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April 23, 2007 (Special Meeting) Minutes
Town of East Windsor
Economic Development Commission
11 Rye Street, P.O. Box 389
Broad Brook, CT 06016
Special Meeting Minutes
April 23, 2007

Chairman Moffett called the meeting to order at 7:12 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex, 25 School Street, Warehouse Point, CT.


I.      ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM

Members Present:        Chairman Eric F. Moffett, Richard Covill, Jim Richards, Josh
Kapelner, Michael Maloney

Members unable      Matt Crossen, Sharon Aprea
to attend:

Also in attendance:  Laurie Whitten, Director of Planning & Development


                
II.     GENERAL DISCUSSION

          Economic Development Issues

Town Planner Laurie Whitten briefed the EDC members on current development in town:  Mansions on the Canyon--North Road, Rockville Bank & Taco Bell on the Wendy’s site; the construction on the corner of Route 140 and Route 5 is being developed for a bank, Starbucks or other smaller tenants. The Suschi Restaurant, Mei-Tzu, has opened for business in the former Shenanigans plaza on Route 5. A discussion of the F & G property on Shoham Road cited their text amendment to allow for transfer stations for municipal solid waste associated with volume reduction facilities. It was noted that Steve Dearborn has been approved for a contractor’s storage yard on Newberry Road, along with his intention to farm the remainder of that parcel. An application for a 6-lot industrial subdivision with reconstruction of the private road has been submitted to Inland Wetlands. The proposed buildings on the plans are conceptual, but range from 7,000 to 62,000 sq. ft. The lots would be located on the private road (to be upgraded to town standards) between Craftsman and Newberry Road.  It was clarified that The Martini Grill in Broad Brook closed due to energy bill problems, not due to any outstanding tax payments.

Discussion continued concerning the town budget and its process. All departments are being requested to submit budgets with a 0% increase, in addition to presenting another budget with a 5% decrease.  Town Planner Whitten commented on the need and intentions to raise land-use application/permit fees to meet the costs of reviews and newspaper publications, which is mandated by State Statute. The EDC members expressed their displeasure with the continued 0% increase in budgets, adding that over the years, this retreat will result in detrimental affects to public safety, education, infrastructure, human services and the economic development of the town.  The members concurred to issue a statement from the EDC to the Board of Finance, commenting on the need to maintain infrastructure, public safety and other services to promote economic development in the town--that a small increase in the mill rate starting now is less of a burden than a hefty increase in later years.  Chairman Eric Moffett will compose the letter and forward it to The Chamber of Commerce for distribution to the chamber newsletter and their members.

MOTION:         To send an official letter to the Board of Finance to reconsider the budget
reductions that will adversely impact the town’s needs, with copies to the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education, Planning & Zoning, Inland Wetlands, Parks & Recreation, Human Services, Senior Center, and Zoning Board of Appeals.                                              Richards/Covill-Unanimous



MetroHartford Alliance (MHA)

Chairman Moffett brought up the matter of membership with the MetroHartford Alliance, noting that the EDC has an available slush fund of $2,199.00.  Town Planner Laurie Whitten cited that the town was a member of the MHA for the previous two years and had no outcome. There was a roundtable discussion among the members on the pros and cons of being a member, questioning what the MHA could do for the EDC versus spending the money in other ways to market the town. If a developer is seeking out a location for development, it is more likely they would contact a regional agency for information as opposed to contacting individual towns.  The membership would offer the opportunity to network with other organizations and towns in various ways.  It would also provide a voice for the town.  The $2,000 membership fee would be creditable if one corporation came to town as a result of the MetroHartford Alliance’s larger exposure.  

Discussion continued noting that the town is already on the CERC Sitefinder, but needs to be updated. Others noted that the $2000 could be used to market the town through a DVD/video or public television; however, there’s a question of available time to pursue these avenues and properly attract business to town.  To request another $2000 next year from the Board of Finance, the EDC would have a video or something tangible to show that the money was used for a beneficial use.  If money were requested for continued membership in the MHA, the board would have to prove results as to what the Alliance did for the town.  

It was decided that the Chairman would contact Jeff Vose of the MetroHartford Alliance to possibly come up a specific proposal instead of generalities. It was also noted that the EDC’s website should be enhanced, including a counter to determine how many hits are received on the web page.

The subject of member turnout at recent meetings was discussed, noting that the shortage of attending members to meet the requirements of a quorum has been an ongoing issue.  The last meeting to have the 4 required members was in November 2006.  It was suggested that letters be sent out to members who haven’t been attending regularly.  

MOTION:         The Chairman will send a letter to the EDC members who have not been attending the meetings to question their continued interest in serving on the board.
                                                                           Covill/Maloney-Unanimous


A discussion took place with reference to the possibility of finding a new meeting room. There are no available evenings at the Town Hall meeting room in Broad Brook.  It is the Town Planner’s understanding that there is a newly constructed meeting room in the Town Hall Annex, but it still needs furniture.

Election of Officers

Chairman

MOTION:         To nominate Eric Moffett as Chairman
                Made by Mr. Richards, seconded by Mr. Kapelner

Mr. Moffett accepted the nomination.  Being no further nominations on the table:
VOTE:  ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED

Co-Chairman

MOTION:         To nominate Richard Covill as Co-chairman
                Made by Mr. Kapelner, seconded by Mr. Maloney

Mr. Covill accepted the nomination.  Being no further nominations on the table:
VOTE:  ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED

Result:         Eric Moffett, Chairman  --  Richard Covill, Co-chairman

        
III.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES

MOTION:  To approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of November 20, 2006.                                                                                                                            Covill/Richards-Unanimous


IV.     ADJOURNMENT

MOTION:  To adjourn the meeting at 8:26 p.m.  -                 Covill/Kapelner-Unanimous

Respectfully submitted,


        Nancy J. Rudek,
Recording Secretary