All posts by Dave Bechtel

May 2019 Meeting Minutes

Welcome.  President Dave Bechtel opened the meeting and asked everyone to introduce themselves.

Announcements and Committee Updates:

  • Library Committee:
    • Connie Matheson announced that the 3rd Annual Whitneyville Branch Library fund raiser was a success, netting $1,873 that will be donated for library materials and activities.
    • As per Phase II of our plan, new carpeting has been installed.
    • The committee is looking for new members.
  • Music Committee:
    • Deirdre Dolan announced that the committee is set to hold concerts on the 3rd Thursday in June, July, and August in DeNicola Park, with a rain location in Whitneyville Cultural Commons.
      • June – Jazz
      • July – Sing Along
      • August – Klezmer
    • About 80 – 100 are expected to attend each concert.
  • Officer Elections:
    • Mark Foran was elected WCA President
    • Deborah Maldonado was re-elected Treasurer
    • Scott Matheson was elected Secretary to fill out Mark Foran’s term.

Dale Kroop, Hamden Economic and Neighborhood Development:

Guest speaker Dale Kroop was introduced.

  • Dale noted that Hamden is updating a Long Range Economic Plan that involves five towns.  The plan is updated ever two years.
  • Commercial property is doing well, with a 95% occupancy rate among shopping centers.
  • The Whitney Center is the town’s largest employer after Town Government and Quinnipiac University.
  • The Canal Crossing apartment complex is planned for seven buildings totaling 393 units.  Four are currently 100% occupied.  A fifth unit is expected to open in August.  A significant number of tenants are employed by Yale.
  • The town is investigating the possibility of bringing high speed broadband internet access to Hamden. Stiff opposition is expected from Comcast and Frontier.
  • The Plan of Conservation and Development is expected to be finished in this fall.
  • Retail projects were discussed.  Ulta has completed the move from North Haven, while Marshalls and TJ Maxx have reduced their store spaces.
  • Putnam Place was discussed.  When Stop and Shop pulled out and no other grocery chain wanted it, Porter and Chester relocated there.  CVS is coming, as well as a trampoline amusement.
  • The former Hamden Middle School was discussed.
    • Remediation is almost complete.
    • A developer has been selected to create 57 elderly housing units, of which 30 will be mixed income.  It’s expected to open in 2022-23.
    • The gym will be converted into a community center.
    • Business incubator with space for 20 tenants is planned.

Dale then took questions, which included:

  • Responding to a question regarding the commercial district, he noted that Whitneyville doesn’t qualify for HUD loans for façade improvements and lobbying is necessary to obtain funding from other sources.
  • Regarding the status of Powder Farm, he stated that the 131-acre property is owned by the Olin Corporation, which is under a consent degree to clean it up.  The cost is estimated at $8 to $10 million.  There has been interest in private acquisition for open space.
  • The new fire station on Putnam Avenue will occupy 3 ½ acres.
  • The 115-room Marriott Residence Inn is under construction again in Centerville.
  • There has not been a lot of interaction between the Town and Quinnipiac.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.

May 3rd Annual Whitneyville Library Fundraiser

Support your local library, the heart of our Whitneyville community, and celebrate Spring at the same time. Join friends and neighbors on Friday, May 3rd from 6-8 pm at The Playwright Banquet Room, located at 1232 Whitney Avenue.

Enjoy complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, games, door prizes and good conversation. Lightheartedly called “Books & Booze” (with alcohol optional of course), net proceeds will be used by the Whitneyville Branch of the Hamden Public Library to support expanded programming and provide additional resources for residents and families in the community. Tickets are $30/person.

See our flyer for details and to mail in your donation.  You can also RSVP online.

Sponsored by the Whitneyville Civic Association.

March 2019 Meeting Notes

Welcome.  President Dave Bechtel opened the meeting and asked everyone to introduce themselves.

Announcements and Committee Updates:

  • Officer Elections
    • There will be elections for the offices of President and Treasurer at the May WCA meeting.
    • Term limits require a new President, while position of Treasurer can be filled by the incumbent.  Deb Maldanado is willing to continue in that role.
  • Treasurer’s Report
    • The Gardening Committee account has a balance of $3347.82.
    • The WCA general account has a balance of $1,238.26.
  • Annual Meeting on May 16
    • State Senator Martin Looney and Hamden Economic Development Director Dale Kroop have been invited to speak at the next WCA Meeting.
  • Music Committee:
    • Deirdre Dolan announced the lineups for the 5th Annual Music in the Park series.  Concerts will be held on the 3rd Thursday in June, July, and August in DeNicola Park.
      • June – Jazz
      • July – Sing Along
      • August – Klezmer
  • Merchants Meeting:
    • Liz Hellwig reported on a meeting held with local merchants regarding business concerns in Whitneyville.
      • Parking was the major issue.
      • The intersection of Putnam and Whitney Avenues.
      • Potential for sidewalk sales and other events.

Proposed Tree Planting Program:

Bob Pattison gave an overview of the program:

  • Tree planting usually occurs on Saturdays using the town’s overtime account.
  • Given other issues (including the tornado cleanup), it probably won’t happen this year.
  • Bob proposed that the Town procure the trees and deliver to the civic associations for volunteer planting.  Mayor Leng likes the idea and will consult with the Hamden Tree Commission about implementation.
  • Bob also mentioned that the switch to LED street lighting is ongoing.  He has proposed that the Town purchase and operate the lights instead of paying UI (United Illuminating) to do it.  Mayor Leng likes the idea.  Expect the process to happen in the next three months.

Hamden Tree Commission:

Susan Sternberg gave an overview of the Tree Commission’s work:

  • The Commission aims to get a Town Tree Ordinance passed.  This will enable Hamden to apply for grants.
  • A tree pruning workshop will be held at Bassett Park on Saturday from 9 – 10:30 AM.  The rain date is March 30th.
  • A tree walk will be held at Broken Arrow Farms.

Legislative Council Update:

Justin Farmer, Legislative Council Member representing Whitneyville, spoke on several issues.

  • He noted that the overtime for tree planting comes from the leaf collection budget.
  • A new Town of Hamden website is in development.  The Town is looking for local input before finalizing the design.  It is expected to go live in July.
  • Mayor Leng presented his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which would total $230 million.
    • $84 million is earmarked for education. 
    • The proposal incorporates a one mil increase in the tax rate.
    • Five new police would be added, of which 3 would be stationed at schools.
    • Pension payments would be at 85% of full funding.
    • The budget also anticipates $2 million in union concessions.
  • Justin’s primary concerns as a councilman:
    • More transportation infrastructure
    • Conversion of street lights to LEDs
    • Broadband internet access for the town
    • Universal pre-K program
    • New firehouse on Putnam Avenue
  • Justin mentioned that he is now on the Children’s Center Board.  They are looking into possible fund raising strategies.
  • Justin urged residents to use the See-Click-Fix website to report local issues to the Town.

New Business:

  • Mike Lockett briefly announced that Mayor Leng is considering creation of a Traffic Advisory Committee.  There was a discussion of the WCA’s participation on this committee.
  • The status of the Waite Street reconstruction project was also discussed.  After the meeting, Town Engineer Mark Austin gave this update:
    • The Town has applied for the acceptance of the project at the CT DOT and are waiting for a response.  It has been there about 4 months now.  The Town is planning on bidding the Engineering Services shortly.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.

March 21 Meeting Announcement

Please join us on Thursday, March 21 at 7:00 pm at the Hamden Board of Education, 60 Putnam Avenue, for our next Whitneyville Civic Association meeting.  In honor of spring, we will discuss trees — including Bob Pattison (Spring Glen Civic Association) sharing a tree planting proposal and Susan Sternberg discussing Hamden Tree Commission plans for the year. Justin Farmer, our representative on Hamden’s Legislative Council, will also provide an update on the budget process.

Plan of Conservation and Development Letter

Whitneyville Civic Association (WCA) and Spring Glen Civic Association (SGCA)Neighborhood Input Regarding Planning and Conservation Strategies

While we generally endorse the strategies listed in Hamden’s Briefing Booklets, the WCA and SGCA have suggestions and priorities regarding several areas of the plan, per feedback from civic association meetings and discussions among civic association leadership.  They are outlined below, with reference to the appropriate Briefing Booklet section.

Briefing Booklet 4:

Preserve Open Space (p. 13)

Item A1b:

We believe that access to the Farmington Canal Trail could be improved, specifically at its intersection with Mather Street. We suggest modifying Item A1b to read:

 “Farmington Canal Trail as a central spine and with improved access points to maximize this feature”

Item A3c:

We are concerned that the Powder Farm remains a natural area without means of public access; members suggested implementing the Land Trust’s plan for passive recreation and connection of the site to the Canal Trail.  We believe that the Plan should address the issue of acquiring new open space. We suggest modifying Item A3c to read: “Continue to seek opportunities to partner with other organizations (such as the Hamden Land Trust) to preserve and improve access to open space.”

Address Coastal Issues (p. 15)

Item A4:

We wish to clarify the meaning of access to the Mill River to read: “If appropriate, seek ways to enhance boating access… to the Mill River, including Lake Whitney and the Quinnipiac River.”

Promote Community Character (p. 21-23)

Item A1g:

Traffic calming continues to be an issue in Whitneyville and other areas of Hamden. Members suggested adding a left turn arrow at the intersection of Putnam Avenue and Newhall Street, and filling in of gaps in the sidewalk network.  We suggest modifying to read: “Roadways, including traffic calming.”

Item A1h:

This item does not exist.  We suggest adding it: Mass Transit, including light rail.”

Item C6:

We believe that the Town should develop, in concert with public utilities a plan to systematically provide existing trees with appropriate replacement. We suggest this item to be modified to read: Plan for the preservation, maintenance of and planting of trees for their visual, environmental, and scenic benefits.


We are concerned that the Town has no central information center, such as a community calendar.   We suggest modifying it to read:  “Continue to promote community-wide events and activities through multiple media.”

Item E4:

We are concerned that there is not enough parking in the Whitneyville business district.  We suggest modifying it to read: “Seek to establish and maintain gateway features at major entry/arrival points to the Town and its villages, including improved parking.”

Items E3 and E5:

We particularly endorse efforts to brand and improve signage in the Whitneyville, Spring Glen, Mount Carmel and Centerville business districts (including historical landmarks).

Briefing Booklet 5:

Become More Sustainable (p. 3)

Item B4:

We particularly endorse the LED streetlights effort underway, including the potential for the Town to purchase streetlights.

Overall Sustainability

We encourage Hamden to expand regionalization of services, building on the successful example of the regional Health District.  This will support the long-term sustainability of Town services.

Briefing Booklet 6:

Reinforce Overall Community Structure (p. 4) and Enhance Spring Glen / Whitneyville Centers (p. 8)

We endorse these action steps, particularly Item A1: “promote and encourage missed use, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented development”  and Item E3.  In WCA meeting, members cited the walkability of Whitneyville as one of the most important aspects of the neighborhood.  We endorse efforts to connect new developments such as Canal Crossing to the business district via sidewalks.

January 2019 Meeting Notes

Welcome.  President Dave Bechtel opened the meeting at 7:05 and asked everyone at the meeting to introduce themselves.

Announcements and Committee Updates:

  • Dave noted that the WCA Board has reviewed the draft Hamden Plan of Conservation and Development and prepared comments.  He provided an overview of our response.  The WCA’s comments have been circulated to the Ridge Hill and Spring Glen Civic Associations with the thought of consolidating all three CA’s comments in one letter.  However, we will file our own comments separately to ensure they are received in time.
  • Library Committee:
    • The 3rd Annual Library Fundraiser will be held on May 3rd.  Previous events have raised about $2,000 in each year.
    • Library Committee member Kari Nordstrom made a plan for improvements to the branch that has begun to be implemented.  The Town Librarian is working with the committee to implement the plan.
  • Treasurer’s Report:
    • $1285.25 in the WCA bank account
    • $347.82 in the Garden Club account
  • Officer Elections
    • There will be elections for the offices of President and Treasurer at the May WCA meeting.
    • Term limits require a new President, while the Treasurer can be filled by the incumbent.  Deb Maldonado is willing to continue if no one else is interested.

Upcoming Legislative Session.  Dave introduced State Rep. Mike D’Agostino who provided an over view of the forthcoming legislative session.  He noted that many of the new Democratic members are from Fairfield County, which should add an interesting dynamic to the process.

  • Governor Lamont is working on his budget proposal.  The overall budget will be in the range of $20 billion with a current deficit of $1.4 billion.  Unless revenue can be raised – such as enacting highway tolls – cuts in service will have to occur.
    • He noted that state employees may be asked for more givebacks, but that further cuts to pay and benefits will be detrimental to the retention of quality staff.
    • Town aid is another area that could experience cuts.  Those in turn could have an effect on Hamden’s mil rate, which is already one of the highest in the state.
    • Health and social programs such as HUSKY may have cuts.
    • Mike urged the WCA membership to contact other legislators representing Hamden to ensure their help in mitigating the economic impact on our town.
  • Mike is working on legislation that would change the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula to account for each town’s actual ECS needs.  He noted that while Hamden is a relatively affluent town, our student population isn’t.
  • Mike has dialogue with the Town regarding Hamden’s needs in the upcoming session.  He’s prepared a bill to allow municipalities to assess a public safety fee on college students.  Another bill would relieve towns of the need to provide transportation services for private school students. A third would permit municipalities to have different mil rates for residential and non-residential properties.
  • Mike discussed some large bonding projects for which Hamden is working to secure state funding.
    • New firehouse(s) and a training facility.
    • Alice Peck and West Woods school renovations. 
  • The Town is also looking to secure funding that would provide a universal Pre-K program.
  • There was a discussion of the lack of an adequate juvenile justice facility in Connecticut.  Mike mentioned that, while he has put in a bill to transfer the High Meadows property on Hartford Turnpike, DCF is considering it as a site for a new facility.  Connie Matheson noted that there is currently a need for a 60 bed locked facility.  Mike offered to arrange a tour of High Meadows.

The meeting was opened for questions:

  • There was a discussion of plans to stop net metering (for electricity).
  • There was a suggestion that traffic calming strategies need to be implemented on Augur Street.
  • Construction status of the Waite Street bridge is unknown.  See the May 2018 meeting notes for a discussion with the Town Engineer on initial plans.
  • There was a discussion of the potential for traffic calming and parking on Whitney Avenue, a state route.  Mike is having a meeting with the new Transportation Commissioner and will raise the issue.
  • A new adult marijuana bill will come before Mike’s committee.  It looks like this one won’t be smoked like last year’s. 
  • Mike also noted that there is thought being given to a state-wide, rather than municipal, property tax by the General Assembly.

Mike will send copies of all his bills to the WCA.

Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:55.