The Zoning Board of Appeals this week granted a local industrial firm two zoning variances which the company sought toward its goal of expanding its corrugated cardboard container factory located on the corner of Schoolhouse Hill Road and Edmond Road. ZBA members on August 5 unanimously approved Rand-Whitney Container Newtown LLC’s request for the zoning variances concerning the maximum percentage of lot coverage by structures, and also the minimum front-yard setback distance. The 18.74-acre property is located in a M-1 industrial zone at 32 Schoolhouse Hill Road. The firm wants expand its factory from 127,500 square feet in floor area to 310,500 square feet.
Police report that relatively few vehicles passed through a sobriety checkpoint, which they held on the night of Friday, July 31, and early morning hours of Saturday, August 1, on Wasserman Way, near its intersection with Trades Lane at Fairfield Hills. Police checked about 350 vehicles that passed through the checkpoint. No arrests were made.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr, have announced that major customer service improvements, including the addition of new online services, will require DMV to close its offices — except for licensing services — from Tuesday, August 11, through Saturday, August 15. The department’s offices will reopen for all transactions on Tuesday, August 18.
Resident registered Democrats who can fulfill the necessary criteria by August 12 can petition their way onto this November’s local ballot to run for first selectman. There are similar openings for a Republican or Democrat in each of Newtown’s three Legislative Council Districts, as well as on the Boards of Education and Finance. Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead contacted The Newtown Bee July 30 after receiving a certified list that includes fewer names of party-endorsed candidates than the party is entitled to nominate for a number of elected offices.
Police report that while on patrol in Sandy Hook on the afternoon of July 29, they spotted a motorist who was suspiciously driving a vehicle back and forth on Alberts Hill Road. The motorist was later arrested on two charges. Two men associated with the driver were also arrested after it was determined they were planning to commit burglary, and each was found to be carrying weapons.
Police Commission members this week agreed that equipping town police officers with body cameras is a good idea that should be implemented at the police department. At an August 4 Police Commission meeting, Police Chief Michael Kehoe termed body cameras to be “a very important policy matter for us, and we want to do the right thing.”
In seeking to learn how best to improve congested traffic conditions at the five-way Main Street flagpole intersection, Police Commission members have hired a traffic consultant to study the troublesome junction, which has the second-highest local accident rate. The planned traffic study is the latest of a series of such studies since 2000 that have considered traffic problems the flagpole intersection. According to a recent statistical report from police, the flagpole intersection had 55 collisions from 2012 to 2014 inclusive. Most of the accidents involved vehicles colliding with one another, but others involved vehicles driving into the flagpole. Of the flagpole intersection public safety issues, Police Chairman Paul Mangiafico admitted it is “a very touchy subject.”
Newtown’s Public Building & Site Commissioners, who oversee most of the community’s public capital projects, unanimously selected Smith Edwards McCoy Architects of Hartford to design the Newtown High School auditorium renovation. The firm has a portfolio that includes a new performing arts center for Hartt School at the University of Hartford that was converted from a crumbling abandoned auto dealership, a recently completed part of a historical and ADA conformity renovation at The Old State House in Hartford, and a collaborator on a diverse range of projects at Wadsworth Atheneum over the past three decades.
Sandy Hook Promise, the national non-profit led by several families that lost a loved one in the Sandy Hook School shooting, recently donated $47,000 to help fund a year-long, four-phase resiliency program for members of the emergency response communities and their families. The program is organized by the Newtown Recovery and Resiliency Team and run by HEART 9/11, a group of 9/11 first responders that has helped other first responders, families, and communities heal and rebuild following tragedies.