LIBRARY EXPANSION DEFEATED
The residents of Voluntown voted Tuesday to kill a proposed expansion to the town’s library but to save the historical Methodist Meetinghouse. The proposed library expansion project began with a $400,000 matching grant from the state. Library director Cathy Rubin said plans began with an estimated $800,000 cost but the project, and the price tag, grew to $2.7 million. The project would have doubled the library’s square footage and added a community room, which would be open to public programming. Rubin cited Voluntown’s lack of a senior center as a catalyst in the program’s growth.
WE DID NOTHING WRONG
The three Groton Utilities officials who participated in a controversial retreat to the Kentucky Derby in May 2016 testified Tuesday before the Groton Board of Ethics that when they were invited on the trip they felt obligated to go because of their jobs. Groton Utilities Director Ronald Gaudet, GU General Manager of Utility Finance David Collard and Groton Utilities Commission member Edward DeMuzzio said they felt they had to go as part of a team building exercise. They said going on the trip didn’t interfere with their ability to do their jobs, impair their judgment or create a substantial financial interest for them. They said they behaved respectably on the trip and don’t believe they violated the city ethics code.
MAKING WAY FOR BURGER KING
Three vacant houses on Town Street in Norwich have been sold for a proposed development into a Burger King restaurant and drive-through. The three parcels, abut the southerly portion of an historic colonial era cemetery and are nearby the Norwichtown Historic District, the original 1659 settlement. Some residents are against the proposal. A nearby McDonald’s, built in the 1960s, sparked outrage from historic preservationists and led to the creation of the local historic district. The city council approved the zoning amendment 6-1.
ORIGINAL OTIS FOR SALE
The City of Norwich is planning to show the original 1850 Otis Library building at 80 Broadway to potential buyers soon. City Manager John Salomone said the sale would include the building, and an adjacent parking lot off Broadway. A request for proposals will be available by mid-September, according to an announcement published on the city’s website. They will be due at City Hall by 2 p.m. Oct. 20. The brick exterior, 5221 square foot structure and parking parcels are being sold as a package and in “as-is” condition.
FIRMIN OPTS FOR INDY RUN
Wes Firmin has announced that he will run independently for first selectman of East Lyme in the November municipal election. After the Republican Town Committee endorsed incumbent First Selectman Mark Nickerson, Firmin, a Republican, had announced that he would collect signatures to force a Republican Primary. Earlier this month, he said he had enough signatures to qualify for a primary, but decided against it. Firmin said he wanted to save the town money.
NS CHANGES ZONING REGS
Proposed changes to the town of North Stonington’s zoning regulations on the western end of Route 2 could allow for larger scale development, including outdoor recreational facilities, if they are approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The changes could transform the western end of town, into a more commercial corridor. A public hearing will be held in Town Hall on Thursday, Sept. 7th for residents to comment on the proposed change.