Sirens and flashing emergency vehicle lights were the first hint that more than 2,000 motorcycles were about to raise a long rumble past bystanders Sunday, August 30, for the 15th Annual CT United Ride. The ride, which started after 9/11, is both a tribute and fundraiser for family emergency relief funds for state police and firefighters and two local United Way agencies. Newtown Hook & Ladder Co. #1 and Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company had used their ladder trucks to suspend a large American flag over South Main Street, near Amaral Motors. Firefighters were also stationed outside the firehouses in Botsford and Dodgingtown, both of which were again passed during the 60-mile ride through ten towns.
After several months of meetings, the Community Center Commission is “still being very cautious and not voicing too much of an opinion” about specific ideas for the facility’s use, said Commission Co-Chair Andy Clure. The group is awaiting feedback from the public, for which there are several upcoming opportunities, including a survey, and open forums, he said.
A local builder/developer is proposing a new set of zoning regulations for “elderly housing,” which would allow detached single-family houses on relatively small lots in a subdivision, with each lot having its own water well and septic system. Kim Danziger of Danziger Homes, Inc., presented his regulatory proposal for elderly housing to the Planning and Zoning Commission at an August 20 public hearing. Mr Danziger told P&Z members that having such zoning rules in place would serve to improve the local housing stock. Elderly housing, also known as age-restricted housing, refers to housing designated for people at least 55 years old. P&Z members will continue the public hearing on the zoning proposal at their September 3 meeting.
In an apparent signal to state towns and cities to step up efforts to find greater efficiencies through regionalizing programs and services to residents, the Office of Policy and management announced late Friday, August 21, that Newtown will be losing about $70,000 in state grants this fiscal year from a PILOT or "Payment In Lieu Of Taxes" program. PILOT grant helps offset property tax losses from state owned operations like the Governor's Horse Guard and the Garner Correctional Facility.
Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are reviewing an engineering firm’s proposal for a new set of zoning regulations that would create a “design district” near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84. The move would add some flexibility to the commercial/industrial zoning regulations for an area that currently has B-2 (Business) and M-4 (Industrial) zoning. The land affected by the proposal lies along both sides of Church Hill Road within the area located between the eastbound lanes of I-84 and the Housatonic Railroad overpass. It also would affect land extending northward from Church Hill Road along Edmond Road. Starting in 2016, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to make a variety of road improvements along Church Hill Road, west of the Exit 10 interchange. That area has the town’s highest accident rate.
Shadows cast by a wide-brimmed hat shielded her eyes form late morning sun as Symba Nuruddin, from Berkley, Calif., pulled at weeds crowding a row of beets at Shortt’s Farm & Garden Center Wednesday, August 26. She and other Yale University students in the school's Harvest program spent the week working at the local farm. Ms Nuruddin and another senior, Margaret Shultz, an English major from Iowa City, Iowa, were group leaders this week. Ms Shultz, accompanied by Jacob Middlekauff from Princeton, N.J., and Harry Seavey from New York City, worked a row of tall, purple-green Swiss chard, plucking out damaged leaves.
Residents Kristen Bonacci, Aaron Carlson, and Casey Ragan are behind an effort to launch a Newtown Education Foundation to support the local learning environment.
The Newtown Education Foundation’s mission is to “enrich the learning experience for our students by promoting innovation and creativity through collaboration with the community,” according to a press release.
As the co-founders, Ms Bonacci, Mr Carlson, and Ms Regan announced the foundation on Wednesday, August 26.
Ms Bonacci said she thinks Newtown is the perfect town for an education foundation.
So far, six plaintiffs among the 16 plaintiffs who have lawsuits pending against the estate of Nancy Lanza have received probate court approval for settlements of their civil actions. The lawsuits stem from the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which Ms Lanza’s son, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first grade students and six educators. Attorney Angelo A. Ziotas of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP of Stamford said that Probate Judge Joseph A. Egan, Jr, of the Northern Fairfield County probate district has approved settlements for six of the 16 lawsuits. Mr Ziotas said he expects that all 16 settlements would be approved by the probate courts by early October, as the various cases proceed through the legal review process.
It appears Newtown’s Municipal Building Strategic Plan Committee is poised to recommend the current Hook & Ladder headquarters behind Edmond Town Hall be abandoned for future town use once the volunteer fire company relocates to new quarters next year. The panel, however, agrees the community should invest in several key improvements to the Multipurpose Building on Riverside Road — currently housing the town’s Senior Center and the Adventure Center preschool.
It also charged a consultant working on a space needs study and facilities analysis to determine whether Town Hall South at 3 Main Street could continue to serve the Newtown Police Department as a headquarters, once and if it is the sole user of that facility, versus sharing space with the emergency communications department, Parks & Recreation, Social Services and the registrars of Voters.
A major Hawleyville development proposal, which would include a 180-unit multifamily housing complex, a diner, and a church on land off Hawleyville Road (Route 25), has drawn many traffic-related questions and comments from residents of that area.
Those residents spoke at a heavily attended August 20 Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting that included two public hearings on different aspects of the development project proposed for land near the Exit 9 interchange of Interstate 84.
In one proposal, Covered Bridge Newtown, LLC, seeks to build a 180-unit rental apartment complex at Covered Bridge Road and also to construct a 4,160-square-foot diner at 13 Hawleyville Road.