Deadline had already passed for 'emergency' meeting on subdivision

Stonington - A decision by the Board of Selectmen to hold a possibly illegal emergency meeting two weeks ago to help a developer meet a filing deadline for a controversial subdivision may have been for naught.

That's because Cherenzia Excavation of Pawcatuck still filed the plans the next day, one day after the 90-day deadline specified in a court settlement had expired.

Town Planner Keith Brynes said that Town Attorney Tom Londregan, who told selectmen they could go ahead with the emergency meeting, also told the town that Cherenzia missing the deadline did not pose a problem because it was a minor issue.

After the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the Crescent Club project on Mary Hall Road in Pawcatuck, opponents appealed to Superior Court.

As part of a settlement, Cherenzia had to have the town accept its open space plans and file them in Town Hall within 90 days.

If the developers failed to do so, they would be in violation of the settlement.

State Freedom of Information law only permits emergency meetings in extraordinary circumstances mostly involving "life and death" and serious public safety issues, according to FOI Public Education Officer Tom Hennick.

Planning and Zoning Commission member John Prue has been critical of the how selectmen have handled the issue, tell Brynes in a letter that state law is also "crystal clear" on the time limits for filing subdivision plans.

"They were recorded on time or they were not. As a town, we can not place ourselves in a position of liability, just to avoid a short-term embarrassment or inconvenience. As a PZC Commissioner, I will not remain silent if doubts exists that could financially harm people in this community," he wrote.

- Joe Wojtas


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