City Notes
Roundabout upgrade slated for Jones Hill Rd., Ocean Ave.

An aerial rendering from the state Department of Transportation showing the soon-to-be upgraded Oyster River roundabout at Jones Hill Road and Ocean Avenue in the city’s Baybrook section. (CTDOT)

Roundabout upgrade slated for Jones Hill Rd., Ocean Ave.

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 23, 2019 — The state Department of Transportation’s Office of Engineering is developing plans to improve the Oyster River roundabout at routes 162 and 705 in the city’s Baybrook section.

The $325,000 project aims to upgrade the existing roundabout, or traffic circle, at Jones Hill Road and Ocean Avenue to current design standards for accommodating larger trucks, said the project manager, Scott Bushee, a principal engineer with the DOT’s Division of Highway Design.

Bushee explained that during the roundabout’s original design, a midsize tractor-trailer was the standard design vehicle for state arterial roads. But shortly after the roundabout’s construction more than a decade ago, national changes in the trucking industry prompted the DOT to change its regulations and increase the size of the standard design vehicle on state arterial roads because of technical advances in the industry and gradual acceptance of larger trucks by many states, he said.

“The larger trucks with longer trailers need more room to turn, resulting in off-tracking in the center island of the roundabout and damage to the outside curbing where drivers are trying to maximize available room to make their turn,” Bushee said.

According to the DOT, preliminary plans for the upgraded roundabout call for “expanding the truck apron 8.5 feet to the interior, replacing the outer concrete curbing with granite, constructing a hardscape concrete surface with a brick paver appearance within the former planter areas between the outer curb and the sidewalk, and repaving the roundabout.”

“The roundabout has required constant maintenance in recent years and will be upgraded with more durable materials,” said Bushee, adding that no private properties are affected in the plans.

Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, who recently met with state and city officials about the roundabout, thanked state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, for helping to fast-track the state-funded project.

The DOT anticipates completing the design phase in December and starting the construction phase in summer 2020, which Bushee said should take about six to eight weeks.

No detours are planned during the work, said Bushee, who will give a PowerPoint presentation on the project at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at City Hall, 355 Main St. The public is invited.

Before the roundabout, the busy intersection was stop-controlled on Jones Hill Road with free flow on Ocean Avenue. Vehicles turning left onto Jones Hill Road caused traffic to back up on Ocean Avenue while waiting for a safe gap in oncoming traffic to execute their turn, according to information provided by the DOT.

“The resulting traffic congestion contributed to rear-end crashes on Ocean Avenue and angle crashes within the intersection,” the DOT said.

To improve safety and relieve traffic congestion, the first modern roundabout built on a state road was constructed there in 2007, reducing the total crash rate by 45% and injury-related crashes by 60%, according to statistics provided by the DOT.

Anyone interested in receiving information about “State Project No. 156-182” can contact Matthew Vail, transportation principal engineer with the DOT’s Bureau of Engineering and Construction, at or 860-594-3274.

West Haven United
City applying for Justice Assistance Grant to aid WHPD

City applying for Justice Assistance Grant to aid Police Department

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 23, 2019 — The city is applying for funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program for the purchase of equipment for the Police Department.

The goal of the project is to maintain the challenges of emerging technological improvements and their impact on the community.

The requested funding from the 2019 JAG program will buy software to upgrade the Police Department’s computer-aided dispatch system. The upgrade will allow the CAD system to continuously have high availability with connectivity when routine maintenance and/or repairs are conducted.

The improvement will enhance the responsiveness of West Haven’s public safety personnel, including police, fire and 911 dispatch, as well as University of New Haven police.

P&Z adopts regulations for short-term rentals, outdoor dining

P&Z adopts regulations for short-term rentals, outdoor dining

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 21, 2019 — The Planning and Zoning Commission has adopted regulations to guide “Short Term Rentals” in the city and “Outdoor Dining” at restaurants, P&Z Chairwoman Kathleen Hendricks announced.

“Both of these issues had come to the attention of the Planning and Zoning Commission in recent months, and the commission wanted to do something about them,” Hendricks said.

Recognizing that West Haven is a shorefront community, the commission is aware of the ongoing concern that city homeowners may seek to rent their property as a short-term rental, Hendricks said.

Short-term rentals include dwellings rented through such vacation rental websites as Airbnb and VRBO. The sites connect people offering residences or rooms with others who want to rent them for short-term stays.

“The commission recognizes individuals have a need to be flexible in meeting monthly housing expenses, but the commission is also committed to protecting residents of the neighborhoods in which such uses might occur,” Hendricks said. “The commission does not want to see overcrowding of residential streets and wants to protect residential character from being impacted by excessive turnover on local streets.”

Assistant City Planner David W. Killeen said the new regulation establishes an approval process for such uses and allows the usage in two residential districts and two commercial districts by “special use exception” approval through the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The regulation requires a seven-day minimum stay for rentals, limits occupancy, and defines space requirements for the short-term use.

“Owners must demonstrate they have sufficient parking to support these rentals as well,” Killeen said.

With regard to outdoor dining, many restaurants want to have a few tables in front of their businesses to help attract customers, which Hendricks said “the commission feels is good business, not only for the restaurant owner but the city as a whole.”

“Thriving communities often promote outdoor dining,” she said. “It improves the appearance of the community and encourages a relaxing setting to enjoy a good meal.”

The commission has had an existing regulation for outdoor dining but felt it was too restrictive and did not encourage outdoor dining opportunities, Killeen said.

The new regulation allows most restaurants to have two to four outdoor tables, provided owners can demonstrate to planning and zoning officials that they will retain sufficient areas for pedestrian circulation and that the outdoor dining will meet city codes. An annual registration is planned for that type of use, Killeen said.

For this year, however, restaurants may use the regulation informally without approval, he said.

The Department of Planning and Development will seek the approval of a registration process and set fees through the City Council in preparation for the regulation’s formal implementation in 2020.

For larger outdoor dining settings, restaurant owners must file a special permit application with the commission for approval. The special permit does not require an annual registration.

The regulations for short-term rentals and outdoor dining took effect Aug. 12. Copies are available for review in the planning and development office on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

Storm drain stenciling effort underway

Storm drain stenciling effort underway

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 21, 2019 — Resident Stacey Giaquinto participates in the city’s new Storm Drain Marking Project on Sunday at Campbell Avenue and Leete Street.

The project, which began a day earlier with a workshop offered by the Sustainable West Haven team, aims to build awareness of the connection between what we put onto our yards, driveways and streets and what ends up in the water we use for recreation and as an environmental asset.

Everything that goes into a city storm drain empties into a stream, river or Long Island Sound. Project organizers hope that stenciling the drains in high-traffic areas will help educate people.

Individuals, families, clubs and neighborhood groups are asked to consider participating in the project. With 5,000 storm drains, West Haven has many opportunities to take part in the effort.

Contact organizers for details about the project via the sign-up sheet at

(Contributed Photo)

Rain garden

City’s first rain garden installed at Pagels School

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 21, 2019 — The city’s first rain garden has been installed at Pagels Elementary School.

The 270-square-foot garden, constructed just off the school bus drop-off and pickup lane by Benham Hill Road, can treat more than 40,000 gallons of stormwater per year.

The project is the result of a collaboration with the UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research, which analyzed and reported on several potential sites in West Haven for tackling stormwater runoff reduction last year.

CLEAR, based in Haddam, provides information, education and assistance to land use decision-makers in support of balancing growth and natural resource protection.

Stormwater management is necessary to reduce flooding and protect bodies of water from pollutants that collect on roads, parking lots and driveways and flow into storm sewers.

Rain gardens are designed to collect runoff and allow the water to percolate through soil before finding its way to rivers and Long Island Sound. Typically, they are planted with native perennials that also function as carbon sinks — natural reservoirs that store carbon-containing chemical compounds accumulated over time — and provide habitat for wildlife, including birds and butterflies.

Rain gardens also require less maintenance and virtually no inputs, such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides — all of which contaminate the runoff instead of purifying it.

(City Photo/Robin D. Parsons)

Bill Barr

Barr named West Haven’s first troubadour

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 19, 2019 — William “Railroad Bill” Barr, with his wife, Nancy, left, receives a citation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi for being appointed the honorary position of troubadour of West Haven during a ceremony Monday at City Hall.

Reading the citation, Rossi said, “I join the great people of our city in admiring your passion for music, the arts and literacy … and congratulate you on your appointment as the official city troubadour.”

As West Haven’s first troubadour, Barr, a lifelong resident who lives on Court Street with his wife of 46 years, aims to foster cultural literacy through music. A prolific guitarist and singer, he has entertained audiences for decades across Connecticut and New England, including once serenading the Kennedy family at a reunion on Cape Cod.

Barr is also renowned in the world of square dancing, having called about 9,000 events since the 1980s.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Trash can poster
Artists, volunteers, sponsors sought for visual arts festival

Artists, volunteers, sponsors sought for visual arts fest

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 2, 2019 — Interested in connecting with the arts?

City-Wide Open Studios, a monthlong festival of visual arts, is returning to Greater New Haven, including a weekend event in West Haven.

Organizers are seeking artists, volunteers and sponsors to participate in the festival, in its 22nd year, from Oct. 4-Nov. 3.

Artists have until Sept. 1 to register for the festival, which is open to all state residents and presented by Artspace, the nerve center of New Haven’s contemporary arts scene.

Artists across all media can choose from three weekends in October and November to share their work and creative process with an arts-friendly community. Organizers will consider all artists for curator visits. For information, go to

Those looking to volunteer, including high school students needing community service hours, can sign up at

Area businesses are invited to celebrate the creative talent that helps the business community thrive by supporting City-Wide Open Studios. This year’s festival theme, “Older but Younger,” explores society’s changing attitudes about aging and longevity.

Program ads are accepted until mid-September at Business card sizes are available by contacting Elinor Slomba, executive producer of CWOS, at

For the second year, CWOS will hold its Alternative Space Weekend from noon-6 p.m. Nov. 2-3 at Yale University’s West Campus in West Haven.

The special weekend event sets CWOS apart from other open studio weekends by offering artists from across Connecticut — and those interested in creating site-specific works — a unique backdrop to showcase their talents.

Learn more about Alternative Space Weekend at

Farmers market

Farmers market open Thursdays, Saturdays on West Haven Green

WEST HAVEN, July 11, 2019 — The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is open for its 20th season on the Green.

Through Oct. 26, the market at Main Street and Campbell Avenue features state farmers selling homegrown fruits and vegetables from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.

It also includes crafters selling their wares.

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