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Home Care in East Haddam, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in East Haddam, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care East Haddam, CT

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in East Haddam, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in East Haddam, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 In-Home Care East Haddam, CT

Types of In-home Care in East Haddam, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

 Elderly Care East Haddam, CT

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
 Senior Care East Haddam, CT

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Respite Care East Haddam, CT

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings
 Caregivers East Haddam, CT

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in East Haddam, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Home Care East Haddam, CT
  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client's individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor's appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior's needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

 In-Home Care East Haddam, CT

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in East Haddam, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

 Elderly Care East Haddam, CT

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in East Haddam, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

 Senior Care East Haddam, CT

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran's Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in East Haddam,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

03

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in East Haddam, CT

East Haddam Aims for Dec. 14 Referendum on Village Redevelopment

EAST HADDAM – Aiming to hold a moved-up Dec. 14 referendum to decide the commercial fate of the riverfront downtown village, town officials and the would-be developer will engage in a series of meetings and negotiations this week that will determine if that time-crunched goal can be made.The tentatively-scheduled referendum date comes nearly two years after local architect Jeff Riley proposed to transform the mostly-vacated municipal site into Swing Bridge Landing, an ambitious mix of commercial, retail and residential developme...

EAST HADDAM – Aiming to hold a moved-up Dec. 14 referendum to decide the commercial fate of the riverfront downtown village, town officials and the would-be developer will engage in a series of meetings and negotiations this week that will determine if that time-crunched goal can be made.

The tentatively-scheduled referendum date comes nearly two years after local architect Jeff Riley proposed to transform the mostly-vacated municipal site into Swing Bridge Landing, an ambitious mix of commercial, retail and residential development adjacent to its namesake iconic span across the Connecticut River.

Plans include approximately 94,000 square-feet of shops, restaurants and apartments, many housed in a replica of the mansion of William H. Goodspeed, who built the namesake Goodspeed Opera House directly across the road nearly 150 years ago.

Terms disclosed so far show the town is asking $450,000 for the 2.7-acre site, which Riley says will need at least another $800,000 in remediation.

Newly-elected First Selectman Irene Haines says the Dec. 14 date – a week earlier than one floated by the previous administration and that Riley opposed – is designed to allow greater accessibility to residents during the busy holiday season.

“I think that’s what the big issue was,” with holding a date four days before Christmas, Haines said. “You’re going to get people leaving that week, or possibly that weekend before Christmas. I think that if we moved it back a week, even that would give us a lot more people available and ready to vote on it –one way or the other.”

Randy Dill, acting chairman of the East Haddam Village Revitalization Committee, agreed.

“If it’s too close to Christmas or too close to Thanksgiving you’re going to lose people,” he said. That’s why we recommended it to be in between those holidays.”

Haines said the Dec. 14 date can only be achieved if several preliminary steps are accomplished this week.

A joint special meeting on the issue between the Board of Selectman and the Board of Finance is scheduled for Wednesday, at which they would finalize the language of the referendum question and vote whether to move forward with the process.

Previous discussions among town officials indicated that the referendum would ask voters whether to authorize the town to enter into negotiations with Riley and his Centerbridge Group on the sale of the property.

But Riley and the town are still negotiating the details of the referendum question, she said, and if they cannot reach agreement by Tuesday, there will not be enough time for the two boards to review the proposed question for the planned Wednesday meeting.

The compressed timeline is also needed in order to hold a town meeting tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1 at which the date of the referendum vote will be officially set.

“We still have a lot to resolve in the shortened window,” said Haines, who has expressed strong support for the project along with caution about its grand scale – a major point of public debate over the project’s viability and its potential impact on traffic and the overall ambiance of the historic village.

But as the referendum vote perhaps draws close, a growing focus of the hotly-debated project other than its scope is whether the town should sell the land to Centerbridge or maintain ownership and lease it to them.

Lawn signs opposing the deal have been seen around town, including one in Hadlyme that reads: “Village Not for Sale.”

Riley could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Haines said that details of the referendum question being negotiated with Riley are in renewed flux.

“The whole question is still up in the air,” she said, adding that if those negotiations and this week’s checklist don’t work out, she will still push for a vote to be held as quickly as possible.

“If none of the above happens, we will steadfastly continue to get something to the town soon,” Haines said. “I think what’s most important is we get a clear and understandable referendum before the citizens.”

Tiny cabins arrive in backwoods of East Haddam

The big news in Moodus? Think small. The "Tiny Cabin" trend has arrived in Connecticut.EAST HADDAM, Conn. — The business of the backwoods is officially opened in Moodus.Operating for the past two weeks, Getaway Machimoodus is an 86-acre outpost of tiny cabins, now welcoming guests from across the region. Essentially, Getaway Machimoodus is selling social distancing during the era of COVID-19....

The big news in Moodus? Think small. The "Tiny Cabin" trend has arrived in Connecticut.

EAST HADDAM, Conn. — The business of the backwoods is officially opened in Moodus.

Operating for the past two weeks, Getaway Machimoodus is an 86-acre outpost of tiny cabins, now welcoming guests from across the region. Essentially, Getaway Machimoodus is selling social distancing during the era of COVID-19.

Getaway House, the parent company, already has locations in New York State and New Hampshire as well as additional sites across the country. The Connecticut location, built where an old 4-H campsite used to stand, has 45 tiny cabins.

“You come right to your door, you walk in and you enjoy your space and you are free to zone out and disconnect,” Allison Neeven, the assistant general manager of Getaway Machimoodus said.

The tiny cabins range in size from 140 to 200 square feet. The largest cabins can accommodate four people because they are equipped with bunk beds. And, guests are welcome to bring their dogs.

The cabins include a large bay window that looks out to the secluded Connecticut woods, a kitchenette, bathroom with a very tiny but perfectly operable shower as well.

“You are just in the middle of nowhere and it offers such a unique adventure,” Neeven said.

Adrienne Sakumoto, who visiting Getaway Machimoodus from Eastchester, New York, said, “It’s quiet, very quiet and it’s very cozy.”

Rental rates for the tiny cabins range in price depending on the day from about $120 to $300 a night. There is a walking trail and dog park on-premises. To find out more, click here.

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Proposed Retail Marijuana Shop in East Haddam Beats Moratorium, Stirs Opposition

EAST HADDAM – Plans by a well-known local businessman and town official to open a retail marijuana shop were put on hold on Tuesday after a the town’s First Selectman, residents and members of the Planning and Zoning Commission questioned the appropriateness of the proposed site or any location in town at a public hearing.Robert Casner, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Commission, proposes to open the retail shop in a building that now houses a package store and an architect’s office, adjacent to a p...

EAST HADDAM – Plans by a well-known local businessman and town official to open a retail marijuana shop were put on hold on Tuesday after a the town’s First Selectman, residents and members of the Planning and Zoning Commission questioned the appropriateness of the proposed site or any location in town at a public hearing.

Robert Casner, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Commission, proposes to open the retail shop in a building that now houses a package store and an architect’s office, adjacent to a popular cafe at the busy Town Street intersection.

Casner submitted his application to open the shop in late October before the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted to impose a moratorium on marijuana businesses until next June.

“This application was not snuck under the deadline for the moratorium,” said Scott Jezek, Casner’s attorney and an unsuccessful candidate for first selectman in last month’s election. “In fact, it was probably the other way around.”

Noting that the state General Assembly legalized recreational marijuana effective last July 1, Jezek said that town had had plenty of time to pass a moratorium and block the retail business.

“For four months, the commission could have acted. I don’t know if the moratorium was a reaction to my client’s application or not, but there was ample time” for the board to act on a moratorium before it was submitted.

The Zoning Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to delay any further action on the matter until a January 11 meeting.

The hearing was held to discuss whether to grant Casner a special exception for the shop, which Jezek said the commission was “required” to rubber-stamp because such a designation had already been granted for the adjacent package store.

Jezek called the location “the ideal” place in town because of its proximity to the intersection of routes 82 and 151 – a major traffic hub.

If accepted by the town, Jezek said, Casner still would still need to have his plans approved by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection.

Applicants for a license must first have received local approval for a retail location, Jezek said, and no decisions on licenses are expected until late next year.

On Tuesday, Casner said the that proposed 300-square-foot shop would be built in a vacant space attached to the package store, which has 19 parking spaces.

He bought the property, including a circa-1760 Colonial house that he has renovated, four years ago.

“What I’m trying to do is blend this” shop and property into the “historical feel” of the area, he said. “It’s a way to bring more business to the area and a way to bring more employment to the town.”

Several commission members, including Chairman Crary Brownell, questioned the effect the shop would have on traffic in the well-traveled area.

Richard L. Pettinelli said that questions raised about traffic and emergency services had not yet been addressed by Casner.

Jezek countered that traffic impact is one of the criteria used by the state when considering final approval for such locations.

“Maybe you should look at the statute – how about that?” said Jezek to Pettinelli.

“I did look at the statute,” Pettinelli replied.

Some residents also suggested that the town should exercise its right to ban all marijuana sales by referendum, citing the potential negative impact on youth and the town’s quiet, rural appeal.

Jezek said that Casner’s proposal would not be subject to any potential ban because it was filed before the moratorium was imposed.

Mark Thiede, owner of the Two Wrasslin’ Cats restaurant that abuts the site, said he opposes the shop on several grounds and that the proposal “really pissed me off.”

“I offer a very family-oriented business and I’m totally against this,” he said, noting that his café is often used for events by youth and charitable organizations. “It just doesn’t belong here.”

Jezek had earlier said that the state has laid out specific rules that prohibit marijuana shops from being opened in close proximity to buildings such as schools and hospitals and those used by religious and military veterans’ organizations.

“You can’t see any of those uses that may be regulated from this site,” he said.

Also objecting to the plan at the meeting was First Selectman Irene Haines, who said she was speaking in her official capacity and as a resident.

She ticked off a list of town establishments, events and projects that attract families and that she believes are in conflict with Casner’s proposal, including holiday and “spring-chicks” events at nearby Shagbark Lumber, the town skating pond, the Wolf’s Den camping area and a proposed bike path along Route 82 that would pass by the shop.

Haines said that the bike path is being overseen by the Economic Development Commssion that Casner chairs. Haines also said that the shop is not in keeping with her vision of how to expand the town’s limited commercial base.

“We’re a very community-driven area that we are trying to promote,” she said. “We’re healthy and yet we want to think about putting in this retail establishment that sells a terrible drug next to another place that sells a terrible drug?” – a reference to the package store. “We have a beautiful town here and we don’t need this kind of establishment.”

Haines also attended the Nov. 9 meeting when the Planning and Zoning Commission acknowledged receiving Casner’s application, and then adopted the moratorium.

Jezek, defeated by Haines in the election a week earlier, had asked for Haines’ removal from that meeting, saying her role as the town’s top official and her stance against the shop could unfairly sway the views of commission members.

Of Haines’ remarks Tuesday, Jezek said Wednesday that “her presence there is inappropriate and I don’t want to say anything more than that right now.”

Haines on Wednesday defended her comments, saying that she has a right to step in “when the town’s welfare is threatened,” and noting that her views are reflected in letters she received from residents in her capacity as the town’s state representative.

“The economic development work being done in town is of great interest to me as the town’s official,” Haines told CT Examiner, adding that she voted against legalizing marijuana on the state level, she said: “To put a pot shop near where families gather, where they shop, see Santa or get baby chicks at Easter and recreate is just not an appropriate place.”

Because state regulations allow only a single marijuana shop in towns with a population of less than 25,000, Jezek said, East Haddam would have to more than double in size before a second shop could open.

“It’s probably going to be one site for East Haddam in any of our lifetimes,” he said.

By statute, zoning commissioners must act on Casner’s application within 65 days of Tuesday’s public hearing.

Toni McCabe, executive director of East Haddam Youth & Family Services and a vocal opponent of the shop, said at the hearing that the delay should enable the town to explore many issues raised at the meeting.

“Maybe it’s not a benefit to the town,” as Casner stated, McCabe said. “We need to have a real conversation in a transparent way and come to a decision we can all live with.”

Photo: Proposed retail marijuana shop would be located in the building at the left

Switch to Affordable Housing Trumps All in East Haddam

To the Editor:Last night I attended the East Haddam P&Z meeting as the commission continued to hear the Lofts at Black Birch-Banner Community Center (Anthony Longhitano) application. As you may be aware, this is the proverbial double-dipping of applications. A preliminary vote by the P&Z commission in February, 2020, for this very project was unanimously assured a 9-0 denial. However, the Land Use officer Jim Ventres, suggested an official vote be delayed while the town lawyer ‘reviewed’ the consequences to the tow...

To the Editor:

Last night I attended the East Haddam P&Z meeting as the commission continued to hear the Lofts at Black Birch-Banner Community Center (Anthony Longhitano) application. As you may be aware, this is the proverbial double-dipping of applications. A preliminary vote by the P&Z commission in February, 2020, for this very project was unanimously assured a 9-0 denial. However, the Land Use officer Jim Ventres, suggested an official vote be delayed while the town lawyer ‘reviewed’ the consequences to the town from such a denial. What did the applicant do? He withdrew the application and then reappeared this past July with exactly the same application only with the added booster that he would include Affordable Housing in his project. By amending his application by designating 6 of the 20 units as Affordable Housing, just like that he now had a state statute behind the application. With this new designation, the East Haddam P&Z committee were now stripped of any authority to deny the very same application presented to them last year, and no public opinions by the residents in East Haddam would be entered into any record.

Message received. By invoking the Affordable Housing stature, the applicant very smartly was able to tie the hands of East Haddam’s P&Z, to disregard the potentiality of a judgement against the conversion of the said Banner Community Center as a result of the pending lawsuit brought by condo unit owners, and virtually silenced all residents in the town of East Haddam with any opinion regarding the arrival of affordable housing. Affordable Housing has trumped us all.

Surely then, the town of East Haddam is set up for handling the administration that comes along with having Affordable Housing in town. I mean, the applicant doesn’t get to invoke Affordable Housing to get his application rammed through and then not be monitored by the town to ensure that those designated 6 units that got the application passed be available/rented to people that qualify for the discounted rent, right? Last night, when the P&Z commission asked the applicant’s lawyers who would be in charge of ensuring that the building stayed in compliance with the statute, they were surprised to hear their lawyer assert that according to state statutes, Jim Ventres would be responsible for handling the policing of that compliance. Apparently, East Haddam’s Land Use officer will now play landlord for The Lofts at Black Birch/Anthony Longhitano. I wonder what our candidates for First Selectman think of this? This situation continues to fascinate.

At least the Banner unit owners are not the only ones stuck with this developer. Fasten your seatbelts, East Haddam! We’re in for a bumpy ride.

Catherine EmatrudoMoodus, CT

East Haddam Amends Regulations to Ease Limits on Hobby Farms, 4-H

EAST HADDAM – Town Planner James Ventres said that under East Haddam’s current regulations, he had to tell several families that they couldn’t keep a farm animal for a 4-H project because they didn’t have enough space to meet the town’s setback requirements for animal shelters.On Wednesday night, the town Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to loosen those setbacks for small “hobby farms,” including 4-H students. The commission also agreed to tighten setback regulations for new, larger anima...

EAST HADDAM – Town Planner James Ventres said that under East Haddam’s current regulations, he had to tell several families that they couldn’t keep a farm animal for a 4-H project because they didn’t have enough space to meet the town’s setback requirements for animal shelters.

On Wednesday night, the town Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to loosen those setbacks for small “hobby farms,” including 4-H students. The commission also agreed to tighten setback regulations for new, larger animal operations – an effort to prevent a repeat of an incident several years ago when someone tried to move thousands of chickens into a residential property.

The current rules governing agriculture are one size fits all – any structure for animals has to be set back 100 feet from any road and 75 feet from a rear or side property line, said Ventres. The new regulations are meant to accommodate smaller, less intensive “hobby farms,” which the regulations define as housing no more than 25 poultry and rabbits, or up to two large-bodied animals.

Ventres told the commission that the 75 foot buffer may have been set in the “old days” as an attempt to keep any kind of farming outside of the one-acre residential zones, or to provide a 75 foot buffer for manure piles because wells could be close to the property lines.

The setbacks effectively make it impossible for anyone with a 1-acre property with 150 feet of frontage to build any kind of structure for farm animals, he said. Ventres told CT Examiner in a recent conversation that the issue has mainly come up with parents whose children are working on a 4-H project, and he’s had to tell them the regulations simply don’t allow it.

“I don’t know how many times someone has come in and wants to have a goat or a few chickens for a 4-H project, and they can’t have it,” he said.

Instead of having one-size setbacks, under the new regulations, hobby farms could have smaller setbacks – 75 feet from a street, 40 feet from the property lines, and at least 100 feet from existing, neighboring residences. The new rules should allow for some more flexibility for those small hobby farms, he said.

Emily Alger, the 4-H program coordinator for Middlesex County, said East Haddam has always done a great job looking out for 4-H students. Alger said there are young people in East Haddam raising everything from rabbits and poultry to horses and cattle as a part of their 4-H livestock project.

“I get the spirit of the law, so that people don’t build a three-sided lean-to right on the property line and then there’s an issue,” Alger said. “But we have extremely diverse sizes of property, anywhere from hundreds of acres down to way less than an acre. I think it’s great that if you have an educational project, you don’t have to put your chicken coop on your front doorstep because that’s the only place far enough away from your property line.”

The livestock projects aren’t just a way for the students to learn about the animals they raise, they learn skills that transfer into other parts of life – it’s an opportunity to learn how to keep records, and to learn how to speak in public, she said.

Because the 4-H students learn from UConn researchers, it’s also an opportunity to share the latest research with the students, who in turn share that with the community.

“You want to know where your vegetables come from, you want to know how the person took care of them, how they kept the bugs away,” Alger said. “All of those things are really important, and when kids have projects like that, they have the opportunity to educate the public on all of their practices and their best management.”

The new regulations also add restrictions for manure storage on “intensive” farm operations – meaning larger farms with more than 200 poultry or 20 large livestock, or that require a building larger than 5,000 square feet.

Under the new regulations, those farms must keep their animal waste storage or treatment more than 225 feet from the street line and 300 feet from any other property line. The commission can also require those operations to plant a 100 foot buffer with trees and shrubs around any property line, but can also reduce the setback to 100 feet from the property line if the adjoining property is open space or unsuitable for development.

Ventres said about 8 years ago someone came to the town and asked to bring in 500 chickens to create a specialty hatchery on a property in a residential zone.

“The next thing you know, he had 10,000 chickens,” Ventres said.

The operation was abiding by the 75 foot buffers, but didn’t have proper manure management or sufficiently address runoff issues. The farm became a major nuisance in the residential area before the state shut it down, Ventres said.

The new regulations wouldn’t affect existing farms, but if someone else came in looking to develop an intensive animal operation, the regulations would give the commission a chance to look at the proposal and make sure it’s properly managing issues of stormwater and manure management, he said.

“We don’t want to discourage you, but we want to have an idea of how this is going to work,” he said.

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