Environment

IWC Seeks Legal Opinion on Outside Consultants

by Diana Stricker | Sep 14, 2016 7:14 am | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) wants to clarify its use of third-party consultants when reviewing complex project applications. This is in response to the confusion that resulted last spring during the Costco public hearings.

“We had an interesting spring, with issues around the use of third-party consultants,” said IWC chairman Peter Bassermann. “And before we have an application in front of us where we may need to bring in a third-party consultant, I thought it would be worthwhile having a discussion.”

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Rising Seas, Tidal Wetlands and Affordable Housing?

by Diana Stricker | Sep 8, 2016 5:59 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission has two months to discuss a request to build affordable housing on what has been termed an “unbuildable” lot on Branford’s shoreline. The half-acre property is located in a flood plain, and contains tidal wetlands and an easement to an adjacent 20 acres of state-owned open-space property.

“We have time,” said Chairman Charles Andres following the close of the public hearing last week.  Andres said the commission needs to discuss and review all the documents and testimony before making a decision.  “This is something that I think we should take very carefully … and discuss it thoroughly,” he said.

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ZBA Rejects Controversial Shoreline Home

by Diana Stricker | Aug 17, 2016 12:30 pm | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo A Middletown man showed Branford’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) photos of the half-acre lot where he hoped to build a shoreline home, but the board denied his requests for variances, saying he knew when he bought the land last year it was not a buildable lot.

Diana Stricker Photo The ZBA voted unanimously to deny the variances after a two-hour public hearing Tuesday night that attracted about 50 people. The previous owner‘s request for variances was denied in January 2015.

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New IWC Regs Out; Old Ones In; Talks Begin

by Diana Stricker | Aug 13, 2016 6:52 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) voted unanimously Thursday to put the new 2016 regulations on hold for six months and operate under the previous ones.

This would also put a six-month stay on court proceedings involving four appeals filed in Superior Court by developers after the IWC adopted new regulations in May.  However, the hold or “stay” would allow the parties to continue to confer on the 2016 regulations with the idea going forward of resolving the developers’ appeals. 

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Former Chair Seeks State Takeover Of IWC

by marcia chambers | Jul 15, 2016 12:10 pm | Comments (2)

The former chair of the Branford Inland Wetlands Commission has asked the state’s energy and environmental protection commissioner to take over the function of the agency.

He proposed that the commissioner also place a moratorium on commercial development until an investigation is undertaken into the replacement of former members of the wetlands commission.

In a three-page letter to Rob Klee, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Danny Shapiro, who served as Inland Wetlands Commission chair for 22 years, asked Klee to intervene on behalf of an IWC “that has been battered. Specifically I am hoping that you will see fit to have the State take on the Commission’s function and place a moratorium on commercial development until this matter in our Town can be investigated.” 

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P&Z and ZBA Face Different Plans for Same Waterview Property

by Diana Stricker | Jul 14, 2016 11:17 am

With Permission Branford’s regulatory boards have scheduled public hearings next week on proposals to build either a waterfront single family home or affordable housing units on Pawson Road, across the river from Branford Point and overlooking Branford Harbor.

In other business, the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission recently approved plans to expand an orthopedic center on North Main Street, and discussed bylaws for the commission.The met in the community room at Fire Headquarters.

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It’s Time to Take A Walk in the Woods

by Emily Patton | Jul 11, 2016 6:06 am

Matt Reed Photo Though it may only be the beginning of the summer, it appears that Christmas came early this year for the members of the Branford Land Trust, who recently showed off their newest parcel of land – 29 pristine acres in the Red Hill Woods – to an active audience of 20 people and three dogs.

The walk on July 2 not only marked the area’s official opening to the public, it also celebrated a brand new trail, which will provide hikers with better access to the interior of the property, as well as direct access to the area’s wetlands and reputed Native American rock shelter. (See top photo)

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New IWC Chair Seeks To Educate New Commissioners

by marcia chambers | Jun 28, 2016 9:00 am

Marcia Chambers Photo The new chair of the Inland Wetlands Commission, recognizing a new group of commissioners lacks the environmental knowledge and depth they need to perform their statutory duties, says one of his primary roles will be to build up that knowledge. He also said the IWC must remain free of politics. 

Peter Bassermann, the new chair, told the Eagle, “I think my role here is to try to get that depth in the commission so that we can do our statutory job of protecting the wetlands.” Bassermann made his comments earlier this month after presiding as chair at his first commission meeting.

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Red Hill Woods Joins the Branford Land Trust

by Diana Stricker | Jun 14, 2016 6:00 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 11:41 am | 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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