January 16, 2021

Essex Wetlands Commission Takes “Site Walk” of Potential Foxboro Point Development

Commission members gather in front of the Croft house

On an extremely cold, sunny Saturday, members of Essex’s Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission took a “site walk” of 11 presently vacant acres on Foxboro Point. The purpose of the wintry visit was to give members of the Commission a first-hand look at property on which a private developer has filed an application to build seven new houses.

The 11 acres subject to this development are located on arguably one of the most scenic points in all of Essex, namely Foxboro Point. The site offers a sweeping view of North Cove and, in the distance, the Connecticut River.

Commission members set off on the "site walk" of the proposed development.

The application to develop the property was filed on Jan. 3 of this year by Frank J. Sciame, the Wall Street businessman, who bought and updated the Katharine Hepburn home in Old Saybrook a few years ago. He also owns a private home next to the Hepburn estate.

The sellers of the targeted property are members of the Croft family and their associates, who have owned the property for many years. The Croft house at the entrance to Foxboro Point is a familiar town landmark, and will not be demolished, according the developer’s present plan. Under the proposed plan, the famous windmill will also stay in place.

The Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed development on Feb. 14, which will be held at Town Hall. According to the Commission’s web sites it has the following powers that could be relevant to the proposed new development. The Commission:

          “Hears, consider[s] and decide[s] upon applications for regulated activities involving inland wetlands and water courses and/or the regulated upland area to a wetland. Determine[s] whether proposed activities are exempt from, or otherwise not subject to, the regulations. In Essex, the commission reviews the activities that are within 60’ [feet] of a designated wetland and within 100’ [feet] of a water body or water course.”

The Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission Chairman's gloved hand seeks to prevent his picture being taken.

ValleyNewsNow contributor Jerome Wilson joined the site walk since it was an official activity of the Inland Wetlands  &  Watercourses  Commission, which is a governmental body.

His presence did not seem entirely welcome, although, as a general rule, such activities would as a matter of course be open to the public and press, unless some extraordinary circumstances are demonstrated.