By Meghan Peterson
The Haddam Board of Selectmen (BOS) held a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in the Haddam Neck Firehouse. First Selectman Bob McGarry and Selectmen Kate Anderson and Sean Moriarty were present, as was JoAnn Ricciardelli, Assistant to the First Selectman.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, meeting agenda was approved, and minutes for the September 13, 2021 meeting were approved. There was no comment from the public during the first comment period.
First Selectman McGarry provided an update on a range of topics. Discussions about the Rossi property are ongoing. Haddam Town Planner Bill Warner and environmental engineers have met with McGarry as well as with the attorney and environmental consultants both for the Town and the Rossi parties for plans moving forward. Contamination and fuel oil concerns are small and “should not be an issue to remediate,” McGarry explained. A fuel oil spill on site would constitute a larger issue to address. In terms of remediation, Haddam is going to do “additional site exploration.” Rossi has agreed to clean everything up, McGarry said and further noted that the Town is “getting good representation.” On October 4, 2021, the Town signed a fourth extension to the property purchase agreement. “We do our due diligence,” said McGarry, adding that “Rossi has been very willing to speak with us.” Finally, the property purchase would need to go through several processes of input from Haddam residents – including the Board of Finance, Planning & Zoning, and a Town Meeting to approve or disapprove.
For the Scovil hoe project, the Town has met with the CT Department of Economic and Community Development. The developer and DECD are in conversation about agreements that need to be in place to have the property remediated and acquired from the Department of Transportation.
In terms of road work projects, the Town has recently purchased a paving box (a capital purchase) to conduct short-term, immediate fixes to roads that require them. Anderson inquired if Little City Road was on the plan for next year. McGarry stated that it will likely be a multi-year project, as conditions range from “pristine to little more than a cow path.” The state has also scheduled drainage work on Killingworth Road/Rt. 81.
On Town personnel matters, Gary Vivien, Haddam’s building inspector, submitted request for retirement. As a result, the Town is looking to hire for that position. Zoning Enforcement Officer Jim Puska has passed away. The Town thanks him for his service and work. CT State Trooper Josh Muckle, who has been filling in for the second Resident Trooper position, has been selected to be our new Resident Trooper (joining Trooper Joe Deangelo). McGarry said that Muckle was “clearly the best out of the group,” during his observation as part of the interview panel.
For cell phone service updates, McGarry said that he has been in dialogue with Homeland Towers about bringing an interested carrier to town. Please see “Cell Phone Service in Haddam” by First Selectman McGarry https://hk-now.com/cell-phone-service-in-haddam/ for more information.
On the topic of private projects, McGarry highlighted plans for an approximately 40-unit apartment project (primarily 1 or 2-bedroom units) on Bridge Road (site of the former ecotourism center) were submitted for architectural review. This project is in the conceptual stage. Plans have also been submitted for the 1572 Saybrook Road/southern corner of Brookes Court (former site of the Whole Harmony Apothecary). In this case, plans for architectural review include commercial medical and restaurant space.
Anderson noted that the “Welcome to Haddam” signs have returned and that many people appreciated them. Haddam River Day (October 2, 2021) was “a big hit, a lot of compliments, and a lot of folks helped to make it happen,” Anderson explained. She also noted that there is a vacancy on the Economic Development Committee and if interested, to contact her. She added that the EDC meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
Prem Aithal, member of the RSD #17 Board of Education provided an update, covering a range of topics such as strategic planning, summer curriculum work, emergency repairs, HK Cubs program, coronavirus shot submittal matters and welcoming the new superintendent of RSD #17, Jeff Wihbey.
Tax refunds were approved.
Under new business, Linda Talbott from the Haddam Sustainability Committee provided a presentation on bringing food waste recycling (composting) formally to Haddam – specifically, via the Transfer Station. She explained that 20-22% of waste in Connecticut is food waste. She described one option for the community would be to provide a food waste bin at the Transfer Station and contract with a vendor (she cited Blue Earth Compost, Inc. as such a vendor) to remove the waste to an off-site location. The idea behind this effort will be to convey detailed information for Haddam residents about this option including elements like a fee structure for its usage and the role of an individual to monitor proper use of the food waste bin (as well as instituting a fee for its usage). The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved this effort as well as initial allocation of monies for it within the Transfer Station budget.
During the second and final public comment segment, Kristin Battistoni, Haddam’s Tax Collector and member of the Sustainability Committee, thanked Talbott for seeing this project through.
The meeting adjourned.
The next BOS meeting is scheduled for November 8, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.