After failing to reach an acceptable settlement with the owner of a private residential road adjacent to Sandy Hook Elementary School, the town has sought and received court authorization to take an underground right of way to stretch new gas utility pipes to the school site by eminent domain. According to Columbia University Law School, “Traditionally the power of eminent domain has been exercised for the construction of large public projects, but its use is beginning to be broadened to projects involving not ‘public use’ but ‘public benefit.’” This latest action, which was revealed during action by the Board of Selectmen on May 18, is the second time the use of eminent domain has been proposed related to the new school project.
Newtown High School’s boys’ lacrosse team built a five-goal lead and hung on for a 7-5 victory over visiting Weston in the South-West Conference tournament quarterfinals, on May 21. The fourth-seeded Nighthawks got three goals from Jared Pearson, two from David MacKinnon, and one each off the sticks of Matt Meyers and Ryan Sullivan, as they built a 7-2 lead early in the fourth quarter. With the win, the defending conference champion Nighthawks earn a date with top-seeded New Milford in the semifinals, scheduled to be played at neutral site Brookfield High, on Tuesday, May 26, beginning at 7 pm.
It was not lost on local officials that in a 20-year window, Newtown’s pension investments have met a benchmark goal set by local policies. It was the last five years that have prompted a call for hiring a pension consultant. After meeting with Finance Director Robert Tait and Pension Committee Chairman Thomas Murtha on May 18, the Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed to hire a consultant that Mr Tait said would focus on several key tasks, including analyzing the pension fund; its mix of investments; the town’s pension policy; and the current benchmark of performance tied to that policy. The finance director told The Newtown Bee following the meeting that one of the most important things a consultant would determine is whether that current investment performance benchmark is appropriate.
The Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) is continuing its review of Aquarion Water Company’s proposal to build an above-ground water pumping station at 12 Church Hill Road, the address where the Newtown Hook & Ladder Volunteer Fire Company plans to construct a new firehouse. BZC members held a second public hearing on the pumphouse application on May 13. The volunteer fire company plans to construct an approximately 16,000-square-foot firehouse at the 3.16-acre site on the south side of Church Hill Road. Aquarion wants to construct an 1,100-square-foot pumphouse adjacent to the planned firehouse.
Selectmen peppered a principal developer of a planned new, state of the art mental health recovery hospital being eyed for Fairfield Hills, with questions about security, and the potential for patients’ comings and goings to interfere with recreational activities on the town-owned campus. On May 18, Richard Kresch, MD, CEO of the growing hospital syndicate, appeared before the Board of Selectmen to pitch an idea for opening Connecticut’s first US HealthVest behavioral health care venture in the area of Norwalk Hall.
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