City Notes
P&Z seeks input on village zoning concept for downtown

P&Z seeks input on village zoning concept for downtown West Haven

WEST HAVEN, June 4, 2019 — Planning and zoning officials will hold a public meeting focusing on the center of West Haven and how the city can reach the goals of the recently adopted Plan of Conservation and Development by creating a new village district regulation.

The meeting, sponsored by the Planning and Zoning Commission, is set for 7 p.m. June 18 in the Harriet C. North Community Room on the second floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

See the Public Meeting Invitation.

P&Z Chairwoman Kathleen Hendricks said the commission aims to attract a wide range of participants for the workshop in hopes of creating a dialogue among area businesses and property owners, neighborhood residents and community leaders.

According to Assistant City Planner David W. Killeen, the meeting will include a presentation highlighting components of the POCD vision for downtown West Haven, with a focus on elements of the new village district zoning concept under consideration by the commission. The area is roughly bounded by the railroad tracks, Washington Avenue, Atwater Street and Savin Avenue.

Elements of the concept include establishing design standards and an architectural review process for visible changes to buildings in the area; guiding new development in the central business district; protecting and improving the residential and business character of the area; performing an architectural review of proposed projects as part of the current zoning approval process; and discussing other ways to improve the business climate in the West Haven Center.

The workshop will include opportunities for participants to share their reactions and ideas. The commission will use the input in finalizing how the regulation is written, Hendricks said.

The concept for a village district in the downtown area was first envisioned in the POCD, which was adopted by the commission in June 2017.

See the POCD.

For more information, call the Department of Planning and Development at 203-937-3580.

Historical Society

West Haven Historical Society headquarters, 686 Savin Ave. (Contributed Photo)

Historical Society sets activities for marking Native Americans Day

WEST HAVEN, June 4, 2019 — The Historical Society is planning a variety of activities as part of Saturday’s “Native Americans in West Haven” exhibit at its headquarters across from the Green.

The display is set for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 686 Savin Ave.

Read the Full Story.

UI replacing poles, raising electrical wires

UI replacing poles, raising electrical wires in West Haven neighborhoods

WEST HAVEN, June 4, 2019 — United Illuminating will begin a capital improvement project to replace poles and raise primary electrical wires by 10 feet.

The work will require the pruning or removal of trees in the public right of way, said Leo Kelly, the city’s tree warden.

The project will involve work on Atwater Street, Blohm Street, Campbell Avenue, Leete Street, Noble Street, Park Street, Peck Avenue, Peck Lane, Thomas Street, Washington Avenue and William Street.

The project, done by Lewis Tree Service under a permit from Kelly, will include work on private trees with homeowner permission.

Fireworks ad book

Ad book supports overtime costs for Savin Rock Fireworks Spectacular

WEST HAVEN, June 4, 2019 — For the second year, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi has rolled out an ad book fundraising campaign to help cover overtime costs for the Savin Rock Fireworks Spectacular, which is set for 9:15 p.m. July 3.

Rossi said the ad book proceeds will specifically pay for police and public works overtime during the annual fireworks display, which is launched off Bradley Point and presented by the Savin Rock Fireworks Committee.

“Your support of this ad book will directly impact the overtime costs that come along with the city holding the fireworks,” Rossi said.

Ad book forms are available in the mayor’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St., or download an ad book form at July 3 Fireworks.

Four ad sizes are offered: $45 for a business card, $75 for a quarter page, $100 for a half page and $185 for a full page. Checks are payable to City of West Haven.

Send ads by June 14 to the Office of the Mayor, 355 Main St., West Haven, CT 06516. Or send a business card, letterhead or other information to the mayor’s office, and the office can create an ad. Send PDF files to

Corporate sponsorships are also offered: $1,000 for red level, $750 for white level and $500 for blue level. For details, call the mayor’s office at 203-937-3510.

Rossi said the city will charge both residents and nonresidents for parking on July 3. The fee is $5 for vehicles with a valid beach sticker and $10 for vehicles without a valid beach sticker. All parking proceeds will also support overtime costs, she said.

The fireworks display, billed as “the region’s largest Independence Day fireworks show,” draws an estimated 100,000 people of all ages to the city’s 3 ½-mile shoreline each year. The rain date is July 5.

Before the patriotic display, partygoers can dance the night away to rock ’n’ roll hits performed by The Navels at the Savin Rock bandstand from 6:30-9 p.m.


WHEAT food pantry distributing food to school-age children

WEST HAVEN, June 4, 2019 — The WHEAT food pantry will distribute food twice a month to West Haven school-age children under 18.

The increased distribution is set for June, July and August, said Rose Majestic, executive director of the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force.

Families must bring a valid photo ID and two current pieces of mail with their correct name and address on them.

WHEAT, 674 Washington Ave., is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2-4:30 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon.

For information, call WHEAT at 203-931-9877 or email

Rossi leads developer on pre-construction site tour

Rossi leads developer on pre-construction site tour

WEST HAVEN, May 29, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi leads development officials on a pre-construction site tour of the former Edgar C. Stiles Elementary School on May 28.

Pictured are, from left, Peter Wood, principal of Collaborative Development Consulting of Stamford; Joel Silver, vice president of KCG Development LLC of Indianapolis; and Paul B. Bailey, principal of Paul B. Bailey Architect LLC of New Haven.

Rossi and the officials were joined on the tour, along with a pre-construction site tour of the former Clarence E. Thompson Elementary School, by KCG President R.J. Pasquesi; Susan B. Odell, senior project architect and certified passive house consultant for the Bailey architectural firm; mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito; and city Corporation Counsel Lee Tiernan.

On May 13, Rossi announced that her team, led by Planning and Development Commissioner Fred A. Messore, negotiated the sale of the long-vacant schools to KCG for $852,000.

The city had issued a request for proposals for both properties, with KCG submitting the highest offer with the best plan for the sites.

“Our entire team is honored to have been chosen to collaborate with the city of West Haven on these important projects,” Silver has said. “We look forward to bringing new life to these schools and adjacent property by creating a vibrant mixed-income and mixed-use community.”

KCG is a nationally respected developer that operates in 21 states and specializes in adaptive reuse projects.

The Stiles building, located at 575 Main St. in the Transit-Oriented Development District around the train station, would be composed of about 50 housing and studio units that would be marketed to millennials because of their proximity to the station and Interstate 95, Messore has said.

According to Messore, the Thompson building, 165 Richards St., would be a mixed-use approach that would include commercial and business incubator spaces and about 21 housing units.

The former schools have been vacant for years with no real plans for development, Rossi has said.

Stiles closed in 2004 and Thompson in 2010.

In 2016, then-Mayor Ed O’Brien’s administration sold the Thompson building to the West Haven Housing Authority for $10, but the financing for senior housing fell through and the property reverted back to the city.

“These buildings have been vacant, quickly deteriorating and off the tax rolls,” Rossi has said. “This agreement would generate needed tax revenue and would be promoted to commuting millennials and others because of their location with easy access to public transportation and I-95. Neither one of these properties includes any tax abatements, which will make them fully taxable on day one.”

Rossi said she will soon submit an informational package to the City Council so members can set up a public hearing and vote on the proposal.

According to city officials, the estimated value of the renovated Stiles building will be about $13 million, with an assessment for taxation of about $9.1 million that will generate an estimated $330,000 in annual tax revenue for West Haven. The renovated Thompson building will be valued around $10 million, with an assessment of $7 million that will produce about $254,000 in annual tax revenue for the city.

“The one-time influx of cash from the sales will further improve the city’s fiscal health, but beyond the short term, these properties will generate about $584,000 in tax revenue a year,” Rossi has said. “With this transaction, we will be growing our grand list, relieving the burden of ownership on the city’s taxpayers, and anticipating the improvements that come with restoration and modernization.”

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


Grand Marshal William “Bill” Benson, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War in 1967-68, steers the Memorial Day parade up Campbell Avenue on May 27 from a golf cart driven by off-duty Trooper 1st Class Alison Peters of the Connecticut State Police. (City Photo/David W. Richards)

Parade honors America’s fallen

WEST HAVEN, May 28, 2019 — Grand Marshal William “Bill” Benson, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War in 1967-68, steered the Memorial Day parade May 27 from a golf cart driven by off-duty Trooper 1st Class Alison Peters of the Connecticut State Police.

Benson, 71, led the 55-unit procession of veterans, bands and dignitaries, including Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and other city officials, along Campbell Avenue.

The parade stepped from Captain Thomas Boulevard north to Center Street, where thousands of revelers, many of them donning patriotic colors and waving American flags, lined the 1 ½-mile course.

Benson, who lives on Eaton Street with his wife of 40 years, Alice, was selected by the West Haven Veterans Council, which helps the city organize the annual parade, for his years of service to the Army, his fellow veterans and his community.

He is a longtime member of West Haven Vietnam Veterans, formerly Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 647, and served as president in the early 2000s.

Before and during that time, Benson was instrumental in raising funds to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Bradley Point Park. To this day, he helps maintain the grounds of the memorial, dedicated Nov. 12, 2003.

For the past four years, Benson has volunteered at the West Haven Veterans Museum & Learning Center, 30 Hood Terrace, where he gives tours to seniors, schoolchildren and veterans.

The hourlong parade included a flyover by a C-130 Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft operated by the Connecticut Air National Guard.

The event, in memory of the deceased members of the U.S. armed forces of all wars, is the oldest parade of its kind in southern Connecticut.

In addition to nine marching bands — the most in recent memory — and a legion of veterans groups, the procession showcased the traditional contingent of youth organizations and sports leagues, dance and Scout troupes, fraternal organizations and service clubs, local and state leaders, police officers and firefighters.


Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and other city leaders wave to paradegoers along Campbell Avenue. (City Photo/David W. Richards)


(Contributed Photo/CT Audubon)

‘Be a Good Egg’

WEST HAVEN, May 28, 2019 — With Memorial Day past and beach season underway, Connecticut Audubon reminds us how to “Be a Good Egg” at the beach.
— Keep your distance from shorebird habitat.
— Be sure to know and respect local dog/pet ordinances.
— Take your trash with you.
— Dispose of fishing line.
— Avoid feeding wildlife.
— Avoid noisy activities near nesting areas.
As a shoreline community, West Haven has a special interest in and responsibility to the health of the coastal environment. Coastal areas are uniquely important for many species of wildlife, especially birds. They offer critical breeding sites and rich sources of food for migratory stopovers.

Learn more at CT Audubon.

Take the pledge #BeAGoodEgg at CT Audubon.

Grass clippings now accepted at compost site

Grass clippings now accepted at West Haven compost site

WEST HAVEN, May 22, 2019 — The city has obtained a permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to start accepting grass clippings at the municipal compost site, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and Public Works Commissioner Tom McCarthy announced.

The DEEP permit, good until June 30, 2022, will also allow the city to start picking up grass clippings on residents’ weekly curbside collection days through Nov. 22.

Grass clippings must be in biodegradable paper bags and will not be accepted if they are in plastic bags, McCarthy said.

Glass clippings and leaves must be in separate bags.

“Crews will not pick up grass bags containing anything other than grass,” McCarthy said. “No leaves, no branches, no sand, no rocks, no dirt.”

Residents can bring grass clippings as well as bagged leaves and untied brush to the compost site, 1 Kimberly Ave., from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Compost is free with proof of residence.

Dog license renewals due June 30

Dog license renewals due June 30

WEST HAVEN, May 22, 2019 — Residents who own dogs must renew their licenses from June 1-30 or face a $1 monthly fine, City Clerk Deborah Collins said.

State law requires dog owners to submit a current rabies vaccination certificate when applying for the new dog tags. Expired certificates are not accepted.

The fee for the two licenses, which are available in the city clerk’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St., is $8 for neutered or spayed dogs and $19 for other dogs. Failure to renew a license can result in a $75 fine.

Residents can also send vaccination records and checks in a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the city clerk’s office, P.O. Box 526, West Haven, CT 06516.

In conjunction with Dog Licensing Month, the city clerk’s office will hold its second annual Dog Contest for residents who license their dogs before June 30. The office will draw a winner in early July, and the winning dog will receive a gift basket and a “No. 1” dog tag and have its photo published in local newspapers.

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