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Edward O'Hanlan, attorney for the Town of Branford, hands a copy of his presentation to David Hardy, attorney for Crescent Bluff Avenue property owner Beachcroft LLC, during the June 12 RTM meeting. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Item Sent to Administrative Committee for Review
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Reasons for and against a proposal for the Town of Branford to take, by eminent domain, privately-owned Crescent Bluff Avenue and a lawn at the southern end leading to Long Island Sound were heard at the June 12 Representative Town Meeting (RTM), in presentations made by an attorney representing the Town and an attorney representing the property owner, Beachcroft LLC.
Attorney for the town, Edward O'Hanlan of Robinson & Cole, described the process and reasoning involved in acting to take the property for public purpose, to ensure the interests of Avenue residents and Town residents alike, and to protect and preserve services and systems (see related document). David S. Hardy (Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey, New Haven), attorney for Beachcroft LLC gave a presentation in opposition to the proposed taking of the privately owned lawn and road, noting Branford maintains more than 100 private roads in town, dozens which terminate at Long Island Sound. Hardy's overview also questioned the motives of the proposed action (see related document).
After the overviews were shared, RTM moderator Dennis Flanigan refered the agenda item to the RTM Administrative committee for review, with a meeting set for July 9. The items is "...to consider, and if appropriate, approve initiation of condemnation proceedings with respect to Crescent Bluff Avenue.
As previously reported here, on June 5, the Branford Board of Selectman voted unanimously to "initiate condemnation proceedings." By town charter, three other Branford government boards, the RTM, Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Finance, will need to weigh in as part of the process. Eminent domain proceedings also need to follow a state statutory process.
The Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC), has a "referral for condemnation proceedings for Crescent Bluff Avenue" presentation on its Thursday, June 13 agenda (7 p.m. at Canoe Brook Senior Center). The PZC referral to town, which is not a vote, would be based on whether or not the commission finds the taking is consistent with the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.