Selectmen Updated On Hook & Ladder Plans, Parent Connection Lease, Facilities Study

The Board of Selectmen on April 21 received an update on the progress of Hook & Ladder’s planned new headquarters, authorized a lease for Newtown Parent Connection’s (NPC) new offices at Fairfield Hills, and continued planning for a townwide municipal facilities analysis.

Newtown Hook & Ladder representative Rick Camejo reported to the selectmen that he believed the signing of a contract to purchase property from Trinity Episcopal Church to site the company’s new headquarters was imminent.

He said company officials had met April 21 with church leaders to discuss and review any final issues related to the proposal, and that paperwork could be signed by week’s end.

Despite lacking a final contract, Mr Camejo said church officials were permitting engineers hired by the fire company to begin surveying and conducting soil tests on the parcel, which is on Church Hill Road between Main and Queen Streets.

He said that work was being done in anticipation of a swift and time sensitive series of meetings for approvals by town and Borough of Newtown land use agencies, the Police Commission, Water Pollution Control panel, and the Historic District Commission.

Responding to a question from Selectman James Gaston Sr about the property, Mr Camejo said it would afford the fire company a few options for building placement and traffic flow that previous sites did not. As a result, the exterior design will be very similar to previously showcased plans, but interior layout of the facility may change.

He said if all approvals and permits are granted, an official groundbreaking could occur by mid-summer, with possible initial occupancy by the summer of 2015.

Selectman Will Rodgers advised the fire company to get a signoff from the town’s Land Use agency regarding any requirements to the State Traffic Commission, because the site is located on a state road.


Newtown Parent Connection

After a wait of several months, during which First Selectman Pat Llodra explained there was a change in legal representation for the nonprofit addiction support agency, a lease was finalized permitting Newtown Parent Connection to begin renovations and to eventually occupy one of several duplexes on the former state hospital campus.

The terms that were unanimously approved by Mrs Llodra, Mr Gaston and Mr Rodgers with almost no discussion, provide the NPC ten years in the space at $1 per year rent, to be paid in full on a commencement date yet to be determined.

Thereafter, the NPC and town agree to the option for two renewals for an additional ten years each, for terms to be decided upon and negotiated at that time. The town agrees to allow NPC to utilize the common parking areas available upon the campus.

NPC agrees to pay an initial Common Area Maintenance charge (CANE) of $1,905.12 per year, calculated at the rate of $0.42 per square foot of gross building area (4,536 square feet), to be payable semi-annually.

NPC also agrees to pay the cost of bringing the utilities (sewer, water, electric, gas, telecommunications) from their existing locations to the premises; and agrees to pay its own utility bills (gas, electric, telecommunications) and for water and sewer use.

Building maintenance is the tenant’s responsibility. If NPC is unable to maintain the building and ongoing operations, the duplex will revert to the Town of Newtown.

No subleasing shall be permitted without express permission from Town because of potential impact to a state Department of Social Services grant award tied to this specific agency.


Facilities Study

The selectmen on Monday also briefly discussed a new planned facilities study. Mrs Llodra said the request for proposal (RFP) planning should begin shortly, and she was planning on inviting a consultant from Diversified Project Management, who worked on another town project, to attend a future selectmen’s meeting to help facilitate that RFP discussion.

Mrs Llodra also suggested the selectmen consider whether to appoint an ad-hoc committee to help oversee and coordinate information about the planned study. The selectmen also agreed to locate their respective copies of a 1999 facilities study performed by Kaestle Boos to review ahead of those discussions.

The first selectman said she plans to attend an upcoming Police Commission meeting to have a discussion about the future of Town Hall South, which currently houses the Police, Parks & Recreation, and Social Services departments.

She noted there is a committee that was organized to help raise funds for a new police headquarters, and she wants to learn more about that effort and the long-term needs of the department, to ensure future facilities planning overlaps anticipated needs of the police force.

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