Following a closed session during its March 19 meeting, the Legislative Council reconvened in public and unanimously endorsed the acquisition of a 36.89-acre parcel off Chestnut Hill Road that will become permanently preserved for the community as open space. While the cost of the acquisition is $255,000, the town anticipates receiving a grant from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) that will offset about 60 percent of that purchase price. The balance of funds that would be required to complete the purchase, after the grant, are already available and bonded as part of a long-term open space program established during the administration of former First Selectman Herb Rosenthal.
Toll Brothers, Inc, a major Pennsylvania-based homebuilder, is well into the construction of Newtown Woods, an age-restricted 178-unit condominium complex at a 50-acre site off Mt Pleasant Road in Hawleyville. The project represents the fourth time since 1998 that various firms have sought to develop the site with a large-scale, high-density housing project for people over age 55. All three previously proposed projects, two of which gained approvals from the town, failed to materialize. Toll gained approvals for Newtown Woods from the town in October 2011, and the rocky site was humming with activity this week as dozens of workers plied their respective trades in assembling the dwellings.
How much is Newtown’s latest bond rating increase worth to taxpayers? According to finance officials, almost a three quarters of a million dollars. Finance Director Robert Tait is touting the rock bottom 2.71 percent interest rate Newtown received March 12 on that bond sale as proof that seeking and achieving a AAA bond rating upgrade pays off. Ahead of the town’s latest $6.5 million in bond offerings to underwrite municipal and school capital projects, Mr Tait and a group of town officials traveled to Boston to meet with representatives of two major bond rating agencies, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.
The developer of a planned major commercial project in the borough said this week his firm soon plans to start site work at the 30-32 Church Hill Road property where more than 60,000 square feet of enclosed retail/office space would be built. Alan Weiner, president of Mesa General Contractors, Inc, of New Milford, said March 18 said that within the next month, the firm plans to start work at the property which formerly held Lexington Gardens, a plant nursery and gift shop which went out of business in January 2011. Mr Weiner said that the tough winter season has resulted in frost penetrating deep into the ground, delaying the start of work on the project. Under the best circumstances, the project, known as The Village at Lexington Gardens, could be constructed within eight to ten months. However, the project might take as long as 18 months to construct, he said.
The Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library will welcome new board members Julie Starkweather, Carolyn Signorelli, Walter Motyka, and Raymond Irrera, at the regularly scheduled April meeting, said nominating committee board member Colleen Honan.
“The nominating committee met several times to go through the resumes we received, interviewed several, and came up with these top four candidates,” said Ms Honan. “All of them have either been very involved in the town in some capacity already, or want to be more involved. We are pleased to have them join us. They have great qualities to bring to the board and they have the commitment that is needed,” she said. A fifth open seat on the board will be filled by a Democrat, appointed by the Town of Newtown. That appointment is expected to be named soon.
Fire Marshal Bill Halstead has extended the open burning season to May 15. Normally, the open burning season concludes at the end of March, but when weather conditions allow, the season is extended. Open burning permits, which are required for the activity and cost $5 each, are issued at the fire marshal's office at Newtown Municipal Center.
They went to Hartford in wheelchairs, two strong-willed women whose bodies are failing. Cathy Ludlum opposed an “aid in dying” bill, fearful of a society that may coerce the disabled into suicide. Sara Myers urged passage, asking for the right to face death on her terms, should she so choose.More than 500 witnesses submitted public-hearing testimony about HB 5326, An Act Concerning Compassionate Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients. But the essence of arguments pro and con could be distilled Monday in the opposing testimonies of Ludlum and Myers. Both women spoke fiercely about preserving a degree of autonomy in lives circumscribed by illness, one chronic and one terminal. To Ludlum, HB 5326 casts a long, ominous shadow over the disabled community. To Myers, it is a beacon of hope and empowerment, a last weapon against an incurable disease. Dozens testified during the course of the day. The hearing began at 10:30 am and continued well after sunset.
The Newtown Public Schools Recovery Project has slated its next parent forums, which will take place at four of the town's public schools. Each forum will be presented twice, once during the school day and then again in the evening, to allow for maximum participation. Each forum runs for one hour.