Connecticut’s about-face on building in flood plain

For decades the preservation of a working boatyard and “water dependent” activities in Stamford’s harbor has been a priority of both Connecticut’s environmental protection agency and local planners.

Ironically, the person at the heart of unraveling the good work of former DEP commissioners and city planners is Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose environmental protection and economic development commissioners have joined forces to back plans by Bridgewater to build an eight-story, 850,000-square-foot commercial office building in Stamford’s flood plain.

What’s more, the state is kicking in more than $115 million in publicly funded incentives to underwrite the creation of new Stamford offices for Westport-based Bridgewater, one of the country’s largest hedge funds.  Rather than penalize Building and Land Technologies (BLT) for violating the State’s Coastal Management Act by demolishing a viable boatyard facility, the state is rewarding its blatant disregard for the law with a gift of tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to remediate and fund construction on BLT’s property.

All of this is being done under the guise of what is in the “public interest” of the residents of Stamford and of the state. 

However, details about how our tax dollars will be used apparently is not in the public interest.

I recently requested a copy of the state’s “letter of commitment” to Bridgewater and was told that keeping the financial commitment that is detailed in the letter confidential outweighs the public’s right to know specifics about it.

Connecticut’s taxpayers may not know for months, if ever, the specifics of what the state has promised Bridgewater.  However, on Wednesday (June 19), they will have an opportunity to hear about and comment on the building that Bridgewater plans to construct, with the assistance of their tax dollars, on a one-of-a kind parcel on an unparalleled Long Island Sound deep harbor.

The state Department of Economic Development, which will be representing Bridgewater at the hearing, has asked the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection DEEP to exempt Bridgewater from flood management certification requirements because such exemptions are “in public interest.”

The public hearing will be held June 19th at 6 p.m. in the Gen Re auditorium of UConn’s Stamford facility.

 

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