Environment

Red Hill Woods Joins the Branford Land Trust

by Diana Stricker | Jun 14, 2016 7:00 am | Comments (1)

Branford Land Trust A lush 29-acre coastal forest with walking trails, streams, an overlook, and a Native American rock shelter will be preserved and open to the public, thanks to the efforts of the Branford Land Trust.

“Red Hill Woods adds to the large area of already protected coastal forest. It protects a lot of habitat and it’s going to be a real asset in terms of passive recreation,” said environmentalist Bill Horne, who is a member of the Land Trust’s advisory board.

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Cosgrove Guts IWC; State Investigation Sought

by Diana Stricker | Jun 2, 2016 12:41 pm | Comments (3)

Diana Stricker Photo First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove succeeded in removing another three members from the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) Wednesday night, but the ousted chairman said he will ask the state to take over the duties of the local IWC and place a moratorium a new commercial development until an investigation can be conducted.

In less than one year, Cosgrove has removed six of the 10 members whose terms expired. There was one vacancy due to death, so only three of the 10 people who were serving last summer are still on the IWC.

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Will Ahern Get IWC Review Results Before Commissioners Get Canned?

by Diana Stricker | May 19, 2016 7:21 am | Comments (1)

Diana Stricker Photo Third Selectman Jack Ahern told First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove he wants to know the outcome of the town’s review of Inland Wetlands personnel before any votes are taken to replace commissioners.

Ahern addressed the issues at Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen (BOS) held at Fire headquarters. The Inland Wetlands commissioners, whose terms expire May 31, were not on the agenda, but several appointments and reappointments to other boards and commissions were made. Ahern said he didn’t receive the agenda with the listing of names until the day before the meeting.

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Cosgrove Accuses IWC of Abuse of Power

by Diana Stricker & Marcia Chambers | May 13, 2016 4:59 pm | Comments (12)

Diana Stricker Photo The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) voted 4-3 to adopt a revised set of regulations Thursday, saying it would be an “injustice to the town” to postpone the vote. Their action elicited a harsh reaction today from First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove, who called the vote “an unprecedented abuse of power.”

Cosgrove chastised the commission for not waiting for a legal review of the regulations before voting at its meeting last night at Fire Headquarters. Costco had sought to develop a 158,000-square-foot warehouse store, along with a 16-pump gas station on land near exit 56, off I-95. Late last month Costco pulled its application a few days before the the inland wetlands commission (IWC) was set to begin deliberations and possibly vote. 

 

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Branford’s High-Rise Residents

by Sally E. Bahner | May 10, 2016 7:00 am | Comments (3)

Sally E. Bahner Photo Ospreys have taken up residency for the third year atop a power pole along a busy thoroughfare in town, returning from their winter digs in Central or South America.

Sally E. Bahner Photo Heading west on West Main Street, near the new Amtrak railroad bridge, you can see the nest atop a light pole if you glance left when stopped at the stoplight.  Sometimes one of the birds serves as a lookout.

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Shoring up Branford’s Coastal Neighborhoods

by Diana Stricker | May 9, 2016 7:10 am

File Photo Frequent flooding on Meadow Street and Hammer Field could be reduced by installing a flood gate and a pumping system. That’s one of numerous community-wide options discussed in Branford’s proposed Coastal Resilience Plan. The plan outlines changes in neighborhoods from Short Beach to Stony Creek and includes upgrades in drainage systems in specific areas. 

The draft of the comprehensive plan was presented at an informational meeting Tuesday by town engineer Janice Plaziak; and engineer David Murphy of Milone & MacBroom Inc. of Cheshire. The federally-funded plan has been in the works for several months, and previous public sessions were held in November and February.

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Costco Bows Out For Now

by marcia chambers | Apr 27, 2016 12:13 pm | Comments (7)

With Permission Costco yesterday pulled an application to build a new warehouse store off Exit 56 of I-95 — a move that comes as no surprise given that it may have been headed for a regulatory denial.

Costco’s attorney pulled the application a few days before the inland wetlands commission (IWC) was set to begin deliberations and possibly vote. 

Attorney Thomas P. Cody, who has led the Costco team, acted as a final decision neared in what has been a long regulatory process, beginning some 18 months ago when Costco first submitted a Planned Development District (PDD) application to the Planning & Zoning Commission. The PDD was narrowly approved by a 3-2 vote and remains in effect. 

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Costco Public Hearing Ends on Sour Note

by Diana Stricker | Apr 18, 2016 7:20 am

Diana Stricker PhotoThe Costco public hearings that began in January ended near midnight Thursday after clashing testimony from both sides, ranging from highly technical scientific debate to reactions about allegations of impropriety.

The main question that remains is— whether the 44-acre commercial complex proposed near Exit 56 adversely impact the wetlands on the site.

The Costco team says there won’t be an adverse impact; and the opposition says there will—and they are asking Costco to provide alternatives to reduce the size of the project.

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IWC to Hear Dueling Costco Arguments

by Diana Stricker & Marcia Chambers | Apr 11, 2016 7:03 am

Latest Costco Filing UPDATE—The hearings for the 44-acre Costco commercial complex at Exit 56 may end this Thursday, and the deadline is nearing for the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) to make a decision.

Two of the questions the IWC will be weighing are whether the proposed Costco and seven other commercial buildings would adversely impact the wetlands—and whether “prudent and feasible alternatives” could lessen the impact. So far the occupants of the seven other commercial buildings have not been identified.

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Peer Review Consultants Say Costco Should Downsize

by Marcia Chambers & Diana Stricker | Mar 12, 2016 1:42 pm

Marcia Chambers Photo Two peer review consultants told the Inland Wetlands Commission Thursday night that a proposed 158,000-square-foot Costco warehouse should be downsized and that the 16 pump gas station should be eliminated or relocated. 

The proposed Costco project at Exit 56 spans three sites and includes the warehouse store and seven additional commercial buildings, plus the gas pumps and a liquor store. 

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