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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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RTM bid to press Penfield Pavilion planners for more repair options falls short

Published 6:26 am, Tuesday, August 26, 2014
  • Representative Town Meeting members Carol Pontrelli, R-9, and John Donovan, R-1, tried to get a sense o the body resolution regarding Penfield Pavilion on the RTM agenda Monday night. Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Fairfield Citizen
    Representative Town Meeting members Carol Pontrelli, R-9, and John Donovan, R-1, tried to get a sense o the body resolution regarding Penfield Pavilion on the RTM agenda Monday night. Photo: Genevieve Reilly

 

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A proposed "sense of the body" resolution on the Penfield Pavilion hit rough seas Monday night when it failed to gain enough votes to be added to the Representative Town Meeting's agenda.

Sponsored by Carol Pontrelli, R-9; Gaylord Meyer, R-1, and John Donovan, R-1, the non-binding resolution asks the Penfield Building Committee to present the legislative body with options that "definitively respond to and incorporate specific suggestions as proposed by residents" at two public hearings.

Because the resolution was submitted too late to be included on Monday's RTM agenda, a two-thirds majority vote was required for it to be added. The vote of 25-15, with one abstention, in favor fell short of that threshold.

The building committee had planned to make a presentation on its plan to repair and reopen the storm-damaged pavilion -- closed since October 2012 by damage from Superstorm Sandy -- to the RTM, but withdrew it from the agenda in order to refine its recommendations. The committee has voted to recommend an option that would demolish the pavilion's east wing housing lockers, move the west wing into the parking lot, and drive new timber piles where the west wing stands now. The west wing would then be moved back onto the new pilings and elevated, and a small addition for changing rooms and day lockers would be added.

The committee is also now exploring whether to move the west wing to the site where the east wing is now located, saving money on moving costs.

The resolution also asked that any plan presented to the RTM should "offer additional options in response to resident input" and include the public's concerns regarding flood mitigation, natural coastal berms, options for a smaller pavilion footprint, option to not rebuild the structure at all, a "defined purpose of rebuild" and options that limit the town's funding to no more than the $500,000 insurance deductible.

"I think a lot of the town's residents are not being heard," Donovan said. "From everything I've heard, they haven't looked at lower cost options. I'd like to see more transparency."

The building committee began by looking at about 11 different options to repair the pavilion. All of its meetings are open to the public, and its documents are online on the town's website, www.fairfieldct.org.

"This is about options," Pontrelli said. "The town came out at both meetings and requested more options. I want them to be heard. It's not about decisions, it's just about options."