In an apparent signal to state towns and cities to step up efforts to find greater efficiencies through regionalizing programs and services to residents, the Office of Policy and management announced late Friday, August 21, that Newtown will be losing about $70,000 in state grants this fiscal year from a PILOT or "Payment In Lieu Of Taxes" program. PILOT grant helps offset property tax losses from state owned operations like the Governor's Horse Guard and the Garner Correctional Facility.
Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are reviewing an engineering firm’s proposal for a new set of zoning regulations that would create a “design district” near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84. The move would add some flexibility to the commercial/industrial zoning regulations for an area that currently has B-2 (Business) and M-4 (Industrial) zoning. The land affected by the proposal lies along both sides of Church Hill Road within the area located between the eastbound lanes of I-84 and the Housatonic Railroad overpass. It also would affect land extending northward from Church Hill Road along Edmond Road. Starting in 2016, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to make a variety of road improvements along Church Hill Road, west of the Exit 10 interchange. That area has the town’s highest accident rate.
Shadows cast by a wide-brimmed hat shielded her eyes form late morning sun as Symba Nuruddin, from Berkley, Calif., pulled at weeds crowding a row of beets at Shortt’s Farm & Garden Center Wednesday, August 26. She and other Yale University students in the school's Harvest program spent the week working at the local farm. Ms Nuruddin and another senior, Margaret Shultz, an English major from Iowa City, Iowa, were group leaders this week. Ms Shultz, accompanied by Jacob Middlekauff from Princeton, N.J., and Harry Seavey from New York City, worked a row of tall, purple-green Swiss chard, plucking out damaged leaves.
Residents Kristen Bonacci, Aaron Carlson, and Casey Ragan are behind an effort to launch a Newtown Education Foundation to support the local learning environment.
The Newtown Education Foundation’s mission is to “enrich the learning experience for our students by promoting innovation and creativity through collaboration with the community,” according to a press release.
As the co-founders, Ms Bonacci, Mr Carlson, and Ms Regan announced the foundation on Wednesday, August 26.
Ms Bonacci said she thinks Newtown is the perfect town for an education foundation.
So far, six plaintiffs among the 16 plaintiffs who have lawsuits pending against the estate of Nancy Lanza have received probate court approval for settlements of their civil actions. The lawsuits stem from the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which Ms Lanza’s son, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first grade students and six educators. Attorney Angelo A. Ziotas of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP of Stamford said that Probate Judge Joseph A. Egan, Jr, of the Northern Fairfield County probate district has approved settlements for six of the 16 lawsuits. Mr Ziotas said he expects that all 16 settlements would be approved by the probate courts by early October, as the various cases proceed through the legal review process.
It appears Newtown’s Municipal Building Strategic Plan Committee is poised to recommend the current Hook & Ladder headquarters behind Edmond Town Hall be abandoned for future town use once the volunteer fire company relocates to new quarters next year. The panel, however, agrees the community should invest in several key improvements to the Multipurpose Building on Riverside Road — currently housing the town’s Senior Center and the Adventure Center preschool.
It also charged a consultant working on a space needs study and facilities analysis to determine whether Town Hall South at 3 Main Street could continue to serve the Newtown Police Department as a headquarters, once and if it is the sole user of that facility, versus sharing space with the emergency communications department, Parks & Recreation, Social Services and the registrars of Voters.
A major Hawleyville development proposal, which would include a 180-unit multifamily housing complex, a diner, and a church on land off Hawleyville Road (Route 25), has drawn many traffic-related questions and comments from residents of that area.
Those residents spoke at a heavily attended August 20 Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting that included two public hearings on different aspects of the development project proposed for land near the Exit 9 interchange of Interstate 84.
In one proposal, Covered Bridge Newtown, LLC, seeks to build a 180-unit rental apartment complex at Covered Bridge Road and also to construct a 4,160-square-foot diner at 13 Hawleyville Road.
Head O’ Meadow students were led off their buses to the school on Thursday, August 27, for the first day of the 2015-16 school year. Inside the school teachers and staff waited to greet the students, and near the entrance physical education teachers Steve Dreger and Alex Amaru shared high-fives with students. Mr Amaru, who is new to the school, welcomed the students with a special, “It’s my first day, too!” “Welcome back everybody!” Principal Barbara Gasparine said, smiling as students stepped off a bus.
Following discussion at an August 20 meeting, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members unanimously approved the construction of the River Walk at Sandy Hook Village, a 65-unit condominium complex planned for the west side of Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center, near the Pootatuck River.
Voting in favor of the housing project were P&Z Chairman Robert Mulholland and members Michael Porco, Sr, Jim Swift, Frank Corigliano, and Fredrick Taylor.
Divergent viewpoints on the wisdom of constructing a 65-unit project came into focus earlier this month. At an August 6 P&Z hearing, members of the local business community voiced strong support for the project, but some Sandy Hook residents urged that the developer build significantly fewer than 65 dwellings, stating that 65 condos would amount to the overdevelopment of the site and consequent traffic woes.