At a Town Meeting set for Monday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at the Mulvey Municipal Center, Westbrook electors will be asked to renew the town’s elderly property tax relief program participation, amend the town’s building fee schedule, and approve two easements.
Town Assessor Pam Fogarty explained that the town needs to renew its participation in the elderly property tax relief program after each property revaluation process is completed. Since the town just concluded a revaluation last year, Fogarty is asking for town electors to renew the program.
Assuming that the Town Meeting renews participation, eligible residents can continue to get property tax relief through the program. To be eligible, an elderly individual must be a year-round Westbrook resident and not have annual income in excess of the income limits set annually for the State of Connecticut’s Circuit-Breaker program for the elderly and disabled.
“In order to verify that you qualify for the program, bring in to the Assessor’s Office your completed 2016 Tax Return forms along with your Social Security 1099 Form,” said Fogarty.
In addition to renewing the elderly tax relief program, the Town Meeting is also asked to approve small changes to the town’s building fee schedule. The main adjustment will be to reduce the $200 fee for solar panel reviews to $100, in keeping with the town’s energy commitments.
The town’s electors will also be asked to approve two easements.
The first is a request from a homeowner for an easement under Old Mail Trail for a pipe to connect his home to a septic system field across the street on property the homeowner also owns.
The second easement is one that the town recently negotiated with the owner of the commercial building of 20 Westbrook Place.
“We asked the developer for the right to put a future shared access and driveway behind the building,” said Town Planner Meg Parulis.
The area over which the town will have an easement right—if the town voters agree—is a trapezoidal-shaped area at the rear of 20 Westbrook Place roughly 72 feet by 24 feet.
“If the easement is approved by the town, the town would have to right to construct, maintain, and repair a driveway and parking lot suitable for all purposes and for ingress and egress and allow the general public to pass by motor vehicle, [on] foot, and allow forms of transportation,” explained Parulis. “A decision to approve the easement does not transfer ownership of the underlying parcel.”
The easement does include a sunset clause. If the town does not proceed with the Town Center plan implementation within five years, the easement sunsets. The easement behind 20 Westbrook Place is a key puzzle piece in the Town Center concept plan that would, if implemented, improve the traffic and parking pattern connecting Knothe Road and the areas behind the commercial buildings on Westbrook Place.
The 20 Westbrook Place commercial building to the west of this easement is site of the soon-to-open GFit, a fitness, health, and wellness center that will primarily serve Gowrie Group workers.