The hotly contested Haddam land swap was approved by lawmakers late Wednesday, clearing the way for the state to give the land overlooking the Connecticut River to developers in exchange for forest land in Higganum.
The Senate late Wednesday afternoon voted 31-5 in favor of the swap. The House late last night voted 90-58 to approved it.
The proposal, vehemently opposed by residents and numerous conservation groups, would see the state trade 17.4 acres of land in Tylerville to a development team in exchange for 87 acres of forest land that abut the Cockaponset State Forest in Higganum. The developers, who own the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station, want the 17.4 acres for retail development that would complement their banquet facility.
Melissa Schlag-Proulx, who has spearheaded efforts to defeat the bill, said she was upset by what she described as misrepresentations of the land swap proposal by lawmakers who voted for it.
"There's been a lot of mistruths and misinformation stated during the Senate proceedings, which prove this has not been properly vetted through any committee."
She also said one Senate amendment to the bill would require that the proposal be reviewed by the Department of Environmental Protection. DEP Commissioner Daniel Esty has come under increasing criticism in recent days for not taking a public position on the land swap measure. The land was purchased several years ago using DEP land conservation funds.
The property is located off Bridge Street and overlooks a pivotal section of the Connecticut River that includes views of the river, an iconic metal swing bridge and the Goodspeed Opera House.