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Borough Holds Annual Meeting, Starts Planning For 200th Anniversary



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With the Borough of Newtown’s 200th anniversary coming up in 2024, its Board of Burgesses got a jump on planning festivities at its September 13 meeting. The borough was formed in 1824, according to Burgess Jim Gaston.

Borough Warden Jay Maher said the event is 20 months away — but now is the time to start thinking about how to allocate the board’s time and efforts for the festivities in May 2024.

He suggested a “barbecue and beer at the borough” in the Ram’s Pasture celebration, and Burgess Sarah Phillips immediately volunteered to head up an ad hoc committee of three to five members to start discussing logistics.

Phillips suggested possibly having two events, a family-friendly one, along with another more formal event for adults. The ad hoc committee is not yet formed, but will be named by Maher at a future meeting.

Before its regular Board of Burgesses meeting, the borough had its annual meeting, a yearly tradition where the board receives yearly reports from each of the borough’s departments. The reports run from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Borough Conservation Director Rob Sibley’s report noted he had done 23 site plan reviews, 28 site inspections, and three violation inspections. He additionally produced two permit approvals and returned no permit denials for inland wetlands. He also performed four flood plain site plan reviews, 12 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reviews, and had three meetings with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and FEMA.

Fire Marshal Richard Frampton noted that in the borough, the Fire Marshal’s office had done eight school inspections for fire prevention; four day care center inspections for fire prevention, seven church and church building inspections, one group home inspection, four open burn permits, nine plan reviews, 121 business and professional building inspections, and one site plan.

Newtown Hook & Ladder had fought seven fires while answering 170 fire calls. The fire marshal’s office had done additional projects at 19 Main Street, 32 Church Hill Road, 33 Main Street, the Edmond Town Hall, 2 Boulevard, St Rose for the carnival, and 36 Sugar Street for tents and a maze.

Douglas Nelson, chairman of the borough’s zoning commission, noted in September 2021, it approved a text amendment that added Cannabis establishments as a prohibited use to the zoning regulations. The borough’s zoning commission also voted in favor of an application to “opt out of the installation of temporary health care structures (granny pods).”

Additional Reports Reviewed

At its October 13, 2021 meeting, the zoning commission voted in favor of an application to add definitions for dwelling units and accessory apartments to its regulations.

At its April 13 meeting, the zoning commission voted to approve applications of EK Legacy LLC for a site development plan, special exception, and village district approvals for construction of a 6,500 square foot medical office at 27 Church Hill Road.

At its June 8 meeting, the zoning commission started the process of reviewing its zoning regulations for proposed revisions, a process that is still ongoing. The process will take several months and a public hearing will be scheduled for the public to weigh in on proposed revisions.

A report from John Madzula, the chairman of the Borough’s Zoning Board of Appeals, said that on August 25, 2021, it approved an island ATM within the 25 foot setback from the road at the Savings Bank of Danbury, 20 Church Hill Road. Also on August 25, 2021, the board of appeals approved a variance to allow a 6,500 square foot medical building at 27 Church Hill Road.

The Borough’s Historic District held one public hearing to approve a replacement of the slate tile roof at the C.H. Booth Library, and approved certificates of appropriateness for the replacement of five existing Historic District signs by the Board of Burgesses and the Borough of Newtown.

In other Borough news, Maher reported to the Board of Burgesses that site plans for pedestrian improvements including sidewalks at Sugar Street are “substantially done” and will hopefully go out to bid soon. The project will go from Elm Drive to Baldwin Road, according to the site plan.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Maher.

Maher said the Borough still needs right of way easements for the north end to accommodate the sidewalks, and a wetlands permit has been filed.

The original estimate for the sidewalk replacement was $180,000, approved by the board in February, but a renewed estimate will have to be gotten and Maher anticipates the cost will be “a little more.”

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