New IWC Regs Out; Old Ones In; Talks Begin

by Diana Stricker | Aug 13, 2016 7:52 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 1:10 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 12:17 pm

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 7:06 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 10:00 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 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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