Charter Revision Commission Chairman Jeff Capeci will consider it a success if a planned public hearing on the current revision — which includes a proposal to eliminate town meetings — will draw more public response than those poorly attended gatherings where millions of dollars is typically authorized by a handful of residents. While not officially slated yet, Mr Capeci said he expects that hearing will occur ahead of a regular Legislative Council meeting on July 15.
The town has gained federal approval for the Newtown Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, a planning document which the town will use in preparing to reduce the potential damage caused by natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has endorsed the plan, which has been six years in the making, said Rob Sibley, town deputy director of planning and land use. The town and nine other communities in the region have participated in creating such preparedness documents. Mr Sibley, who is also a town deputy director of emergency management, said Newtown’s plan is being submitted for state review. The plan stems from the US Disaster Mitigation Act, which was approved by Congress in 2000. That law creates a national program for “pre-disaster mitigation” or physical measures which can be taken before natural disasters occur to lessen the damage caused by natural disasters. Such measures are intended to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to people and property caused by natural disasters. After a state endorsement is received, the 444-page document would be posted on the town’s website, Mr Sibley said.
Next Tuesday’s “topping off” ceremony, where the final steel construction beam at the new Sandy Hook Elementary School is signed by the entire construction team and hoisted into place, will mark a significant milestone in the critical local building project that one key official involved said is going extremely well. Public Building and Site Commission Chair Robert Mitchell had high praise for everyone including the architects, building contractors, the project management. He also acknowledged the contributions of his own committee whose volunteer members have collectively devoted hundreds of hours to overseeing thousands of details going back to before the original building, scarred by the 12/14 tragedy, was even being considered for demolition and replacement. The topping off activity Tuesday, June 30, Mr Mitchell said, will mark the completion of a key phase of the project’s prolonged development.
Preliminary designs for the new Sandy Hook School building’s playgrounds were presented by representatives of a design firm at the Tuesday, June 23, Public Building & Site Commission meeting. The commission also heard a presentation on the artwork planned for the school during the meeting. A number of meetings were held with a school playground committee, according to William Richter, a principal of Richter & Cegan of Avon, a landscape architecture and urban design firm.
A large, loaded 12-wheel construction dump truck, which was traveling on Botsford Hill Road early on the afternoon of Saturday, June 20, flipped over onto its right side and leaked diesel fuel. The 54-male driver of the vehicle suffered only minor injuries, but the incident triggered an environmental cleanup project that caused a section of that street to close to through-traffic for more than six hours, resulting in detours, officials said.
An accident involving four SUVs occurred at the flagpole intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street at about 7:07 pm on June 20. Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps transported two people to the hospital, and Hook & Ladder firefighters responded to assess damage to the vehicles, and isolate fluids from vehicles.
The section of Route 34 located on a bridge positioned atop the hydroelectric Stevenson Dam will be closed to traffic for an extended period to allow for maintenance on the dam’s floodgates. The road closure is planned to last for a for a total of 90 hours. The Route 34 road section atop the dam will be closed starting at 6 am on Saturday, June 27, with the closure continuing for all of Sunday, June 28, Monday, June 29, and Tuesday, June 30.
The Board of Education decided unanimously during its special meeting on Wednesday, June 24, that Hawley Elementary School will not be closed for the 2016-17 school year, and the board will continue a general discussion on the best use of district facilities. No Newtown school, according to the meeting, will be closed for the 2016-17 school year due to declining enrollment. The decision came after nearly 2½ hours of public comment, which primarily focused on requesting the school board not close Hawley.