We reached out to both the Haddam Republican Town Committee and the Haddam Democratic Town Committee and asked candidates to respond to a set of questions; if a candidate did not respond, their name is listed, so that you know who is running for each office. Updates from all candidates are welcome, and will be published as Letters to the Editor. The questions posed to the candidates were:
Peter Baird (Democrat)
My wife Jane and I moved to Haddam 17 years ago, and have raised two children in town. For the last twelve years, I have worked as a social and health policy researcher for a company called MDRC, evaluating ways to increase employment and improve the lives of veterans and people with disabilities.
I love Haddam for its character, people and natural beauty, and am a regular customer at all the businesses near my home in Higganum Center. Supporting our great local businesses is key to our town’s health! You’ll also frequently see me hiking and bicycling around town and enjoying our scenic beauty.
I previously served for six years on the town’s planning and zoning commission, which made me very familiar with our zoning regulations and the challenges we face in encouraging and supporting growth while retaining our special atmosphere. Recently, I was deeply involved in the effort to save and protect Haddam Elementary School.
While restraining spending is a key to keep our taxes affordable, another part of that strategy must include developing lively, walkable, and livable spaces for our town centers in order to make it a desirable place to live. With the purchase of HES and the creative thinking about inexpensive public septic systems on that property, and with clean water in Tylerville, we now need to consider important residential and commercial development that can make Haddam a more attractive place to live. I also firmly believe that we need a better location for the town garage, preferably outside of the town center. Haddam’s natural beauty and access to our river is a key part of the town’s renewal and growth.
I look forward to serving all of Haddam to the best of my ability and working with our new town planner and all Haddam citizens in building a better future for our town.
Liz Bazazi (Democrat)
I am an avid gardener, a lover of the outdoors and a registered architect. I founded Bazazi Design 30 years ago. Working as a sole practitioner, I have designed buildings in CT, RI and MA. As a mixed-use advisor, I have conducted stakeholder outreach and market research in anchor use feasibility for large-scale development.
I moved to Haddam in 1996 so that my then-10-year-old could benefit from the excellent schools. I quickly discovered I was in hiker’s heaven. More importantly, I felt truly embraced by the community. I literally made friends over the garden fence, as my street is part of a popular neighborhood walking loop. My son & I swam in The Res with neighbors and, in a place where business-owners knew us by name, I was comfortable letting him walk or bike to the center alone. I was so smitten by my little bit of heaven that old friends said I sounded like a commercial for Haddam. I love my town and my neighborhood!
The 1885 home that I bought and renovated is one of the many worker’s cottages built on ¼-acre lots by Higganum Manufacturing in what was then the vibrant, walkable live-work-learn-play village we now strive for. There have only been 2 owners of my house, each living here for 50 years. I, too, plan to live out my days in this cozy home, this friendly neighborhood.
But, like every town, Haddam has its challenges. In the mid-century, the many factories built on Higganum’s waterways began to close, leaving a legacy of contaminated properties. Old Route 9 (now 154), which carried hordes of beachgoers and others to our shops, was replaced with a freeway that diverted our commercial traffic. At a time when urban renewal held sway, the old Farmers & Mechanics Bank razed critical Victorian mercantile buildings and built car-centric ones that turned their back to the public way and placed a drive thru at the primary intersection. Jobs, services, goods, and walkability were lost and with them social and economic vibrancy. Furthermore, to achieve a small dense buildout, modern health standards require community wastewater treatment. Speaking with a developer 10 years ago, I was told that attracting development to Higganum was unlikely because, “There’s no there there.”
The key to progress is keeping your eye on opportunities. Scovil IV, the long low brick forge, situated along candlewood brook and adjacent Higganum Green has been recognized by the CT Trust as an outstanding example of 19th century mill architecture. For 2 decades, its adaptive reuse has been viewed as the catalyst for revitalizing Higganum. With DOT finally gone and the contaminants identified we are stepping closer to creating a place that could bring both jobs and tourism to Town. Upstream, for example, Scovil III is fully leased, providing incubator space for entrepreneurs—I rented studio space there for 3 years. Similar concepts have been floated for Scovil IV.
While Higganum has long been the economic and social heart of Haddam, Tylerville has benefitted from Swing-bridge traffic but has yet to truly capitalize the potential that more closely associating with East Haddam village, could yield. Creating a mirror (in terms of scale and scope) of East Haddam on our bank would benefit both towns. The building of a pedestrian way on the bridge would stitch the 2 solidly together.
For over two decades, historic- and eco-tourism have been seen ways to achieve economic growth without forfeiting our small-town charm. The views of the Connecticut River from Swan’s Hill and Valley Railroad state park are unparalleled in our state. We have made gradual but consistent progress on this front, as well.
Community service has been a big part in my life. In 1998, I was appointed to the Higganum Village Revitalization Committee, tasked with implementing the investigation of contamination on 4 key former industrial properties as a first step toward their eventual redevelopment. In 2006, I founded the Higganum Vision Group, a non-profit whose volunteers took on many projects, including: Higganum Farmers’ Market; visioning sessions and an action forum, the results of which was incorporated into Haddam’s ‘Plan of Conservation & Development’ (POCD); a plan for a pedestrian network linking Higganum Cove, Swan Hill, and Reservoir State Park; and Higganum Cove events that were the impetus for the remediation of this superfund site. In 2013, I was appointed to the Higganum Master Plan Committee. In 2018 I joined the SaveHES effort, out of concern that closing a neighborhood school would have a negative social and economic impact on the village.
This past March I was appointed to fill a vacated alternate seat on Haddam’s Planning and Zoning Commission. It takes decades to achieve a community’s vision for the built environment. This position is the logical continuation of the work I’ve done for Haddam over the last 23 years. I’ve attended every meeting, rigorously research the issues before us, let our POCD inform my decisions, and remain a steadfast advocate for community engagement.
The SAVE HES movement showed that people from all corners of Haddam could transcend politics and come together to achieve a common good for the community. A common vision for Haddam was also apparent in the many visioning sessions conducted in 2012. I believe most of us want the same thing for Haddam—vibrant social and economic centers with our smalltown charm, our open space and historic buildings intact, a place where shopping, services and variety of housing needs are provided, where we find social connectedness. That’s why I fully embrace the slogan, “Haddam Unite.”
I ask you to support my bid for a regular seat on the Planning and Zoning Commissioner this November so that I may continue to work toward realizing our community’s vision for Haddam.
Steve Bull (Republican)
Steve is a long-time resident of Higganum. He was born here and attended HES through 4th grade. In 1982, he returned with his then wife Marcie, and raised three children on Skunk Misery Road.
Steve has been a Planning & Zoning Commissioner since 2007, just in time to catch the tail end of the previous Plan of Conservation and Development. He chaired the most recent POCD, and currently heads up the POCD Implementation Committee.
The pleasure that Steve gets from serving as a Commissioner is hearing and meeting with many townspeople he would never have had the chance to meet and discuss their plans, suggestions, and arguments over various issues. Recently the P&Z Commission had the opportunity to write regulations for the Higganum and Tylerville villages. The process was not without its issues, but that process and the deliberations and compromises that were made resulted in regulations that we all can live with.
Liz Glidden implemented many great things for the town. Steve expects that our new town planner Bill Warner will do the same. He is looking forward to working with Bill so that there will be many more great things for this town.
Garin C. Greenholt (Democrat)
Since I moved to Haddam two years ago (From Hanover, Pennsylvania) with my wife, Rachel, I have quickly grown to love it. As we are now seriously looking to start a family and buy our first home in Haddam, my commitment to the future of this place is getting stronger every day. To help our town continue to move in a positive direction, I would be honored to serve on Haddam’s Planning & Zoning Board.
I hold a dual bachelor’s degree in economics and business, and I have a strong interest in city planning and environmental preservation. My experience with planning and zoning stems from volunteering with the City of Middletown throughout 2018. While there, I was helping to plan easier access routes to Harbor Park, researching eco-friendly transportation methods and how to incentivize businesses to support them (i.e. electric vehicle parking stations and bicycle friendly pathways/rental stations), as well as routinely updating their Plan of Conservation and Development.
With the issues facing Haddam today, I believe the first step is hearing what the citizens of Haddam desire and then developing an appropriate game plan from there. The organized charrette in October should provide us with enough insight and feedback to figure out the best location for the Public Works expansion, the future of the HES property (whether it be senior/affordable housing or not), and the multitude of possibilities for empty buildings like Scovil Hoe in Higganum Center.
In closing, I firmly believe a small town like ours will benefit from a fresh point of view, and that is exactly what I would like to provide. If we work together, disregard political affiliations, and create an even stronger sense of community, I believe we could accomplish more than we ever thought imaginable.
Jamin Laurenza (Republican)
As current Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Jamin played an integral role in the interview process of the ARC Review Committee and hiring our new Town Planner. As a ten-year veteran to the Commission, the knowledge and experience that he brings to the table is instrumental as he continues to see Haddam move forward to a better balance of residential and commercial development.
Jamin takes pride in being a lifelong resident of Haddam, it’s where he and his wife call home and raise their family. He attended American International College in Springfield, MA earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He is very involved in the community and local youth sports. Jamin is a volunteer soccer coach and truly enjoys having a positive influence on his players.
Jamin is an influential member of the Commission; he works hard to keep lines of communication open with all applicants and residents, working towards a positive balance for both while keeping within regulations. He’s proud to have businesses like GCI or otherwise remain in town and not look elsewhere to expand. And while the closing of HES is upon us, Jamin looks forward to working with the town to move Higganum Center in a direction that will further prosper, as it once did. He supports our small-town USA status and feel, however there needs to be positive business growth and development to help with the tax base.
Dan Luisi (Republican)
Dan moved from West Hartford to Haddam 26 years ago. He chose Haddam for its rural country feel, yet with close access for commuting to his business. He started Dan’s Customs Counters in 1984 when he was 24 years old, and had to survive in many different economies to keep the doors open for 35 years.
Dan is running for the Planning & Commission to try and keep to the values of our country town while still maintaining growth with a common sense approach. With Higganum Center, we have to be practical and do what makes sense for our town and its residents while keeping taxes down. With manufacturing all but gone in town, we have to think of new ways to create population to support more business while maintaining our town’s charm. We all agree that we love our town.
Alan Chadwick (Republican) Planning & Zoning Alternate
Alan Chadwick is a retired Engineering and Facility Manager, having spent over thirty years working for a local turbine blade manufacturer. Starting as an apprentice tool and die worker, Alan returned to academia to earn an AS degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Waterbury State Technical College, a BS degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Utah State University, and an MBA degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford, Connecticut.
Alan and his wife Lori moved to Higganum in 1976 where they raised their family before moving to East Hampton in 2005. Last year they moved back to Haddam and are currently building a home in town to be near their two children and five grand-children.
During his years in Higganum, Alan acted as his own General Contractor building two houses, remodeling three older homes, and building another home in East Hampton. Alan is a 40-year member of the Higganum Congregational Church where as a trustee, he worked with a team successfully adding classrooms and remodeling the social room of the church.
As a Planning and Zoning Commission Alternate, Alan’s knowledge, background and experiences with construction would help the commission with the many challenges ahead restoring Higganum Center and other Planning and Zoning projects throughout Haddam.
Marie Lippincott (Democrat) Planning & Zoning Alternate
I’m a Connecticut native with a great love for historic New England. Haddam has stolen my heart with all that makes it unique and beautiful. When choosing a place to raise our family, my husband and I felt that Haddam was an easy choice. We are currently renovating our historic home in “Shailerville” and continuously exploring the area and it’s history with our four-year-old son.
Now is a critical time and I believe listening to the people of our town is the first step, as we can benefit from the many creative minds and ideas. The new information regarding a community septic system, the prime soil of the HES property and the possibilities that alone affords is exciting. Through careful decision-making and smart planning, we have an opportunity to revitalize Higganum and attract the people and businesses that will help us to do that. Our POCD serves as an excellent guideline and resource as well.
I am eager to serve, if given the opportunity, to represent our community’s vision for the future of Haddam.
Larry Maggi (Republican) Planning & Zoning Alternate
As our current Haddam Selectman, Larry Maggi has the relevant experience and knowledge to be well-qualified to serve as Alternate on the Planning & Zoning Commission. He is the owner and operator of Fireworks Hearth and Home and also All Equipment & Party Rental on Bridge Street in the Tylerville section of Haddam. That makes him a successful local businessman for over 25 years.
Larry has served on numerous boards and organizations. He has been a member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, Haddam and East Haddam Division for about 15 years. As a 25- year member of the Haddam Lions Club, he acted as President and Vice-President. In addition, Larry served on the Haddam Youth Center Board of Directors, and was an Assistant Basketball Coach for Haddam Parks and Recreation. If you see new American flags flying along Haddam’s Saybrook Road, Larry was instrumental in organizing the Flags Across Haddam project.
Larry Maggi loves the town he lives in. He believes that his experience as an established business owner and as a current Selectman help to foster good relationships between town businesses in Haddam and our town villages. There are a great many opportunities coming up for Haddam, and Larry believes that he can contribute to positive growth for Haddam, while keeping in mind the values and atmosphere of our lovely town.
Patrick Reardon (Democrat) Planning & Zoning Alternate
I’ve lived in town for the past 23 years with my wife and two sons. We enjoy the rural beauty and people of Haddam.
As an Army veteran, I know what it means to give back and serve the people. I decided to run for the planning and zoning commission because I believe in our town and want to use my expertise and experiences for the betterment of all residents. Haddam has many big decisions to make in the coming years.
As a director at Griffin Electrical Contractors, I have unique project management experience with both the municipal and private sector, and have managed multi-million dollar projects over the past 25 years. These experiences will lend a hand in tackling the biggest issues facing Haddam, most notably the planning in Higganum Center.
Soon the town will have to decide what to do with Haddam Elementary School, the town garage, and the Scovil mill property among others. My experiences can help smoothly guide the process so that Haddam residents get the best possible outcome with the most input. I believe it’s a balancing act between economic decisions and careful municipal planning.
With an open mind, I will listen to all residents and will reach out to you for your thoughts on our most pressing planning and zoning issues. Together we can make our town thrive, for current residents and for the future generations of Haddam.
However, a town can’t thrive without a good plan. I ask for your vote so that I can help give back to my community and plan our way to a bright future.
Thank you for this opportunity.