Neighborhood notes: What’s happening in Greenwich’s neighborhoods
Residents concerned about a controversial option to build a new electrical substation in town will have the chance to make their voices heard next month.
The Connecticut Siting Council, which has the final say on whether Eversource Energy’s plans for the substation will go forward, will pay a visit to Greenwich at 2 p.m. July 13 to tour the requested fourtes between the new substation and the existing one in Cos Cob and hold a public hearing.
The siting council is considering two potential plans for the new substation. One uses an underground connection from 281 Railroad Avenue to Cos Cob with feeder lines going underground through areas of Bruce Park guided by existing roadways. The project, which will cost Eversource about $100 million, would come with strict guidelines including restrictions on excavation and tree and vegetation removal. This option has the tentative support of town officials.
The second option, dubbed a “hybrid option,” will cost Eversource about $80 million, puts a substation at 290 Railroad Ave. and use a transmission line connected over steel poles on land between Interstate 95 and the Metro North Railroad tracks.
Greenwich town officials, including First Selectman Peter Tesei, town Commissioner of Public Works Amy Siebert and town Director of Zoning Katie DeLuca, have voiced concerns about the hybrid option, which uses property currently occupied by Pet Pantry on Railroad Avenue and comes with aesthetic and environmental issues, including a possible impact on a town sewer line.
Members of the public will be able to voice their views on the plan at the public hearing at 6:30 p.m. at Greenwich Library’s Cole Auditorium.
DeLuca spoke out against the “hybrid option.”
“Most ominous however, is the prospect of a new open-air substation next to the AirGas facility on Railroad Avenue,” DeLuca said. “It is important that the council see just how close the proposed 115,000 volt equipment will be to propane, oxygen, and acetylene tanks, equipment that can and often does, catch fire.”
Frank Poirot, head of media relations for Eversource, said utility officials would be attending the site tour and public hearing. While presentations from both sides are not permitted during the site visits, Eversource would be there to answer any questions the council has.
“Public comment is an important part of the siting process and we will be listening closely to residents, who are also our customers, throughout this process,” Poirot said.
Critics of changes planned for a key intersection in Old Greenwich have started a petition against the work.
The petition, available at www.savetheisland.org, specifically objects to the removal of trees and the traffic island at the intersection of Sound Beach Avenue and Forest Avenue.
Town Deputy Commissioner of Public Works James Michel did not offer a comment on the petition. A public meeting was held on May 18 and he said the project was thoroughly discussed but more public hearings will be held, possibly in September.
The project includes a bridge replacement on Sound Beach Avenue over Cider Mill Brook and improvements to the roundabout intersection of Sound Beach Avenue, Laddins Rock Road and Harding Road.
Michel said the bridge replacement was the original intent of the project, but traffic data, accident reports and neighbor complaints caused officials to look at the roundabout — which Michel said was not up to standard —and problems with drainage in the area, which can cause flooding during major storms.
“We’re going to get a proper roundabout in there very similar to the size and look of the one on Havemeyer Lane at its intersection with Northridge Road,” Michel said.
The project, which will be paid for by a state grant, is tentatively budgeted at $5 million.
“We wanted to hear public comments so we can best know how we want to proceed,” Michel said. “This is not a project that is set in stone at this point. It’s not like we have a contractor ready to start next week.”
The Byram Shubert Library’s annual book sale at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 55 William St, will be held June 8 through 11.
More than 205,000 books will be on sale at the library from more than 30 fiction and non-fiction categories. Things kick off from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 8 with a special preview night. For $20, bibliophiles can get first crack at sale items, which include a huge collection of gardening books.
The sale will continue through the weekend and culminate on Sunday with a “box and bag” sale.
Regular hours are Friday will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The sale is the only fundraising event of the year for the Friends of the Byram Shubert Library. Judy Crystal, a member of the group, said proceeds go to events and programs at the library.
Jerry Stinson, a member of the friends, said the book sale brings in almost as much as the annual community appeal for support.
“We’ve got people plugging away every week on this to get it ready,” Stinson said, singling out Bill Martin for working close to 15 hours a week sorting all the books by category.
Fiction and classics will be sold up top in the garage; down in the church basement there will be non-fiction and children’s books, DVDs and CDs. Stinson estimated there were 920 boxes for downstairs, not including all the DVDs and CDs and 400 more for the fiction books being sold.
“It feels great to be a part of this event,” Stinson said. “I was a teacher and I would always take my kids over to help set things up. Now that I’m retired, I am much more involved. It’s so rewarding not just because of the money it raises, but because I see so many people I know from my classes and from around town coming out and enjoying themselves. It’s great to see young people especially still interested in books. That’s not a universal phenomenon.”
Memorial Day weekend showed off Greenwich’s patriotic spirit as the town gathered from Byram to Old Greenwich for parades and ceremony to honor the memories of those in the U.S. Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice.
In Glenville, the Ninth District Veterans Association and the Glenville Volunteer Fire Company hosted their annual parade and memorial service. The parade culminated with a wreath laying ceremony at the monument on Glenville Street adjacent to the firehouse.
A crowd estimated at close to 250 showed up for the event. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumemthal (D-Conn.) joined First Selectman Peter Tesei, State Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-36th) and State Reps. Livvy Floren (R-149th), Michael Bocchino (R-150th) and Fred Camillo (R-151st). Greenwich resident Capt. Mark Turner of the U.S. Navy was among the VIPs at the event.
Turner’s appearance was notable as he is retiring after 30 years of service in the Navy serving around the world. Tesei proclaimed May 28, 2017, as Mark Turner Day in Greenwich in his honor.