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Cosgrove Confronted Over Inland Wetlands Appointments

by marcia chambers | Aug 20, 2015 11:44 am | Comments (4)

Marcia Chambers PhotoThe chairman of the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) and the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) minority leader last night chastised First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove for removing two long-term commissioners, including Dr. Richard Orson, one of the leading inland wetlands scholars in the state.

“This is a sad moment for the town of Branford,” Daniel Shapiro, IW chair (pictured above), told the three-member Board of Selectmen.

Shapiro, clearly upset, asked why Cosgrove removed Orson. He said Orson has a wealth of knowledge about local and state wetlands and water regulations. He said Orson, who holds a master’s degree in botany and a Ph.D. in wetland ecology, was considered the scholar and the scientific leader of the commission.

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Inland Wetlands Commission Seeks Legal Opinion on Appointments

by Diana Stricker | Aug 14, 2015 9:50 am

Diana Stricker PhotoCan you vote when you’re in limbo?

That’s the question the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) wants answered by the town attorney. Three of their members whose terms expired May 31 have not yet been reappointed by the Board of Selectmen (BOS) and no one else has been appointed. 

“This limbo should be addressed,” said Dr. Robert Orson, one of the state’s leading experts on wetland issues and one of the three whose terms are still undecided. Orson, who has served on the IWC for 18 years, wants to know if the three commissioners can still vote, or if those votes could be grounds for appeal.

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Two Branford Beaches Face Contamination

by marcia chambers | Aug 3, 2015 7:14 am | Comments (5)

Mary Johnson PhotoThe beach at Branford Point, one of Branford’s most famous public beaches, has one of the highest rates of unsafe bacterial contamination of any beach in Connecticut and Johnson’s Beach in Short Beach is not far behind.

With PermissionCurt Johnson, executive director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment’s bi-state Save the Sound program, told a recent meeting of the Branford Rotary Club that he was “shocked that the water sampling data collected by our East Shore Health District shows that Branford Point Beach receives a grade of D in the Sound Health Explorer. That makes Branford Point Beach among the five dirtiest swimming beaches in Connecticut,” he said. Johnson’s Beach on Clark Avenue in Short Beach received a “C” rating. 

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BOS Approves Solar Panels For Landfill Area

by marcia chambers | Jul 23, 2015 1:17 pm | Comments (1)

File PhotoThe Board of Selectmen (BOS) last night approved a solar panel energy contract for two separate systems, one at Ecology Park, the other on land adjacent to the landfill, specifically the town’s Tabor property. Both may well save the town $12 million over the next 20 years. The program is expected to be fully on line a year from now.

First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove told the Eagle after the meeting that ultimately the taxpayer will benefit because “by the town saving a half million dollars a year, that is a half million dollars we won’t be having to tax for.”

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Costco Makes It By Slim Margin

by Diana Stricker & Marcia Chambers | Jul 10, 2015 10:39 am

Marcia Chambers PhotoCostco has succeeded in its first step to building a warehouse store at Exit 56 in Branford. The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to approve Costco’s Master Plan and 44-acre Planned Development District (PDD).

After months of drama and debate, the actual vote elicited little reaction from the commission or the crowd. The opposition later told the Eagle they plan to talk with their attorney about a possible appeal.

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Cool Events Here & Elsewhere On July 4th Weekend

by marcia chambers | Jul 3, 2015 10:30 am

With parades, fireworks, concerts and backyard music of all kinds, shoreline towns, especially Madison, will celebrate Independence Day this weekend with a variety of public events.

In honor of the Declaration of Independence, the town of Madison holds three major events on Independence Day weekend, including a fireworks display, a parade and a concert. 

Friday, July 3


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AT&T Withdraws Cell Tower Application—For Now

by Diana Stricker | Jun 29, 2015 9:59 am

File PhotoResidents of Rose Hill Road who opposed cell tower construction in their neighborhood can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now. AT&T has withdrawn an application to build a 134-foot cell tower in the Branford Hills area of town.

AT&T attorney Christopher Fisher sent a letter Thursday to the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC), which has jurisdiction over cell tower placement. Fisher requesting that the application be withdrawn without prejudice, which means it may be re-submitted.

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P&Z Chair Says Farewell

by Diana Stricker | Jun 5, 2015 9:36 am

Diana Stricker PhotoEllsworth “Mac” McGuigan, the paragon of the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission, is saying good-bye after more than 30 years serving on one of Branford’s most prestigious commissions.

“I have submitted my resignation,” McGuigan said late Thursday night prior to the conclusion of a nearly four-hour meeting. “I’ve been trying to think of a diplomatic way to bow out for six months,” he said with a chuckle. His five-year term ends October 31, 2018. 

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Historic Bell Tower Comes Back To Green – Sans Bell

by marcia chambers | Jun 2, 2015 12:12 pm

Bill O'Brien PhotoBranford’s historic bell tower, perched on the Academy, the oldest building on the Branford town green, was badly in need of repair when it was adroitly removed from its perch last fall. Last week, in a complicated set of maneuvers, it was hoisted back up – but without its bell.

Bill O'Brien PhotoAs it turns out, the bell tower didn’t have a bell when it was first built in 1820 by the Reverend Timothy Phelps Gillett, pastor of the First Congregational Church. Rev. Gillett taught in the Academy and funded it to a large degree. He even provided the firewood.

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Will The Costco Master Plan Shrink?

by Diana Stricker | May 22, 2015 12:15 pm

Diana Stricker PhotoThere wasn’t any vote on Costco Thursday night, but it appears that three of the five Planning and Zoning (P&Z) commissioners may eventually approve the 44-acre Master Plan. The other two commissioners expressed serious concerns about traffic and economic impact.

However, there was general consensus that the amount of impervious surface has to be reduced, which could decrease the number of buildings and the size of the parking lots.

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