The Haddam Land Swap's Twists and Turns

The more than year-long saga came to an end this week. Here's a look at some of the top headlines and stories from the controversy.


They petitioned the governor, organized rallies targeting state officials, testified before the legislature, held numerous public meetings and even lead a protest march through a popular local farmer’s market. But what finally sunk the so-called “Haddam land swap” were not the efforts of opponents, but simply the almighty dollar.

In the end, the 17.4 acres near the Connecticut River that the state tried to swap away for 87 acres of forest land in Higganum just proved to be too expensive to make the deal equitable for the state. The developer who sought the land, which it wanted to develop commercially, backed out of the deal Tuesday after negotiations deadlocked over appraisals for the river view land showed the property was worth $1.3 million more than the Higganum land. State law required the swap land to be at least as much as, if not more valuable than, the state land.

Though the financial impasse, and not the efforts of opponents, is what finally sank the deal, the swap opponents this week still embraced the outcome as a vindication of their efforts, in part because it represented such a major turn of events in the saga.

Here’s a compilation of many of the twists and turns in the issue over the past year.



Gene Bartholomew April 05, 2012 at 01:08 PM
http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/haddam-land-swap-appraisal-documents-now-available-online/ The above leads to the appraisal documents. What I found interesting in yesterdays article form the Courant was this: " Malloy signed the measure in July after first asking Esty his opinion, and the DEEP commissioner wrote him a letter saying, "On balance I believe that the State's conservation and recreation agenda is not harmed by this exchange." That was a switch from the department's position before Esty arrived; in fact, agency officials had prepared a draft of legislative testimony that said the swap would be "inconsistent with our policy on the exchange of preserved open space." It would seem that Esty arrived and was picked by Malloy with an agenda, not so much just the Land Grab, but to make the DEP more corporate friendly, which is the opposite of what it should do, it should protect the environment at all costs, thats its job, that is why the DEP was created. Despite this it seems there are still people in the DEP who adhere to this philosophy, they had the integrity to uphold these beliefs and protect public lands, even though I am sure they were pressured and some tried to con them with the loans from Liberty bank that tried unsucessfully to artificially inflate the value of the 87 acres. They are the real heros, I wish I could thank them, nothing else woud have stopped this.
Gene Bartholomew April 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM
And nothing else did. No one in power listened, no environmental agencies like Nature Conservancy helped, and for that I will never donate to any of them again. If a few in DEP had not held the requirements to the letter of the law this would have happened.
Keep the river front for all of us April 05, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I believe that there was a lot going on behind our backs that ---if revealed---could cause a lot of trouble for a lot of people and maybe even a bank. I really thank that is why the River House pulled out.
Gene Bartholomew April 05, 2012 at 08:33 PM
It's nice to think that, we all want to be able to say WOW LOOK WHAT WE DID. Truth of the matter is a lot of people worked very hard and lost a lot of sleep and years off their lives over this travesty of justice and it was going to happen anyway, politicians just will not listen to anyone anymore who doesn't wave a ton of money in their faces. Malloy is a prime example, look at him talking Education Reform, taking calls on WTNH here heard no one and just went on his rant. A corporation called StudentsFirst of all things is behind this, they, like the Bush family with NCLB, want to make billions of the nations schools, selling unneeded equipment and supplies and giving schools the power to fire teachers for no reason, to save money, they are being told behind doors that is the way to pay for this "reform", fire high paid teachers, replace them with kids, and send the money to StudentsFirst, a corporation which does not put students first, it puts $$$$ first. The only thing that stopped it was people at DEP with enough character and guts to stand up and say no, it stops here, but even then, it was down to Riverhouse not wanting to fork over 2 million. I'm thinking the 2 million in loans from Liberty could not be spent, it has to go back, and since the project won't go forward there is no incentive for Liberty to finance anything.


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