Developer, Housing Authority Optimistic About Appeal

by Diana Stricker | Feb 21, 2018 9:02 am

File PhotoThe developers of the Parkside Village housing proposal are optimistic that their legal appeal filed Tuesday will eventually lead to construction of the long-awaited affordable housing project.

Branford’s Housing Authority and its developers, Beacon Communities LLC of Boston, are challenging the legality of a recent decision by the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission which denied the project.

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Housing Authority, Developer Cite Bias in P&Z Parkside Decision

by Marcia Chambers & Diana Stricker | Feb 20, 2018 1:17 pm

The town’s Housing Authority and Beacon Communities, LLC. , the developer hired to rebuild the dilapidated Parkside housing project on S. Montowese Street,  today asked a Superior Court judge to reverse a January decision by the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission denying the Parkside Village 1 application.

Lead attorney Tim Hollister, an expert in the state’s affordable housing law, had a 14- page appeal served on the Town Clerk this afternoon. Hollister is a partner in the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford. The appeal will come before the New Haven Superior Court on March 20. Hollister represents the developer. Anika Lemar, who oversees the Yale Law School’s Community and Economic Development Clinic (“CED”) represents the Housing Authority. One of their first actions will be to ask the judge to transfer the case to the land use court in Hartford.

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Parent and Son Sue Branford School Officials

by marcia chambers | Feb 12, 2018 12:15 pm | Comments (2)

File PhotoTwo Branford teachers along with top school officials have been sued for negligence after a fifth grade teacher encouraged students in his class to end their friendships with a mentally challenged 11-year-old boy, saying the boy was a “troubled individual to be avoided.”

A 15-page civil complaint filed in September in New Haven Superior Court states the classroom exchange took place last May, and was between Peter Montecalvo, a fifth grade language arts and social studies teacher at Walsh Intermediate School, and the students in his class. The disabled boy was not in the classroom at the time because he was receiving other instruction, the complaint said. While not addressing the boy directly, the teacher provided information to his classmates that led them to reject and shun him, the complaint says. 

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Parkside Village Misses the Mark; Court Action Expected

by Diana Stricker | Jan 26, 2018 4:21 pm | Comments (1)

Diana Stricker PhotoThe Parkside Village 1 affordable housing project was defeated at a special Planning and Zoning (P&Z) meeting Thursday when one aspect of the proposal failed to gain a “super majority” vote.

Prior to the vote, the attorney for the developers asked that Commissioner Fred Russo recuse himself from voting. Russo said he would not step down, and voted against the proposals.

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P&Z Votes on Parkside Village Thursday

by Diana Stricker | Jan 22, 2018 9:07 am | Comments (1)

Diana Stricker PhotoThe Parkside Village I affordable housing proposal is headed for a vote Thursday, but whatever the outcome, it may end up in court. One member of the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission said he wants to deny the project and challenge it in court because in his view the law is too restrictive. 

The 5-member commission will vote on the Parkside proposal at a special meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at Fire Headquarters. A resolution to approve the project, with multiple conditions, is expected to be complete by that time.

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Kennedy Speaks About Silence

by marcia chambers | Jan 18, 2018 7:11 am | Comments (1)

Marcia Chambers Photo“Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about things that matter,” state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. said as he spoke the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., to roughly 230 people gathered at St. Therese’s Catholic Church in Stony Creek on Monday. Then he said the words again. And he said them slowly, so their meaning would be felt.

Dr. King’s words formed the theme for the annual King breakfast held each year. Jan. 15 would have been Dr. King’s 89th birthday, a birthday now celebrated as a national holiday. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, nearly 50 years ago this year. He was 49 years old.

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RTM Approves 3-year Teachers’ Contract

by marcia chambers | Jan 17, 2018 7:38 am

BCTVA three-year contract between Branford public school teachers and the Board of Education (BOE) gives teachers lower yearly salary increases than in past years, requires teachers to pay an increasing amount toward their health costs, and overall, makes significant changes in how the teacher salary system works.

The $22.4 million-a-year contract between the BOE and the Branford Education Association (BEA), the union for the teachers, runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. The BEA represents 283 full-time teachers down from 310 teachers in 2014. This means in the first year the $22.4 million contract will increase by $526.000. In the second year the contract increases by an additional $629,000 and in the third year by an additional $656,000.

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Representative Town Meeting Begins New Term

by marcia chambers | Nov 22, 2017 9:20 am

Marcia Chambers PhotoTwelve hours after he was sworn in as the town’s first selectman, Jamie Cosgrove presided over the town’s newly elected Representative Town Meeting (RTM). As required, he took their attendance, witnessed their swearing-in, oversaw the appointment of the RTM’s top officers and welcomed the town’s legislative body to its new term. 

The voters who gave Cosgrove a resounding victory over Democrat Lynda Mollow did so as well for the RTM. While the Democrats picked up one RTM seat, the Republicans won an 18-12 majority. Since 2013, the R’s have held a majority on the RTM.

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On Putting a Town Shelter in a Flood Plain

by marcia chambers | Nov 2, 2017 6:46 am | Comments (2)

News Analysis. Part 2
File PhotoWas it wise to place a town shelter in a flood plain?

The decision to make the renovated Community House-Senior Center a town shelter for the community in the event of a major hurricane was made without oversight from the Public Building Commission or the public even though the community house is located in a flood plain, off Meadow Street, a road that experiences serious flooding. (See top photo)

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Is the Town’s Public Building Commission Serving Its Municipal Role?

by marcia chambers | Nov 1, 2017 6:09 am

News Analysis. Part 1
With PermissionIs the town’s Public Building Commission ordinance serving its municipal role? An analysis of the first three projects to come before the commission shows each one taking a different route, in part because the overall ordinance is vague, ambiguous and, it turns out, advisory.

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) adopted the Public Building Commission ordinance in June 2014. The idea was that all building projects would be decided by one town building commission, a commission established and in place, not one created for a specific project as in the past. This was First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove’s idea when he was first elected.

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