The following is the text of a letter being sent to various Connecticut House Representatives and State Senators by the Old Lyme Planning Commission. These include State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-30th), both of whose Districts include Old Lyme.

Dear Legislator: 

The Old Lyme Planning Commission supports the development of Affordable Housing (AH) in the town of Old Lyme.  This has been stated in the Town’s Plan of Conservation & Development. Zoning regulations must be modified and developed to support affordable housing yet maintain the rural and historic character of the Town.

There are unidentified affordable housing units in Town which qualify as affordable but do not have deed restrictions. Prior to any new legislation being considered, it is necessary to redefine affordable housing to ascertain what already exists in each community but is not identified under the current definition. Enacting legislation without regard to what could currently be considered to be existing affordable housing is premature and unrealistic.

Currently, two bills being considered by the Connecticut legislature (SB-1024 and SB-804) are intended to promote the construction of affordable housing in all Connecticut municipalities.  The bills would eliminate local control over most accessory dwelling units and over most multi-family housing.  If adopted, these bills would limit local control to only single-family homes.  Local municipalities would have no authority to influence the affordable housing process, including the preservation of the town’s historic appearance and rural character. 

As written, the two pieces of legislation are a one-size-fits all scenario.  The character of shore-line communities are in sharp contrast to communities in the middle of the state and also to communities in the northeast and northwest corner of the state.  Anyone making decisions concerning affordable housing that does not live within the community will not demonstrate ownership toward the character of the town.  Therefore, residence will likely be left with a housing structure based on a contractor’s priorities that will not reflect the local character of the community.  

The timing of the bills is suspect.  Available information indicates that the bills were drafted in January but not released until recently.  This appears to be an attempt to push a bill through legislation while “while under the radar.”  This commission considers this to be a disingenuous attempt by some in the legislature.  

It should also be noted that the Chairman of the Planning Commission is also a member of an Affordable Housing Task Force that has provided guidelines to the Selectman’s office for the creation of an Affordable Housing Commission that will facilitate the development of affordable housing on currently available property and the development of additional housing where feasible. 

The Old Lyme Planning Commission opposes bills SB-1024 and SB-804 in their current form. The Old Lyme Planning Commission is of the opinion that local review of any new construction is paramount to maintaining the character of the local community. 

Sincerely,

Town of Old Lyme Planning Commission,
Old Lyme.

TONIGHT: Old Lyme’s Inland Wetlands Hold Public Hearing on Halls Rd. Gas Station/Convenience Store Proposal

OLD LYME — Old Lyme’s Inland Wetlands Commission is holding a Public Hearing on this controversial proposal as part of its regular monthly meeting this evening starting at 6 p.m. The hearing is scheduled after New Business and you can join the meeting via your computer or phone.

No in-person attendance is permitted at this meeting.

To join via your computer:

Visit this link:
https://oldlymect.webex.com/oldlymect/j.php?MTID=md7e689c717d8e5cc0a01ba…
Enter meeting number (access code): 129 901 7985
Enter meeting password: M2FraPiuY82

To join by phone:
Call +1-408-418-9388 (United States Toll)

The agenda reads as follows:

NEW BUSINESS

1.      21-5 – Christopher Marchant – 7 Sandpiper Point Road – Cut down some broken tree limbs and removal of some fallen trees on the ground.

2.      21-6 Town of Old Lyme WPCA – Shore Rd, Hartford Ave, Portland Ave, Swan Ave, Pond Rd, Cottage Ln, Old Colony Rd. Breen Ave, Gorton Ave.  –

Regional Wastewater Project to sewer Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B.

3.      21-7 Prospect Transportation of New England, LLC – 38 Hatchetts Hill Rd –   Build a truck service building for its transportation and logistics business.

4.      21-9 Daniels Propane – 5 Gould Lane – Setting two 120 LP tanks which includes running 15′ of copper and trench approximately 10 feet.  Property Owner: Michael Switzer

5.      21-10 Michael Riggio – 18 Cutler Road – Adding four feet to existing deck.

PUBLIC HEARING

6.     20-26 –Big Y Foods/Tony Coppola – 99 Halls Road & 25 Neck  Road –  Construct new convenience mart with retail motor vehicle fueling facility.

OLD BUSINESS

7.     21-8 – 6 Jericho – Ken Sweitzer –- Clearing

8.      21-1 – Point O’Woods Association – South Lyme – Maintenance and cleaning within the channel.

9.     21-4 – Christopher Papadopulos – 27 Connecticut Road – Deck on rear of  house and replace existing shed with new 10 x 20 shed

MINUTES

10.    Regular Meeting Minutes – February 23, 2021

Site Walk Meeting Minutes – March 17, 2021

Visit this link to read a letter on the subject of the proposed gas station/convenience store and all the comments that it sparked.

 

Lyme’s AHC Publishes Online Quiz to Engage Residents on Needs, Benefits of Affordable Housing

AHC Seeks to Increase Awareness, Understanding of Affordable Housing as Part of its Efforts to Develop a State-Mandated Affordable Housing Plan in Lyme

LYME – As part of its efforts to develop an Affordable Housing Plan for the Town of Lyme by early next year, the Town of Lyme’s Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) has published an online quiz aimed at engaging residents in a thoughtful discussion of how affordable housing might take further shape in the Lyme community and how it might benefit the Town and its residents.  

The link to the quiz, “Home Sweet Affordable Home: Test Your Knowledge of Lyme,” can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NJ6DTTY.  The five-question quiz seeks to engage Lyme residents by allowing them to test their knowledge of existing affordable housing in town, and by addressing some common misperceptions about what affordable housing actually is.

The AHC is charged with developing an Affordable Housing Plan for the Town of Lyme – a task which is required to be completed by the Spring of 2022 by Connecticut statute §8-30j.  Through the development, community review and approval of this plan, the commission hopes to one day bring more affordable units to Lyme in a way that preserves the Town’s bucolic nature.

The commission is also seeking to engage residents in the issue of affordable housing by:

  • Inviting them to attend its monthly meetings, which currently take place on Zoom on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.  (Agendas for each meeting are published on the Town website, along with Zoom invitations.  Meeting minutes are also published on the website.)
  • Publishing information on the Town website that lists resources for residents interested in creating affordable housing options through the use of accessory-apartment construction loans and mortgage programs available from the State.  (That information can currently be found here: www.townlyme.org/affordable-housing-commission.)

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Gas Station/Convenience Market on Halls Rd. Raises Many Concerns

To the Editor:

Re: Proposed Service Station Complex on Halls Rd.

We recently learned that Big Y Foods, Inc. is planning to develop the open parcel of land that lies between Treasures and the Essex Savings Bank on Halls Road into a large gas station and convenience market complex.

The open parcel, which is owned by the bank, is contiguous with another bank-owned parcel that fronts on Neck Rd. (Rte. 156). Both are for sale and, if linked, would provide access and egress on two of Old Lyme’s (already) busiest thoroughfares. The Halls Road “raceway” already connects, in less than three quarters of a mile, two busy entrance/exits to I-95 North and South. Old Lyme’s roads are already burdened by cars, trucks, and buses seeking alternate routes, when backups occur on the interstate,

I have been involved in the past in drafting certificates of need applications for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. I know that we took great care to demonstrate that a proposed expansion of service was unique and not redundant of other readily available and existing services.

I don’t believe that the approving process for this project is required to consider redundancies. However, that said, Halls Road already has a Shell gas station, which, coincidentally, had also proposed a convenience store expansion.

Further, both Andy’s Deli & Market, and the Big Y World Class Market, already serve different segments of Old Lyme residents and visitors shopping for groceries and prepared foods. Thus, Old Lyme is already well-served by two high quality organizations.

We patronize both, and interestingly, for the same reasons. We are known, by name, in both stores; and both provide us with the feel of a small-town local market.

However, the difference is that the supermarket’s customer base will not be largely compromised by the new convenience market.

In contrast, I know that Amish and Neha Shah, Andys’ owners, feel that the proposed facility would compete with their customer base, and probably, as part of a much larger organization, offer broader products and services at lower prices than they, as sole proprietors, can provide. They are very concerned that their small market and relatively small margins, could not sustain any significant new competition.

Further, I don’t think, based on the meetings that I’ve attended, that this proposed gas station and convenience market complex can possibly be consistent with the master plan that is still in development by Old Lyme’s Halls Road Improvements Committee. Finally, we don’t need to put existing local businesses at risk by approving redundant services; and Halls Road’s ability to support increased traffic from I-95 is very limited.

Sincerely,

Thomas D. and Christina J. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Commenting CLOSED on This Article: Nosal Again Urges Old Lyme Board of Selectmen to Sign Resolution on Racism, No Response Received

Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (File photo)

OLD LYME — NOTE: 1/27, The comments on this article are now closed.  At the Old Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting held this past Tuesday, Jan. 19, Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal again urged her fellow members on the board, First Selectman Timothy Griswold (R) and Selectman Christopher Kerr (R) to sign the Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis, a draft of which is printed below for reference.

She had first raised the request at the Aug. 8, 2021 BOS meeting. It was not on the agenda at the Aug. 17 BOS meeting, but was discussed at the Sept. 8 BOS meeting and then again at the Sept. 22 BOS meeting.  Nosal raised the matter once more at both the Dec. 21 BOS meeting and the Jan. 4 BOS meeting.

Each time she was promised that Griswold and Kerr would review the resolution in more detail, but neither has offered any amendments to it to date.

Speaking under ‘Other Business,’ Nosal began by saying, “I am again acknowledging your fear, uncertainty, and uncomfortable feelings about racism existing in Old Lyme. I acknowledge your resistance to a substantive discussion on the Resolutions provided. I recognize that white privilege allows us to focus on the status quo and not look beyond Lyme St.”

She continued, “But it is unjust to ignore the many people who have spoken passionately in person to this board in favor of signing the Resolution, to the many who have written the board in support of the Resolution, to ignore CCM’s [Connecticut Conference of Municipalities] support of the Resolution, and to ignore our neighboring shoreline towns [Old Saybrook, Lyme, New London and New Haven] who have signed on to work towards justice.”

Concluding forcefully, she urged Griswold and Kerr to sign the Resolution, saying, “Tonight, I ask you to lead, to lead with love not fear, to do the right and the just thing. To stand up and do the work. Our world and our town need healing, more than ever.”

She ended with the words, “This is a good first step. Please sign.”

Neither Griswold nor Kerr responded and the meeting was adjourned a few minutes later.

***

The following is the original DRAFT Resolution that Nosal presented for discussion:

WHEREAS, racism is a social system with multiple dimensions: individual racism that is interpersonal and/or internalized or systemic racism that is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks;

WHEREAS race is a social construct with no biological basis; 

WHEREAS racism unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities, while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources; 

WHEREAS racism is a root cause of poverty and constricts economic mobility; 

WHEREAS racism causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, and criminal justice, and is itself a social determinant of health; 

WHEREAS racism and segregation have exacerbated a health divide resulting in people of color in Connecticut bearing a disproportionate burden of illness and mortality including COVID-19 infection and death, heart disease, diabetes, and infant mortality; 

WHEREAS Black, Native American, Asian and Latino residents are more likely to experience poor health outcomes as a consequence of inequities in economic stability, education, physical environment, food, and access to health care and these inequities are, themselves, a result of racism; 

WHEREAS more than 100 studies have linked racism to worse health outcomes; and 

WHEREAS the collective prosperity and wellbeing of TOWN depends upon equitable access to opportunity for every resident regardless of the color of their skin: 

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the TOWN Board of Selectmen

(1) Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our town and all of Connecticut; 

(2) Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, by continuing to identify specific activities to enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across our leadership, staffing and contracting;

(3) Promote equity through all policies approved by the Board of Selectmen and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety;

(4) Improve the quality of the data our town collects and the analysis of that data—it is not enough to assume that an initiative is producing its intended outcome, qualitative and quantitative data should be used to assess inequities in impact and continuously improve;

(5) Continue to advocate locally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism;

(6) Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis;

(7) Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live; and

(8) Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Board of Selectmen, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity.

Public Hearing for Old Lyme’s Planning Commission’s Conservation, Development Plan Draws Most Comments on Town’s Housing Needs

Old Lyme Planning Commission members and visitors participated in a virtual Public Hearing Thursday on the commission’s proposed Plan of Conservation & Development.

OLD LYME — Old Lyme Planning Commission Chairman Harold Thompson opened Thursday evening’s Public Hearing for the ‘Adoption of the 2020 Plan of Conservation & Development (POCD)’ by noting, “This has been a long road with some difficult times.” Adding that the Commission had held 15 workshops to discuss the document, which is published on the Town of Old Lyme website, he went on to detail the required timeline for gaining its approval in order to  submit it by the mandatory deadline to the state.

He then opened the virtual (the meeting was held via Webex) floor to comments from the public. First to speak was Halls Road Improvement Committee Chairman Edie Twining, who initially quoted from comments she had submitted in writing to the Commission prior to the meeting.

She stated, “The Halls Road Improvements Committee has initiated a Halls Road Plan which is currently being created by the BSC group. This is a significant, town-approved, and town-funded planning initiative that will guide any future development in the Halls Road Commercial area. The plan will include recommendations for significant capital investment by the town to create new sidewalks, bike paths, pedestrian lighting, and landscaping in the Halls Road area.”

Continuing, “It will provide studies on the market needs of this area, the infrastructure options, CT DOT constraints, and documentation of all existing conditions to provide recommendations for changes in zoning, uses, and design guidelines,” she added,  “This report will lay the groundwork to aid in maintaining our town’s commercial center with the introduction of mixed use.”

She then stressed, “In keeping with clearly expressed public sentiment, it will steer away from the current “strip center” aesthetic of 60’ setbacks. Instead it will promote a return to the original small town character of Old Lyme’s town center, as found on historic Lyme Street.”

Twining concluded her comments in her own words, “We feel the town’s 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development should include a reasonable discussion of the largest formal planning effort currently underway under the town’s auspices and at the town’s expense,” noting, “I have delivered an outline of specific pages where I see a need for changes in order to correctly represent the Halls Road Planning effort. I would like to request that these changes be included in your document.”

Finally she thanked the commission for their, “time and consideration of this work.”

Howard Margules, Old Lyme Economic Development Commission Chairman, then questioned whether the issue of blighted structures in the town should be included in the document. He also quoted from a general description of a strip mall, which Thompson agreed bore a strong resemblance to Halls Rd. Margules pointed out that it states in the POCD that strip malls are not permitted and therefore suggested there might be a “disconnect” in the report on that matter.

Margules further suggested the commission should confer with the new leadership at Lyme Academy to update information in the plan regarding the Academy and then concluded by saying how much he appreciated the commission’s work.

Thompson responded he had already had a lengthy phone conversation with Michael Duffy, the new board chair at the Academy.

Stephen Jungkeit, Senior Minister at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, thanked the planning commission for their work, adding, “This is a really well done report.” He said he wished to “affirm interest in [a variety of types of] housing,” which had been mentioned in the report, noting that, “from his vantage point,” this was a major issue in the town that he felt needed urgent attention. After noting that he hoped that the POCD represented, “… the beginning of a wider look at the issue,” he ended by saying simply, “I’m just saying thank you for that.”

Commission member Stephen Ross expressed the opinion, “that what would benefit the town a lot would be a broader survey of what the town needs in terms of housing.” Remarking that a house near his own on Shore Rd. had been vacant for one and a half years, he said, “We need to assess the actual demand [for housing] as opposed to the perceived demand.”

Twining responded that the HRIC was doing a “market study looking into some of those things,” and had reported that, “only one apartment was available in the whole town.”

Ross disputed that finding saying, “There’s a heck of a lot more than one apartment available,” noting that there was a need to look into all rentals.

Jungkeit suggested any survey should also include research into housing needs emanating from outside the town. Ross then stated, “It’s all about inventory.”

Margules agreed that “drilling down further into housing needs” would be beneficial, noting that, for example, the needs of seniors downsizing and young people moving into town “need to be addressed as well.”

The Public Hearing concluded with a unanimous vote to continue the hearing until Feb. 9.

 

 

Jan 15 COVID-19 Update: Cumulative Cases in Old Lyme Reach 211; Griswold Urges, ‘We Can’t Let Our Guard Down Now’

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold

LYME/OLD LYME — Old Lyme’s COVID-19 case numbers increased by five in the report issued Friday afternoon (Jan. 15) by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) taking the cumulative total for the town since the pandemic began to 211.

On Friday, Jan. 8, the report issued by CT DPH that day gave Old Lyme’s cumulative total as 173, meaning that in the following week (1/8-1/15), 38 new cases were confirmed.

Lyme’s number was unchanged from the previous day, standing at a cumulative total of 66.

Asked his thoughts on the recent significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the town, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold told LymeLine exclusively, “These troubling numbers are typical of what’s happening through the state and the country. The salient point is that we’ve been seeing it [the number of cases] gradually picking up, but now they’re really ramping up.”

He added, “You’ve had the holidays and now it’s incumbent on all of us to keep doing what we’re doing,” stressing, “We can’t let our guard down now.”

Referring to the expansion of the vaccine program, Griswold noted optimistically that with the combination of that and people continuing to be vigilant, “We can hopefully begin to get the curve down.”

 

Lyme Town Hall, Library Shift to By-Appointment Basis Only

Lyme Town Hall (pictured above) and Lyme Public Library will both move to an appointment-only basis, Dec. 28.

LYME — The Lyme Board of Selectmen announced Dec. 22 that since the number of COVID-19 cases in Lyme (then standing at 38 cases) continues to grow and neighboring towns are experiencing an accelerating rate of infection, the Lyme Town Hall and Library operations will move to a “by-appointment” basis only, starting Monday, Dec. 28.

In their announcement, the selectmen say they, “Anticipate that holiday gatherings will only add to the number of cases we may experience in the near future,” adding that they are taking these measures, “To protect our residents and employees.”

Staff will be available to assist residents, who email ahead of time for assistance. In-person service will not be available without an appointment.

The selectmen anticipate operating under this revised method until at least Jan. 19, 2021, and another announcement will be made when it is determined that in-person services can again be permitted.

The town garage, transfer station and recycling center will continue their present schedule for the foreseeable future. Opening hours for these facilities may be curtailed if, and when, the selectmen feel it may be warranted.

Email addresses for assistance are as follows:

Should other employees need to be contacted, email the First Selectman or the Town Clerk who will direct inquiries to the appropriate employee.

The selectmen’s announcement concludes, “We appreciate your patience as we deal with this spike in virus cases and thank you for your cooperation. We recognize that this may be an inconvenience and trust that you all will understand the need for these measures.”

Old Lyme Zoning Approves Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Proposal for Turf Field — With Conditions

This image, courtesy of Milone & MacBroom, shows the current field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School (left) and the proposed synthetic turf field (right.)

OLD LYME — At their regular monthly meeting held virtually last Monday, Dec. 14, Old Lyme’s Zoning Commission members unanimously approved Lyme-Old Lyme School’s Special Permit Application to “modify the playing geometry ” of the athletic field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School and change the “playing surface from manicured lawn to synthetic turf.”

The motion to approve the application did, however, have one significant condition.

At the November meeting, commission members had requested that Tom Metcalf, the engineer for the Planning and Zoning Commission, should review the project plans and report back to them.

Commission Chair Paul Orzel was expecting Metcalf to be on the phone during the meeting but Metcalf was not present. Commission member Jane Marsh reminded Ozol that Metcalf had submitted a letter to the commission with details of his review.

Ozol then requested that Marsh should read the letter aloud for those present and everyone attending the meeting virtually.

Marsh noted that in the letter Metcalf stated he had reviewed a set of project plans prepared by Milone & MacBroom, Inc. and recently visited the site to view existing conditions. 

His comments read verbatim by Marsh were as follows:

  • Presumably the synthetic turf is a proprietary product. The project plans do not specify the synthetic turf type or manufacturer. Therefore, I assume the details associated with the synthetic turf and collector (drainage) pipe system shown on Sheet SD2 are compliant with the synthetic turf type and manufacturers requirements and specifications for the application proposed at the Lyme – Old Lyme High School. ] suggest the applicant confirm this. Additionally, it appears the Sheet SD2 details for the synthetic turf and collector pipe system are general in nature and do not provide sufficient information for construction/installation purposes. While perhaps not necessary for permitting purposes, Prior to construction, I suggest the applicant provide the Town with final construction plans and specifications for the project.
  • Similar to the synthetic turf installation, additional information for the turf stone grid pavers (detail on Sheet SD-2) should be included on final plans to facilitate construction.
  • Additional information and details for the French Drain System” should be included. The information and details should include elevations, materials and construction details to facilitate installation. Reference: Sheet UT. 
  • Although Grading Note 3 on Sheet GR and the existing conditions shown on Sheet EX acknowledges the presence of the existing geothermal well system within the project area, presumably the layout and design of the synthetic turf field and associated drainage have considered potential conflicts and impacts to these proposed improvements as well as to the existing geothermal well system. 
  • I recommend that the construction/installation of the synthetic turf and associated drainage be monitored/inspected by the design engineer to assure improvements are satisfactorily constructed. Additionally, I suggest that an asbuilt survey/plan (horizontal and vertical/elevation) be prepared of the drainage system to verify improvements have been constructed per design plans and for future reference. A copy of the as-built plan should be provided to the Land-Use Office.
  • Given the lengths/runs of the 12″ perforated collector (drainage) pipe (873 linear feet and 170 linear feet) and the inclusion of angle/bend points along the lengths/runs, consideration should be given to placing manholes and/or accessible cleanouts along the pipe length at critical locations to facilitate future maintenance.
  • I did not review the playing field(s) layouts, slope and dimensions or the associated fencing for the fields. I assume the field layouts and fencing were developed in conjunction with the school and meet their use needs.
  • An elevation bench mark should be included on the plans to facilitate construction.
  • To avoid any misunderstanding of the intent of final landscape plantings, you may want to confirm the size, type and number of shrubs. Reference: Sheet LA.
  • Presumably the 8 fiberglass hand-holes shown on Sheet LA are associated with the electrical conduits to be placed around the field perimeter as shown on Sheet UT.
  • Plan graphics of existing drainage pipes and flared end sections at the Detention Pond should be checked. (FES inv. = 7.6′ is outlet from pond through the pond berm; FES inv. = 7,4′ is outlet from pipe through pond berm). Reference: Sheet EX. Accordingly, the proposed 18″ HDPE outlet pipe from the manhole to the Detention Pond should include a flared end section or other suitable outlet type and suitable scour protection at the pipe outlet. Reference: Sheet UT.
  • Construction sequencing, procedures and timing is unclear. I suggest the plans include basic construction sequencing, procedures and timing information. In addition to facilitating construction, this information is necessary to assist with implementing temporary erosion control measures during construction.

Metcalf concluded by asking Old Lyme Land Use Coordinator Daniel Bourret to forward a copy of his letter to the design engineers Milone & MacBroom, Inc. and the Regional School District since he did not have their emails.

Bourret reported that he had not complied with that request since the Public Hearing was closed and rules prohibit the applicant from supplying more information after that point.

Marsh commented that in the past it has been permissible for the engineer to talk with Zoning staff in order to resolve outstanding issues. She then proposed that in this case, since the project had been under their review by the Zoning Commission for some time, that the commission should approve the project with the condition that all the requirements stated by Metcalf are met. Further, as part of her motion, she said Bourret would be required to ensure the condition were enforced.

The motion with the condition passed unanimously.

Nosal Again Raises Resolution Against Racism at Old Lyme BOS Meeting, Griswold Agrees to Further Review But With No Agreement to Sign

OLD LYME — At the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s (OL BOS) meeting, Monday, Dec. 7, Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal again raised the issue of the board signing a Resolution stating Racism is a Public Health Crisis (see draft at the end of this article.) She ultimately received a commitment from First Selectman Timothy Griswold that he would look at the wording of the Resolution again, but no agreement to sign it.

Pointing out that she had been requesting this since August (see LymeLine.com reports of the Sept. 8 OL BOS meeting and the Sept. 22 OL BOS meeting), she informed the board that the Old Saybrook Board of Selectmen (BOS) had now approved the Resolution that she had previously presented.

First Selectman Timothy Griswold expressed surprise at the Old Saybrook BOS decision.

Explaining that the resolution is, “a framework for the town,” Nosal continued, “[It requires us] to look at everything with racial equity. I think because we are white people, we think everything is fine.”

Noting the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is supporting the Resolution, which has already been approved by numerous towns in the state, Nosal commented, “As white people, we are not trained to think something is happening because it doesn’t happen to us. Data supports the fact that our systems support certain people but not everybody.”

Then, urging the board to make a decision, she said, “We need to move forward. It takes courage,” adding, “I’m asking us again to do the right thing. It takes political courage to do this. To ignore this, it boggles my mind.”

Nosal informed the board that she believed the next legislative session will take up the resolution, and said she felt, “It would be helpful for [State Rep.] Devin Carney to have our experiences.”  She stated firmly, “I’m here to help.”

Griswold agreed to look at the Resolution again, but commented, “I don’t have a whole lot of time,” adding, “I’m not comfortable with some of the things it’s setting us up to do … I’m not comfortable with the language.”

He concluded, “We’ll look at it again,” noting that Nosal was, “persistent.”

***

The following is the original DRAFT Resolution that Nosal presented for discussion. She has since offered other versions of the document with amended wording.

WHEREAS, racism is a social system with multiple dimensions: individual racism that is interpersonal and/or internalized or systemic racism that is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks;

WHEREAS race is a social construct with no biological basis; 

WHEREAS racism unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities, while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources; 

WHEREAS racism is a root cause of poverty and constricts economic mobility; 

WHEREAS racism causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, and criminal justice, and is itself a social determinant of health; 

WHEREAS racism and segregation have exacerbated a health divide resulting in people of color in Connecticut bearing a disproportionate burden of illness and mortality including COVID-19 infection and death, heart disease, diabetes, and infant mortality; 

WHEREAS Black, Native American, Asian and Latino residents are more likely to experience poor health outcomes as a consequence of inequities in economic stability, education, physical environment, food, and access to health care and these inequities are, themselves, a result of racism; 

WHEREAS more than 100 studies have linked racism to worse health outcomes; and 

WHEREAS the collective prosperity and wellbeing of TOWN depends upon equitable access to opportunity for every resident regardless of the color of their skin: 

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the TOWN Board of Selectmen

(1) Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our town and all of Connecticut; 

(2) Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, by continuing to identify specific activities to enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across our leadership, staffing and contracting;

(3) Promote equity through all policies approved by the Board of Selectmen and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety;

(4) Improve the quality of the data our town collects and the analysis of that data—it is not enough to assume that an initiative is producing its intended outcome, qualitative and quantitative data should be used to assess inequities in impact and continuously improve;

(5) Continue to advocate locally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism;

(6) Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis;

(7) Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live; and

(8) Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Board of Selectmen, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity.

 

 

 

 

Old Lyme’s Kindness Committee Launches Holiday Decorating Contest for Home Exteriors

Who will win the inaugural Holiday Decorating Contest launched by Old Lyme’s Kindness Committee? Photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash.

OLD LYME — In an innovative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Old Lyme Kindness Committee is hosting a holiday decorating contest to spread cheer and joy in a socially-distanced manner throughout the town.

Old Lyme residents are invited to participate by decorating the outside of their homes, following the directions below.

A list of all participating homes will be maintained on the Town of Old Lyme website so that the public can drive by and enjoy the decorations. Naturally, residents are welcome to decorate for whichever holiday you celebrate.

It is hoped participants will have fun decorating their homes and all residents will look forward to driving around town to check out the displays.

Entering the Contest:

To participate in the contest, email selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov and provide your street address. Residents must register to enter the contest by Thursday, Dec. 10, and have their decorations in place by that date to be included.

Voting:

Voting will be held online from Dec. 16 through Dec. 30. The top three winners in terms of votes received will be announced shortly after voting ends.

Prizes:

The Hangry GooseThe Chocolate Shell, and The Bowerbird have each generously donated a $20 gift certificate as contest prizes. The first place winner will choose the gift certificate of their preference, the second place winner will follow suit, and then the third place winner will receive the remaining gift certificate.

With Increase in COVID Cases, Old Lyme Town Hall Now Open for Business by Appointment Only

OLD LYME — 2:25pm UPDATE: Since we published this report, we have learned that Old Lyme Town Hall has moved to an appointment-only system — no walk-ins will be allowed.

At Monday night’s board of selectmen meeting, First Selectman Timothy Griswold informed his fellow board members that in light of the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases in town, a greeter would be in place by the end of this week to meet people entering the town hall.

He said the intent is, “to engage a greater push to have people make appointments [before coming to town hall], make sure the person needed is here, reduce walk-ins and discourage stopping in.”

Griswold hopes to encourage as many people as possible to do their business with town hall by phone or email, or to make an appointment in advance to see the required person in town hall. Noting the number of people in town hall would be limited going forward, he mentioned the greeter would keep a log of people entering town hall with the person’s name, “time in and time out,” which would be helpful if contact tracing were required at any point.

Griswold said the town had seen ” an acceleration” of cases from 28 in early October to 44 by Nov. 3 and yesterday, to 89. [The latest number reported from yesterday is 95.] He noted that there is, “not a good synchronization,” between the numbers reported by the state and the information given directly to the town by Ledge Light Health Department.

Griswold said he had taken this matter up on the most recent Governor’s call and was still following up on the issue to try and achieve some resolution.

Grswold also reported that Old Lyme Emergency Director David Roberge and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal were now working on protocols to establish “a process as to what to do,” in case, “a town employee is exposed or comes down with COVID.”

Selectman Cristopher Kerr mentioned he had been in both Essex and Deep River Town Halls that day and both had similar procedures in place for when you entered town hall. He noted they also both had separate doors for entering and exiting. Nosal queried whether that could be implemented in Old Lyme Town Hall too, saying, “I like simple stuff to separate people.” Kerr agreed, adding, “Yes, don’t complicate it”

Griswold stressed that there now is a high need, “to impress upon our fellow citizens,” that the number of people in town hall must be reduced. He concluded saying, “We don’t know how long this will last.”

 

 

Voter Participation Extremely High in Presidential Election in Both Lyme (88%), Old Lyme (91%)

LYME/OLD LYME — At the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting held Monday, Nov.16, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold reported that there are 5,933 registered voters in Old Lyme and 5,408 voters cast ballots for the President/Vice President, which equates to a participation rate of 91 percent.

As a comparison, Griswold noted 5,364 votes were cast for Joe Courtney in the Congressional House election. Griswold reported the remaining offices drew voter participation rates in the “high 80s to low 90s [percent]”

In his most recent Selectman’s Update, he reported there were 2,641 absentee ballots cast, which equate to 44.5 percent of the total.

Griswold also commented at the Selectmen’s meeting that the board needs to consider whether to make the change of voting location to Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School as a permanent one. He said, “It would have been disastrous at Cross Lane [voting location]” for this election, which had such a high turnout, but noted, “We wouldn’t have to have all voting at the schools.”

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal asked whether voting for primaries would be at the middle school.

Griswold responded that the board needs to review options and make a plan since the current motion in effect in Old Lyme only approves use of the middle school through the end of the year and the Governor’s COVID Executive Order expires Feb. 9, 2021.

Lyme Town Clerk Linda Winzer announced that of the 2,012 voters on the election roll, 1,774 voted representing 88 percent of the total.  The number of absentee ballots issued in that town was 811 representing 40 percent of the votes cast.

Cable Leaves Old Lyme Zoning Commission After 15-Year Tenure, 10 as Chairman

Outgoing Old Lyme Zoning Commission member Jane Cable, who has served on the commission since 2005 and as chairman since since 2010. File photo.

OLD LYME — At the end of a lengthy and somewhat exasperating (due to some Zoom issues) Old Lyme Zoning Commission meeting held virtually on Monday, Nov. 9, Chairman Paul Orzel asked if members had anything additional they wished to say before the meeting adjourned.

Orzel then said he, in fact, had something to say since he wanted to take a moment to highlight that it was Jane Cable’s final meeting as a member of the commission.

He noted she had served on the commission since 2005 and been chairman since 2010 adding emphatically, “We are going to miss you. You have been a tremendous mentor and inspiration …”

Cable then interrupted Orzel, quipping, “… and a pain in the butt!” but he continued, adding, “I can’t thank you enough,” and observing, [After leaving the commission,] you might be out of the picture but you won’t be off our radar.”

Alternate commission member Michael Barnes explained to Cable, “My interaction with you a while back made me want to get on the zoning commission,” but he now expressed sincere regret that she was leaving, saying he recognized, “Your knowledge is immense.”

Cable graciously acknowledged, “The Commission has to change,” and then added enthusiastically, “And I’m joining the [Old Lyme] Ethics Commission!”

Describing herself as a “frequent flyer” at zoning commission meetings, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal spoke warmly of her relationship with Cable. She noted, “You have mentored me … thanks to you, I’ve learned so much.”

Nosal said, “You’ve left an extraordinary mark on the zoning commission.” and then she held up a sign — even though she was seated in her own home looking at a computer screen — that read, “Thank you, Jane!” (See photo at left.)

Expanding on the sign’s message, Nosal then concluded with the heartfelt words, which seemed to sum up the feelings of all the commission members, saying, “Thank you for sharing your time and talents with us.”

Here at LymeLine.com, we will add our own words of thanks to Jane for her outstanding service to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission and all the support she has given us over the years.

 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education Meets Twice Wednesday Evening

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser. (File photo)

OLD LYME — The Region 18 Board of Education meets tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 4) evening at 7 p.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room at Center School in Old Lyme for its regular monthly meeting. The meeting will be live-streamed at this link.  The agenda for the meeting is at this link.

This meeting will be preceded by a Special Meeting in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium at 6 p.m. at which the needs and drivers of the 2021-2022 District Budget will be reviewed and discussed with the boards of finance and selectmen, school administration, and parent leadership.

 

Old Lyme Kindness Committee Names Christina Denison as its October Awardee

Christina Denison is the Old Lyme Kindness Committee’s October awardee.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Kindness committee has announced their October 2020 Kindness Awardee. This month the committee selected a community member, who has been going out of her way to spread smiles in town: Christina Denison.

Denison, a resident who lives on Lyme Street, has a letter-sized plexiglass frame on the stonewall in front of her house which she uses every single day to display a new joke. For the month of October, her jokes have been Halloween-themed, and she plans to switch to Thanksgiving jokes in November.

When asked what her motivation to begin the joke of the day was, she said, “Because of the pandemic I’m home and I thought people might like a little humor during this difficult time.” 

 

And Denison was right. Her jokes of the day have been noticed by passers-by, including many who wait in the school drop-off line each morning. “A lot of people walking by have told me they like reading the jokes and even share them with their grandchildren,” she said.

To nominate someone for a kindness award, use this link.

Public Info Session on Proposed Sidewalks in Sound View Slated for This Evening

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme has received a Community Connectivity Grant from the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) to fund the construction of new sidewalks on Hartford Ave. and Rte. 156 (Shore Rd.)

This is primarily a safety project, designed to provide new walkways for pedestrians to safely access the Sound View gateway, beach area, and local businesses.

The new sidewalks will be installed as “standard” 5 ft. wide concrete sidewalks in accordance with CT DOT standards.

Residents are invited to a virtual public information session on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. During this session members of the Community Connectivity Grant Committee will share their sidewalk design plans.

All are welcome to join the meeting using this link or by calling 1-408-418-9388 and entering access code: 173 735 2699.

New COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Old Lyme Taking Total to 29 Including Two Fatalities; Lyme Still at 9 cases

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — This afternoon Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) has reported another confirmed case of COVID-19 in Old Lyme in their COVID-19 summary for the week ending Oct. 9. This latest case is a 25-year-old female.

This takes the total number of cases in Old Lyme to 29 including two fatalities. The number of surviving cases in Old Lyme now comprises 14 males and 15 females ranging in age from 19- to 82-years-old. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 82-year-old male.

Ledge Light Health District does not report any new cases in Lyme in this afternoon’s summary, where nine cases comprising four females and five males ranging in age from one- to 68-years-old have been reported to date. There have been no fatalities in Lyme.

This afternoon’s report, which covers all the towns in the LLHD and includes Lyme and Old Lyme, is prefaced with these words, “As you will see, new cases continue to rise. Although there is no singular reason for this increase, our contact tracers continue to report that they have observed many instances of family and social gathering connections. Cases associated with institutions (schools, long-term care facilities, etc.) remain relatively low.”

Ledge Light Health District states their data may conflict with what DPH reports on their website, as there is often a delay in posting data at the state level. The data LLHD reports is current as of noon on the Friday on which it is issued.

Gender and age details of the confirmed cases in Lyme to date are:

  1. Male, age 34
  2. Female, age 61
  3. Female, age 34
  4. Male, age 1
  5. Male, age 34
  6. Male, age 20
  7. Male, aged 68
  8. Female, age 21
  9. Female, age 62

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823
Sept. 224
Sept. 426
Sept. 1527
Oct. 128
Oct. 829
Oct. 1630
Oct. 1631
Oct. 1632
Oct. 3034
Nov. 436
Nov. 653

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed surviving cases to date are as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 45
  11. Female, age 20
  12. Female, age 43
  13. Female, age 48
  14. Male, age 70
  15. Male, age 67
  16. Female, age 68
  17. Male, age 50
  18. Male, age 21
  19. Female, age 48
  20. Female, age 34
  21. Male, age 20
  22. Male, age 28
  23. Male, age 74
  24. Male, age 61
  25. Female, age 19
  26. Male, age 31
  27. Female

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case (#2 in the list immediately above) was tested in Florida, but used an Old Lyme address although she does not live here. Because she gave the Old Lyme address, Griswold said that LLHD must report her as an Old Lyme resident.

Residents and businesses are urged to access up-to-date information regarding the pandemic from reputable sources including the Ledge Light Health District website (www.llhd.org), Facebook (@LedgeLightHD), Twitter (@LedgeLightHD), and Instagram (@LedgeLightHD).

Editor’s Note: Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) serves as the local health department in southeast Connecticut for the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme as well as East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington,  Stonington and Waterford. As a health district, formed under Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-241, LLHD is a special unit of government, allowing member municipalities to provide comprehensive public health services to residents in a more efficient manner by consolidating the services within one organization.

Mile Creek Bridge Reopens

Celebrating the opening of the now refurbished Mile Creek Bridge over the Black Hall River are, from left to right, Lauren Girasoli and daughter Cecilia, Michele Dickey, Buttons (Tim Griswold’s dog), Randie Kahrl, Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold and Old Lyme Town all Office Manager Michele E. Hayes. Photo by Tim Griswold. Girasoli, Dickey and Kahrl are all near-neighbors of the bridge.

OLD LYME — 3:45pm UPDATE: The bridge is now OPEN! A small celebration was held Friday afternoon featuring the group gathered in the photo above when the Mile Creek Bridge was officially reopened to traffic again after an extended closure.

A delighted Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold called LymeLine.com to share the news. He said Lyme-Old Lyme Schools were, “Looking forward to rolling over the new bridge again on Monday.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold announced in his newsletter issued today that the Mile Creek bridge will officially re-open later today.

He notes, “As you pass over the bridge, you will notice new pavement on each side and the shiny, new guard rails on each side of the road.”

The new, carved inscription on the Mile Creek Bridge, which reopens today. This photo by Christopher Read was taken before the bridge was completed.

Griswold extended thanks to, “Todd and Tom Machnik and their staff at Machnik Bros. Construction for their hard work in completing this project,” adding, “Thank you also to residents for your patience and understanding as the project took longer to complete than originally anticipated due to delays by the company that fabricated the bridge decking.”