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This Week: Vote on $2.8 Million Sewer Project

The bond proposal to build a sewer line — the subject of a Town Meeting vote on Wednesday, Feb. 26 — could open the Hawleyville section of town to development.

The Newtown Municipal Center at Fairfield Hills. Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre
The Newtown Municipal Center at Fairfield Hills. Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre
[Editor's note: this article was originally published earlier this month.]

Newtown voters will decide the fate of a $2.8 million sewer project during a special Town Meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m.

It's a project years in the making — and one that officials say could give Newtown a significant economic jolt.

The project would build a sewer line in the Hawleyville section of town, along a section of Route 6 and onto a portion of Route 25. Officials say the project will open up a world of possibility for development in the area, which is just off exit 9 on Interstate 84.

But before the project can move forward, residents have to decide if they want to take out a loan for $2.8 million to pay for it. You'll have that opportunity during a Town Meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the municipal center at Fairfield Hills.

As spelled out in the bond resolution, the specific areas that would be served by the sewer line are Route 6, west of Whipporwill Hill Road to Splendid Place, and along Route 25 to serve a section of Covered Bridge Road.

First Selectman Pat Llodra says the area contains three sizable properties that are "poised for development" — one is 100 acres, another is 40 acres, and a third is 33 acres.

The town has missed out on the development of those properties because of the absence of sewer lines, she says, recalling that talk of putting sewers in there has been ongoing for several years. Setting the stage for development, by constructing the sewer lines, will ultimately help create a better balance of the town's Grand List — to take some of the tax burden off of residents, Llodra says.

"I'm concerned about that balance," she says. "We need more presence in our Grand List."

Hal Kurfehs, chairman of the Western CT Economic Development Alliance, says the sewer project would give the area a needed jolt.

Kurfehs says anyone looking to develop a large parcel like those in the Hawleyville area is not going to put it in their playbook if it doesn’t have sewer lines. 

"It’s not cheap," he says. 

As for the town, Kurfehs says: "It’s like any investment … it can go south or it can blossom. You’re taking a risk, and if it turns out well you're a hero, and if it doesn't, you're something else.”        
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com February 14, 2014 at 02:45 PM
The women listed does not appear to have the resources to actually be the owner. I believe she is simply a way to keep the real owners hidden from public view.
Jenbo February 14, 2014 at 04:31 PM
People seem to be overlooking the logic here. You do not want new development on large parcels of virgin acres with a new sewer line. Why? You will get condos. That's not me just talking, that's the current market conditions. Look at Danbury. Look at Ridgefield. They put in the sewers and bingo, the condos came pouring in. Condos hurt your economics. 100 acres can hold 1000 condos. Data shows you will get 600 new school kids. The condos will pay $3,000 each in taxes, this totals $3 million in revenue. The school kids will cost you $9 million. The math doesn't work. It's a losing proposition.
Newtown Tax Payer February 14, 2014 at 04:52 PM
How about 55+ age restricted condos?
Jenbo February 14, 2014 at 05:11 PM
NTP, that would be a good start. BUT.... get it in writing. If the language of the referendum reads that only 55 and over condos can be built, I'll vote for it. Problem is, no one will ever put that in writing. It's too limiting to the builders. It limits the marketplace for sales. Good idea, but the builders won't go for it. Prove me wrong and I'd be a happy camper.
Newtown Tax Payer February 14, 2014 at 05:28 PM
55+ Condos are popular all over the Country. http://www.activeadultliving.com/CT/connecticut http://www.55places.com/connecticut/city/newtown http://www.tollbrothers.com/homesearch/mastercommunity?commId=12403&commId=12404
Jenbo February 14, 2014 at 05:33 PM
...then it should be no problem to get it in writing. As soon as you do that, I'll vote for it....
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com February 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM
This deal is no different than any other recent deal. Just like apartments at fairfield hills which just benefits the builders profits. This has already been decided,the fix is in. They will not disclose who the seller is and what the buyer will do, yet we give up $2.8 million. Clearly the seller benefits from a higher sale price, the buyer makes a nice profit on the development, and that's ok, but who is it that is really benefiting in Newtown? One way is to whatch what people do, and who is pushing the deal. Don't be surprised to see some familiar local names associated with this deal in the next year.
Claudia Cooper February 24, 2014 at 07:19 AM
Why do we need to develop it at all? More development has never lowered my taxes; it just gives the town more money to spend on its pet projects.
Paul Alexander February 24, 2014 at 09:05 AM
Sewers, Yes...a bond offering to pay for it, No. NO MORE DEBT. What's next, a bond offering to repair the roads??? Live within the tax revenue generated.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com February 24, 2014 at 09:18 AM
Paul you know they are already planning to do a bond for roads. That way they move the expense from the yearly municiap budget and into capital paid back ocher 20 years with interest. It makes the yearly town budget look smaller, yet the taxpayer pays morel.They did that with the bridge work already. They have used capital and re-bonding to camouflage big increases in spending, and at the same time refuse to divulge what they are actually spending up at Fairfield Hills.
Donna Ball February 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM
I live in Hawleyville and I don't want any new development AT ALL! I moved here to live in a lovely quiet little town and we are happy to pay the taxes the town requires for that. If people want development, let them move to bigger towns. Any other Hawleyvillagers out there????
Paul Alexander February 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Bruce, you need to hammer the points you made above into every Newtown Noggin.
Paul Alexander February 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Paying 20 year money to finance a project (road repairs) that has less than a 20 year useful life span is insane bordering on breach of fiduciary duty to the taxpayer, bordering on negligence, in my opinion.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com February 24, 2014 at 11:06 AM
Paul trying. This is one of the few vehicles to get the word out. Letters to the Bee help, but the Bee has become the Administrations Public relations firm and rarely discusses all sides of a story. It sometimes appears that they just ask what story and angle they should print. It would be nice to have a real discussion in the Bee, some years ago I asked if Curtis would consider a point counterpoint section and he said it would never happen. He had no interest is giving the other-side a chance to explain their point of view.
JWG February 24, 2014 at 05:09 PM
I am a developer and I have been living in Newtown for the past 13 years. I developed on Long Island and numerous other areas in the states and abroad. AND we allow a Long Islander to come in and develop we will end up like Long Island. A asphalt playground. I left Long Island due to the mishandling of projects and the forgotten promises. I did not want to be part of that environment. They know only 1 thing I am going to build it because I am not going to live there and I jut want to get my profit and move on. NETOWN STAND YOUR GROUND THE LONG ISLANDERS ARE TRYING TO LAND.
Douglas Brennan February 25, 2014 at 08:57 AM
Since the Sewers at Fairfield Hills were paid for by the Sewer Authority why wouldn't the sewers at Exit 9 be paid for by the same Authority? Because the money was wasted at Fairfield Hills.
philip palilla February 25, 2014 at 06:00 PM
We need a large turnout voting NO...See you all there.
Concerned Parent February 25, 2014 at 08:03 PM
I don't want a 55+ community. Move to FL! Stop running this town like the day you were born. Get the sewers in now and let's get some big businesses in there! Vote yes for some opportunity for tax revenue. Vote no to have your taxes continue to go up with no relief in sight.
Concerned Parent February 26, 2014 at 07:05 AM
What's wrong with Federal Road? Tax revenue for Newtown to lower our real estate taxes? I'm all in. Take your horse and carriage down south.
Bruce Kraemer February 26, 2014 at 07:42 AM
Concerned Parent. You are living in a dream world. Who's tax dollars do you think will support another Federal Road with police and fire etc? There is no way this town is going to begin to look into lower taxes. More tax dollars means more money to spend.
Concerned Parent February 26, 2014 at 01:00 PM
You're the dreamer Bruce. Go retire down south. The tax revenue will pay for it and then some. This is not 1920!
Bruce Kraemer February 26, 2014 at 01:45 PM
That's funny coming from someone that says "Tax revenue for Newtown to lower our real estate taxes?" Yea like that is going to happen.
Vincent February 26, 2014 at 02:08 PM
First off they are saying $2.8 million, but then with unforeseen issues any mistakes/omissions on the drawings or in the specs means cha ching cha ching huge cost over runs. at the taxpayers expense. Bring the owners/developers forward with plans/use for the property for everyone to review, then they should be the ones to foot the bill for the sewers that will be benefiting them mostly. Then they is the maintenance costs for the new sewer lines.
Vincent February 26, 2014 at 02:09 PM
These sewers could en up costing $3.5 Million.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com February 26, 2014 at 02:27 PM
Anyone notice the pattern developing. We spend $3.5 million plus interest for one property owner up at Fairfield Hills, we blockade Queen street for a couple of politically connect residents, we push to spend $2.8 million plus interest for three property owners in Hawleyville for sewers that will only benefit them, one construction company seems to be the only one named in every proposals up at Fairfield Hills. It appears to be very valuable to be connected in Newtown.
Concerned Parent February 26, 2014 at 08:57 PM
81-11. Game over! Excuse me while I perform my development touchdown dance.
philip palilla February 26, 2014 at 09:28 PM
With love...you are kidding...The 2nd to the last speaker made the most sense re: tax abatement credits. CT IS NOT COMPETITIVE. I would have moved my business out of this town long ago if I could. Keep dreaming of reduced property taxes.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com February 26, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Concerned parent you sure put one over the taxpayer . Well get a copy of the meeting to replay when the facts come back to roost.
Donna Ball February 26, 2014 at 10:12 PM
Great, Hawleyville will get Two Sewers for the Price of One! The one Fred will install underground, and the one that will come from blight, traffic, pollution, and scars upon the land! AND no property tax relief! Well done, Economic Developers!
Henery Hawk February 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Interesting comment Bruce. Did you vote against the sewers?

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