Old Lyme Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting July 22, 2003
The Board of Selectmen held a regular meeting at 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 at Memorial Town Hall Auditorium. First Selectman Timothy Griswold, Selectman Skip Sibley and Selectman Tom Bice were present.
1. Approval of Minutes: July 7, 2003
Motion was made by Selectman Sibley, seconded by Selectman Bice, to approve the minutes of July 7, 2003 as amended: Page 2, middle of page, states prohibit motorcycles from occupying a single parking space should be changed to prohibit a motorcycle from occupying more than a single parking space. SO VOTED.
a. Emerg. Mgt. – KI Pills Available to Summer Residents
The State of Connecticut Office of Emergency Management communicated that additional potassium iodide pills are available at the Old Lyme Town Hall for summer residents and others who are working in the area on a temporary basis and have not received them.
4. Old Business:
a. Town Woods Park – Update
The Town Woods Park project is progressing well. Bob Dunn, Building Committee Chairman, will review the road access issue. Selectman Bice stated that concerns raised by Mr. Nichols have not been addressed. The Senior Center Board why the Town Woods Park Committee is making decisions about traffic control and safety? The Senior Center requested an independent review of the situation. Selectman Bice wanted to know what their status is on the Town Woods Park Committee, if any. First Selectman Griswold stated that the Town Woods Committee would look into it and give its response. Selectman Sibley suggested that the Town Engineer George Roberts could also look into the situation. First Selectman Griswold added that Vollmer was aware of the alternate driveway when the original design
was made and they are well acquainted with traffic studies. Selectman Bice asked if a different response could be made to the same request to the same body? He also asked if there was a conflict of interest between those building the facility with a limited budget and are now being asked to use some of that budget perhaps for some other purpose? First Selectman Griswold responded he does not feel it is necessary to spend money on experts to analyze something that experts have already analyzed. He further stated the Building Committee would look at the situation.
b. Sound View – Discussions
Selectman Bice noted that the owner of the Cool Moose is in the process of purchasing all the property south of the Cool Moose to the last building before Martino Road which indicates more interest in development and growth of that area.
Selectman Bice stated he appeared on behalf of the Board of Selectmen before the Zoning Commission’s most recent meeting and stated that the Board is prepared to unbundle the current SVDD proposal. He was asked if the Board is prepared to submit a formal application. When he asked about the procedures, the Zoning committee members said they would take the formal proposal and put it through regular channels. Zoning inquired as to whether the Board of Selectmen would be interested in one more ex parte meeting with them to talk about the contents in the unbundled package or is the Board of Selectmen prepared to submit an application and give them the portion that the Board believes should be processed first?
First Selectman Griswold replied that if the Board of Selectmen wants to unbundle the package, it would be wise to look at the parts, discuss them and have a meeting with Zoning before the actual submission. Selectman Sibley agreed. Selectman Bice said he would attend the next Zoning meeting and relate the Board of Selectmen’s decision.
Selectman Bice stated he would like the Board of Selectmen to consider initiating a formal investigation of the events that occurred Sunday, in particular, the accident involving Mr. & Mrs. Hogan and the events in and around the Pavilion. Several things happened that are not well documented in his mind and the minds of people in the area. The Board would do so in the capacity of civilian control over police activities.
When First Selectman Griswold asked Selectman Bice if he thought something inappropriate occurred, Selectman Bice asked what the appropriate civilian control is on the ground when such events occur? Selectman Bice would like a means of avoiding future serious injuries and the large number of State troopers who responded and occupied the Pavilion. First Selectman Griswold stated there should be a meeting with police personnel and examine the facts.
Sgt. Thomas Heinssen of Troop F was on duty on Sunday, July 20, 2003 starting at 10:00 A.M. He stated that the police report is public record after ten days. I-95 had several accidents that day creating a backup and diverting traffic down Rte 156 and Rte 1. The Hogans were on a motorcycle traveling westbound on Rte. 156 and an eastbound vehicle turned in front of the motorcyclist causing an accident. Selectman Bice asked if any police officer observed the accident and Sgt. Heinssen answered not to his knowledge. At 2:30 P.M. the same afternoon, Sgt. Heinssen observed a person running from the beach in search of a police officer to report a fight. While investigating the incident, the person became combative, was intoxicated and was arrested for his actions. The second party
involved was not apprehended.
Sgt. Heinssen stated that when alcohol is involved and there is a crowd witnessing a fight, there is apt to be cheers from the crowd making it an unruly situation. He decided to bring in more troopers. Approximately ten troopers responded as well as Old Lyme police officers. A bar check was conducted at the Pavilion looking for underage drinkers and other violations. The patrons were cooperative. Selectman Bice asked the following questions: Was the owner cited? Sgt. Heinssen answered he was not cited. Was he ordered not to sell liquor? The answer was no. Did you close the bar? No. How long after the threatening incidents were the other troopers called in? They were called in within ten minutes. What was said to bring them in? Crowd control. It was okay for them to speed down Swan Avenue with lights on? They are in emergency vehicles with lights and sirens on and until the people being arrested are in control, the officers continued responding. First Selectman
Griswold asked if such an incident would result in a referral to liquor control? The Sgt. responded that if liquor laws were violated, the incident would be referred. At this time, it has not been referred. Selectman Bice stated that people were distributing food without proper attire in front of the Cool Moose which would be in violation of the health code. First Selectman Griswold asked the Sgt. if this warrants a formal investigation or do you think the town should have a conversation with the police regarding this incident as well as overcrowding in general. Sgt. Heinssen answered that in the past several years when issues have come to the table, the police department, fire department and Board of Selectmen have met to discuss improvements. More No Parking signs are needed in the area in order to tow cars. Selectman Bice said he was in the area because he received six calls from residents in Old Colony Beach alleging there was
illegal parking on Gorton Avenue. The No Parking signs are old and the lettering has faded. Selectman Sibley suggested that instead of a formal investigation, the Board should actively look at how to prevent this from happening again and have an emergency meeting to resolve it. He suggested that the First Selectman convene an appropriate group. Selectman Bice congratulated the officers for their diligent work. To have a formal investigation would not be to investigate the officers, but to investigate the situation to include the bar, the band, and the level of noise. First Selectman Griswold stated he will reconstitute the committee with some possible changes to it and the Selectmen would be welcome to attend to discuss and prioritize what needs to be done. Selectman Bice stated that attractions for people to come to the Old Lyme beach area are the Pavilion, the Jib 88, Miami and Sound View Beaches. There must be a limit to the number of
people to safely occupy those areas. There is a standard set by the fire code as to the number of people inside the Pavilion, but not outside. There are four entrances and people could line up and be directed to one of the sites and determine how many could occupy the beach at a time and post the hours of waiting in line in public view at the end of Swan Ave and Portland Ave, etc. First Selectman Griswold said the meeting would occur next week.
Selectman Bice stated that a motion was made, seconded and tabled at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on July 7, 2003 to enforce the Noise ordinance as written and in all of its particulars. Selectman Sibley quoted the minutes of July 7, 2003 regarding this topic in which it was reported there was a vote. Selectman Bice disagreed that a vote took place. He further stated that the Health Department is not implementing that chapter. The ordinance states that the decibel rating is 55 for both commercial and residential in daytime and 45 commercial and residential at night with an ambient correction of 5 making it 60 during the day and 50 in the evening. The noise level at the Pavilion and the Jib is well over the limits. Selectman Bice requested the ordinance be enforced. First Selectman
Griswold agreed that the ordinance should be adhered to and will speak with the troopers. Selectman Sibley read the Noise ordinance chapter 95-21 which states that the Director of Health is hereby authorized to make, adopt, revise and amend procedural rules and regulations as deemed necessary to administer the purpose of this chapter and to interpret and implement the provisions thereof. Selectman Sibley interpreted this to mean that the Director of Health could delegate the police or other authorities he feels appropriate to enforce the rules. The vote taken was all in favor of the motion that the town government of Old Lyme enforce Chapter 95 entitled Noise as written and in all its particulars. Selectmen Bice and Sibley voted in favor and First Selectman Griswold voted against. SO VOTED. First Selectman Griswold said he did not think it is necessary to vote to enforce an ordinance.
Selectman Bice stated that people are suggesting a bicycle and/or walking path on Rte. 156 and this would be the time to seek the required easements. First Selectman Griswold stated that the first step would be to speak with a representative of the DOT to find out the extent of the State ownership of land to be sure that the width is satisfactory. If not wide enough, it would be necessary to acquire or condemn property to provide for a bicycle and/or walking path. Selectman Sibley suggested contacting CRERPA for help.
c. Information Systems Advisory Committee – Update
Selectman Bice reported that enterprise-wide now means municipal government and District #18. That will allow the town to consider the cost benefits of alternative ways of linking the town hall and other government operating facilities with District #18 and other information systems resources. Selectman Bice said the Leadership Committee is not meeting until the following question is answered: Should the committee look independently at the town and/or assess the possibilities of a joint arrangement? Selectman Bice reported that he feels the best two network consulting firms in the State are Cashman and Connecticut Computer Services. First Selectman Griswold stated that the town needs to see what District #18 is doing, get the users in town hall to be part of this and see if co-mingling makes good
sense technically and financially. If so, the town and the school could agree on an overall approach and quantify it. Selectman Bice suggested getting a new director of the task force. He stated he has attended a number of meetings traveling to different towns in Connecticut with no compensation for his costs.
He will not continue to do this because of the complications thrown into this.
Selectman Sibley made a motion authorizing the advisory committee to engage in District #18 process for the purpose of exploration and when the finance question arises, the task force will come back to the Board of Selectmen who will advise the Board of Finance. First Selectman Griswold seconded the motion. Selectmen Griswold and Sibley voted in favor and Selectman Bice voted against. SO VOTED.
5. New Business:
a. District #18 Borrowing and Building Project
Selectman Sibley summarized a recent Leadership meeting including the bonding and borrowing process taking place by District #18. The authorized budget for the reconstruction of the schools is $33,950,000 with a projected anticipated reimbursement of $9.9 million and funds to be provided through bonding of $24,048,000. The reimbursement rate is at 36.43%. $20,000,000 was previously bonded and the Leadership meeting recommended bonding an additional $4,500,000 to cover the project expenses and to provide a buffer. There will be a 90-day window to receive the money so the District will be able to borrow on a short-term basis to pay the contractor. The next Leadership meeting will be held in September.
b. Mid Summer Festival – August 2, 2003
The Mid Summer Festival will occur on August 1 and 2, 2003. There is a brochure on the events available. There will be a fireworks display on August 2, 2003.
c. Town Forum – August 20, 2003
First Selectman Griswold proposed that a Town Forum will be held on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 at the Lyme-Old Lyme High School at 7:30 P.M.
6. Public Comment:
Resident Jack Alexander indicated to the Board of Selectmen that there is a level of traffic coming off I-95 when there is a backup which exceeds the safe utilization of Rte. 1 and Rte. 156. When that traffic reaches a level which troopers consider to be hazardous to public safety, they should close the off ramps and meter traffic into Old Lyme just as they meter traffic into Sound View. We cannot continue to have the kind of traffic level that makes people careless and creates accidents.
Kathy Boulanger of Pond Road complained of the noise level from the boats. She also requested to be a member of the task force to relook at Sound View and the issues there. She feels more police staff is necessary to control the crowds that are made up mostly of young people bringing coolers onto the beach.
Dennis Melluzzo, President of the Sound View Beach Association, has observed that people exit I-95 at the Rocky Neck Connector, and when the State park is closed, they go to the Old Lyme beaches by way of Rte. 156. He proposed that the superintendent of Rocky Neck contact either the First Selectman or the other two Selectmen or the trooper in charge when Rocky Neck is closed. Mr. Melluzzo suggested contacting the owner of South Shore Landing and requesting cones be used to deter parking. He is also concerned about people bring hibachis and propane camping equipment onto the beach.
A summer festival will also take place at Sound View on August 2, 2003.
7. Other Business:
Selectman Bice wanted to discuss the interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act as it applies to posting of meetings for Board of Selectmen. The decision from Town Attorney Marylin Clarke is that it would be inappropriate unless it was posted 24 hours in advance. Atty. Jeremiah Donovan said that is the wrong interpretation. The Freedom of Information Act in this instance is not intended to protect the public at large, but rather to protect the minority member of the Board of Selectmen where there are majority/minority
party representation. He further stated it would be inappropriate for the majority to gather without first posting. The Board should seek resolution. First Selectman Griswold stated that when two or more Selectmen meet to discuss town business, the public has a right to be involved. He will ask FOI for an interpretation.
8. Executive Session:
Selectman Sibley made a motion to adjourn at 9:55 P.M. Selectman Bice seconded the motion. SO VOTED.
Eileen Coffee, Clerk