Old Lyme pump station lease, solar proposal to go to public hearing

Old Lyme — Residents will have an opportunity to hear presentations and share comments on a proposed pump station lease for a sewer project and a proposal to lease part of the town's former landfill for use as a small solar farm. 

public hearing will be held Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m. with a presentation on the pump station lease and then a review at 7:30 p.m. of the proposal to lease part of the landfill at Four Mile River Road, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said.

The proposed pump station lease, with an initial term of 40 years, would enable the town to lease part of its land at 72 Portland Ave., a parking lot in Sound View, to three private beach associations — Miami Beach Association, Old Lyme Shores Beach Association and Old Colony Beach Club Association — so they can build a pump station for a planned sewer project, according to the document. The associations would pay the town an annual rent of $10,000 for the first 20 years, and then $1 annually after that period.

The proposed lease is available on the town's website at bit.ly/OLWPCApump.

Under the proposed lease, Old Lyme would have the option to tie in to the pump station for the Sound View area and for the neighborhood to its north, dubbed "Miscellaneous Town Area B." The town also could tie in for the Hawk's Nest neighborhood, though a sewer project there currently is up in the air, Reemsnyder said.

The lease further says the town is allowed to use the property, outside of the area for the pump station, "for a public parking lot, public restrooms, green space and storage facility." Reemsnyder said she has had conversations with the beach associations' engineer about the possibility of designing a building to house both the components of the pump station required to be indoors and bathrooms. She said she also discussed possible funding with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In addition to the proposed land lease for the pump station, town officials also will present at the hearing an idea to lease, for a period of about 20 or 25 years, part of the town's landfill property to a company that would install a small solar farm there and pay the town an annual fee, she said. The company would be responsible for the installation and maintenance of the solar farm and grounds underneath it and ultimately the removal of the equipment, she said.

Two companies have approached the town with proposals, she said.

If the town supports the idea, the process would be for the first selectwoman to sign a memorandum of agreement with a solar energy company, which then would design a solar facility. The memorandum of agreement would reference a lease that the town would sign if the company receives the necessary approvals for its design, she said.

A town meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium for residents to vote on the pump station lease and to vote on allowing Reemsnyder to negotiate and sign a memorandum of agreement and ultimately a lease for the landfill solar proposal, according to a town notice.

k.drelich@theday.com

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