Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed the bill that contains the controversial “Haddam land swap” measure, a move that will see the state give 17.4 acres of land it owns near the Connecticut River to a private developer in exchange for 87 acres the developer owns in the Higganum section of town.
Senate bill 1196, the so-called “omnibus” conveyance bill, was signed into law by Malloy this morning, despite strong opposition from environmental groups from around the state and strong grassroots opposition in Haddam and beyond.
Both residents and environmental organizations had said the land swap would set a dangerous precedent of trading away state conservation lands for development and discourage future land sales or donations to the state.
Under the trade the owners of the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station would get the 17.4 acres and will seek to build a retial development at the site, as well as a boutique hotel and other commercial projects that would complement their banquet facility. The land abuts the banquet hall business in the Tylerville section of town.
While Malloy’s approval of the measure comes as no surprise to opponents and proponents alike – he was widely expected to sign it – it represents a major blow to grassroots activists who had fought the swap.