July 2, 2020

Haddam First Selectman Supports Land Transfer Calls on State Lawmakers to Approve the Exchange

Riverhouse Properties has announced the support of Haddam First Selectman Paul DeStefano for the transfer of 17 acres of state-owned land in Haddam in exchange for an 87-acre tract adjacent to the Cockaponset State Forest in Higganum.

“It will result in much needed tourism, which will translate into more jobs and more environmental comprehension and awareness,” DeStefano said, adding, “It will also provide a synergy of opportunity with the neighboring Town of East Haddam and bolster the economy of both towns as we seek to strengthen our infrastructure to deal with the challenges of the future.”

The land exchange with Riverhouse Properties was approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2009.  According to Riverhouse Properties, the 17 acres owned by DEP in Haddam is surrounded by fully developed industrial and commercial land, a sprawling DOT complex and Eagle Landing State Park.  Additionally, Riverhouse Properties claims that the 87-acre forest property is ideal for preservation while the DEP land is better suited for tourism-related economic development, as called for in the Haddam Economic Development Plan for this specific property.

“The land exchange offers Haddam a reason to stimulate its lagging regulation and zoning reform for the Tylerville Village so that our foundation can support the type of future development that will be consistent with the environmental, cultural, and business goals that are a part of our Conservation and Development Plan,” DeStefano said.

A public hearing on the property conveyance bill will be held in the near future by the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee.  First Selectman DeStefano will be testifying in support of the bill.

“Passage will insure that the major parcel of land in Higganum that adjoins the state forest will not be developed in such a manner that would saddle the town with future educational expenses — costs that would only continue to hurt our attempts to survive in this weak, punishing economy,” Destefano noted.