Newtown taxpayers will not become stewards of an antique air strip complete with a small air control tower platform, nor will they become de facto landlords over several residential homes on a key Hattertown 17.7-acre parcel already partly owned by the community and reserved as open space. A conservation easement will stay in place on the entire parcel, however, continuing to block large-scale residential or commercial development in the area bordered by Orchard Hill and Platts Hill Roads, preserving what land use officials call a key local “viewshed.” On November 17, the Board of Selectmen — with the concurrence of the Legislative Council about a week later — voted to reject an option to purchase most of the remaining Fulton estate.
The town is apparently poised to receive, at no cost to taxpayers, the home and property of 12/14 shooter Adam Lanza. The Legislative Council is scheduled to discuss and possibly act on the acquisition at its next regular meeting Wednesday, December 3. Legislative Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob told The Newtown Bee Tuesday that the acquisition was discussed among council members in a closed or executive session during its last meeting. But since possible action on the acquisition was not properly noticed to the public, Ms Jacob said, she put off action until this week. "We will only be discussing and possibly acting on the acquisition, not the disposition of that property," Ms Jacob said. "Any disposition discussions will take place when and if we decide to acquire (the property)."
The possibility of incorporating a residential element into Fairfield Hills redevelopment has again entered conversations, which will be opened to the public in December. First Selectman Pat Llodra on Monday, November 24, told the Fairfield Hills Authority members of two upcoming forums on December 6 and 11 “to address housing.” The two moderated sessions will be sponsored by three town agencies: the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Fairfield Hills Authority, and the Economic Development Commission. A residential component to Fairfield Hills development has long been a source of controversy, earning mixed public and official opinion. Past projects that included apartments or housing associated with a small school, for example, never took shape.
Plans for a community center and a proposed mental health facility filled conversation during the Fairfield Hills Authority’s meeting on Monday, November 24. The facility, to be located at Fairfield Hills next to NYA Sports & Fitness Center, would also serve the senior community. The center and the “broad spectrum of needs” it meets for the town would be constructed in phases, for which funding requests are also in the town’s Capital Improvement Plan, First Selectman Pat Llodra told authority members. Members on Monday also returned to the discussion of a proposed 100-bed behavioral healthcare facility by US HealthVest.
What can the town do to generate activity for demolition at Fairfield Hills? First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Fairfield Hills Authority members Monday, November 24, that town officials recently have had “quite a bit of discussion” about the question. She soon handed members a draft of Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) recommendations that include three $3.5 million requests over consecutive years between 2015 and 2018 for demolition.
A nonprofit group is resuming its fundraising drive to collect money that would be used to build a new police station for the 45-member town police department. Town police have long sought new quarters to replace their existing facilities at 3 Main Street in the building known as Town Hall South. Resident Scott Cicciari, a member of the Municipal Building Strategic Plan Committee, is spearheading the police station fund drive, which is mailing out a fundraising letter this week to about 11,200 local postal addresses, including residents and businesses. Although no location for a new police station has been designated, the group's fundraising target is $18 million.
The Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on a proposed overlay zone intended for high-density, multifamily housing, which would include an “affordable housing” component. The proposed zone is known as the Mixed-Use Mixed-Income-10 (MUMI-10) zone, reflecting its provision for mixed land uses, mixed income levels of its residents, and a 10-acre minimum site size.The irregularly-shaped parcel in question lies generally north of Church Hill Road, west of Walnut Tree Hill Road, south of Evergreen Road, and east of I-84.
Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are reviewing a range of concerns from residents who attended a November 20 public hearing on The Preserve at Newtown, a 23-lot residential subdivision proposed for Dodgingtown. Those concerns include the potential for damage to existing domestic well-water supplies, increased traffic flow, and high construction densities. The developers propose two clusters of single-family houses on the 167-acre site, where about half of the acreage would be designated as “open space” for passive forms of recreation under the provisions of the town’s “open space conservation subdivision” (OSCS) regulations. Such development also is known as “cluster housing.”
During a sobriety checkpoint held last weekend at Fairfield Hills, police stopped a vehicle to check on whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and then found approximately five pounds of marijuana in the vehicle’s trunk, resulting in the arrest resulting in the arrest of the vehicle’s five occupants on several drug charges.
The balancing act of providing field space for youth and adult athletics and accommodating a combination of the most competitive of those children (and their parents), as well as out-of-town players on travel and premier squads, has been a tricky one for Newtown Parks & Recreation officials. Newtown Recreation officials now hope some changes to the field use procedures will make Newtown residents happy while not shutting out nonresidents altogether. They also hope to maximize use of the town’s field space in the process. Beginning in the spring of 2015, field use will be regulated differently than it has for the past ten-plus years, with stricter rules for out-of-town residents. The Parks & Recreation Commission at its October meeting approved a change in the rules that now requires every team within an organization to meet an 80 percent residency requirement. Additionally, other policy changes are being considered to help ensure there is an equal opportunity for Newtown athletes to have field use.