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*UPDATED* Lawmakers Send Land Swap Plan to the State Senate

The Government Administration and Elections Committee approved moving the measure forward for a vote by the full Senate.

The state's Government Administration and Elections Committee voted to send to the full Senate a controversial land swap proposal in Haddam. 

The committee voted with little comment on the plan to swap 17 acres near the Connecticut River for 87 acres of forestland in Higganum is contained in a land conveyance bill that committee will vote on when it meets today at noon. The issue has become increasingly heated in Haddam over the last several weeks, as opposition to it mounts from residents and land preservation groups. 

State Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, inserted the land swap bill in the conveyance measure on behalf of the developers of the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station. The 17 acres abuts the Riverhouse property and the owners of the business have proposed building a boutique hotel on the site along with associated retail space. 

“Riverhouse Properties is grateful the committee recognizes the value of this land exchange for the state and its residents," said Trevor Furrer, managing partner of Riverhouse. "We pledge to work hard in the weeks to come reaching out to those with concerns and educating more people about the environmental and economic benefits of the project.”                         

Opponents, however, say the land is ecologically sensitive and should remain as open space. They also have complained that the land swap would set a bad precedent and could discourage others from donating open space to the state. 

Proponents of the swap say it would give the state 87 acres that abut the Cockanponset State Forest in Higganum and increase access to that state park. They also argue that the river land being swapped gets limited public use and would provide for much-needed development in the Tylerville section of town. 

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Keep the river front for all of us April 01, 2011 at 08:40 PM
If this goes through, it just proves that we, the people, have no say in anything.
Freedom of Speech April 02, 2011 at 01:16 AM
Yes, and it proves that we should have no faith in our Government. Where do we go from here? Bring on the barricades....
joni walker April 02, 2011 at 02:48 AM
my husband and i sit at eagle landing to watch river traffic and wildlife.and maybe bring a picnic.it's too bad that leaving it a riverside park is not an option. i guess the big priority is always going to be cash and destruction of open land. the people do not have a choice as we were never asked.
Money Man April 02, 2011 at 03:14 PM
When Phil Miller was just First Selectman of Essex, he was in favor of the land swap. Now that he's State Rep and Haddam is in his district, he's opposed. Is this a new, more enlightened Phil Miller, or a more cynical, calculating politician? I guess the campaign really does start the day after you get elected.
Lynn Herlihy April 02, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Just curious, what makes you think Rep. Phil Miller opposes the Land Swap? In both of his statements here in the Patch he started out being against it, but the last 2 paragraphs he was leaving it up to the Gateway Commission. Which part do we believe? He never made one definitive statement that I have seen to oppose this. He can't, Senator Eileen Daily is his mentor.
Lynn Herlihy April 02, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Ok, On CTnow.com Phil made a definitive statement he was against the Land Swap. I guess it is time for us to ask him to go on the floor and speak against it. I will be watching to see when it will be brought up. I'm pretty sure, the Patch won't let me down and will keep me informed.
Jane Boston April 03, 2011 at 01:51 PM
It's time to let them see just how much this 17 acre gem of river view open space means to the residents. Picnic anyone?
Joanne S. Roczniak April 03, 2011 at 07:33 PM
This bill moving through the house without comment sounds like the sameold-sameold. Who will consider donating land to the towns or state if the next business that has a use for it can come in and have his local rep submit the idea hidden in the depth of some other bill and have it move along as if no one will notice or care
Keep the river front for all of us April 03, 2011 at 08:15 PM
We already have a bed and breakfast in East Haddam and Haddam and I don't see them turning people away for lack of space.........why do we need a HOTEL ? Mr. Rocco never gave any details or "promises" regarding what he proposes to build on the property---I have no clue what a boutique hotel is ? This could set a very detrimental president and turn many people away from leaving any "open space" to Connecticut !!!!!
Money Man April 03, 2011 at 09:18 PM
First of all , the hotel wont even be on the property subject to the land swap. Second, you generally dont get to choose what we "need'> 10-12 years ago CVS wanted to open in Colchester and many poeple suggested that another drug store was not "needed". In general, you get what an entreprenuer is willing to invest in. What we "need" is a one billion dollar non-polluting micro-chip factory with lots of taxable assets and jobs for everyone. What we get is small businesses and, maybe, a hotel. How any sort of development will thrive over there without a theatre as the main, draw, I dont know. Thats the sort of question we should ask. If you had come to the myriad presentations given by Mr. Rocco you'd know exactly what he plans to build there. What I'd like to know is how he plans to make any money doing it.
Lynn Herlihy April 04, 2011 at 12:07 PM
We live in a country with a representative government, although I know it doesn't seem that way sometimes. The only thing you can do, is continue to call your representatives and senators and tell them NO. If you can spare the time, go to the General Assembly when this bill is going up for a vote. The Patch is extremely responsible in letting us know the dates and times. How about asking Land trusts and other preservation groups to increase our numbers. In this state, it helps if you let Democrats know your concerns, maybe they have more chance at lobbying against this bill.
l April 04, 2011 at 04:26 PM
ASPII, How do you think calling reps is going to change anything. When the reps have become complacent. They only listen to the people around them everyday. We have lost our individual voice. McHugh said it best and it proves the mind set of our leaders and big business. There view is to broad. McHugh, said before that concerns are raised even when there is no actual threat to local ecosystems. Far too often, people give too much weight to opposition groups and this opposition results in projects that never come to fruition. It is imperative that we move forward with this land swap project in Haddam for the sake of the state’s economy as well as its environmental wellbeing. Why should the towns worry about the state's economy before it's own. Town leaders try to impress state leaders, state leaders try to impress government leaders. Aspirations are great, but someone needs to start the change. We need local leaders that will seek out input form the residents, do the legwork, not wait for us to come to them. They are not our parents. We don't work for them, they work for us. Give us both sides of an issue, bad and good. The choice needs to be given back to the people. Don't forget just because you call doesn't mean they will, hear you, listen.
l April 04, 2011 at 05:00 PM
He will make money. It will be all inclusive. It will be a one stop shop for visitors. Like westbrook factory stores or clinton crossing. It won't be a small business, but it will put all the small business "Out of business". So I guess it would become River House At "Goodspeed station". The State may need a second ferry in Hadlyme. No one will be getting through Tylerville.
Money Man April 04, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I, do you read what you write before you click on "submit"?
Lynn Herlihy April 04, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Ok, I responded to I in the McHugh article. Here I will ask everyone else to call everyone to get them to stop this bill from going through. We do still have a General Assembly which represents us, they will vote for the most persuasive and persistent constituents.
Curious April 06, 2011 at 12:27 AM
The swap (sec 14) has been sent to the senate with rest of bill SB1196. The senate will review the bill and can remove the swap. Here is a link to the members of the Senate with their email addresses - tell them how you feel. Key people are Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and President Pro Tem Donald Williams http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/slist.asp
Lauren April 06, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Despite the fact that there is already a "Goodspeed's Station" that is a locally owned small business.
Lynn Herlihy April 06, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Thanks Curious. You are extremely knowledgeable about state government. I am learning or should I say relearning lots from you.
Jeanne Corvan April 06, 2011 at 07:04 PM
I think we have to follow what the people in Wisconsin and Ohio are doing. In the streets, organize recalls. That's how you make the government work. Every major change in this country has occurred because people were organized and visible in mass numbers. This strategy has worked with environmental issues as well. It can work in our area. As for Phil Miller or any other politician. Who cares what they say. What are they going to do and are they going to involve the public in whatever they do? Or are they going to promise to do what they can if we all sit quietly and not make waves.
Keep the river front for all of us April 06, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Money Man.........just where will this hotel be ?

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