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Developer, DEP agree to delay action on construction plan

East Lyme 末 Landmark Development Group and the state Department of Environmental Protection have extended an agreement that will stave off, for another 45 days, any attempt by the Middletown developer to pursue the rezoning of Oswegatchie Hills to accommodate a plan to erect affordable housing there.

Landmark, which has development rights to 500 acres in the hills, had planned to build 894 housing units there.

Town and DEP officials and grass-roots conservation groups have opposed plans to develop any of the Oswegatchie Hills' 781 acres, preferring that it be preserved as open space.

Landmark had proposed the creation of an Affordable Housing District in the hills because less than 10 percent of East Lyme's housing stock is within the reach of households whose income is between 60 and 80 percent of the average income in the area.

In such cases, the burden is on the town to demonstrate why a proposed housing development should be rejected, rather than on the developer to demonstrate why it could and should be developed.

In February, Landmark officials agreed to withdraw their zoning application and to observe a 30-day 田ooling off period. During that time and since then the two sides have been trying to agree on an appraisal of the property, which had been a sticking point in the negotiations.

Appraisal company chosen

During their most recent meeting, the DEP and Landmark selected an appraisal company to determine the 塗ighest and best use of the Oswegatchie Hills property that Landmark controls. The appraisal company was not named in a statement Landmark released Thursday.

的f, after the additional 45-day time period, no sales agreement has been reached with the Department of Environmental Protection, Landmark Group can re-file their zoning application, the statement said. 泥uring this time frame, it was agreed by both parties that serious negotiations for the sale of the property as open space would proceed in earnest.
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