There is an important meeting of the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission this Wednesday evening at City Hall. The Chamber will appear at the meeting to comment on two important issues. This organization strongly supports the Zoning Code Text Amendment to the Mixed-Use Zone being brought forth by Bob Landino and Acquisition Holdings, LLC.
The language of this amendment allows for mixed-use development of an appropriate scale and architecture and specifically allows retail, upper story professional office, restaurants and upper story residential inside of Mixed Use Zones in the city. This text amendment is very reasonable and will allow for economic development while maintaining the aesthetically pleasing nature of Middletown.
Under this proposal, buildings must be at least two stories and they must be oriented to the street or intersection. The buildings must also utilize existing and surrounding building lines and materials to the fullest extent possible while facing the front of the building toward a state highway.
Encouraging highly effective mixed-use development with multiple stories within Mixed-Use Zones is in the best interest of the City of Middletown and its economic development future.
The Chamber’s Executive Committee voted to support this Zoning Code Text Amendment at it's February meeting held last Monday.
The Executive Committee, the Chamber’s top governing body, also voted to oppose the proposed text amendment for the Institutional Development Zone. This short-sighted proposal would restrict planning decisions, negatively affect economic development in the city and negatively affect the value of property within the zone. The Chamber looks forward to working with city officials and other key stakeholders on these critical issues.
We're approaching mid February in Middlesex County, and the Chamber Calendar is filled with events and activities.
I want to publicly thank Rusa D’Alessandro, founder of the new Middletown Art Academy, for hosting a terrific Grand Opening last Thursday. Mayor Dan Drew and Councilman Bob Santangelo joined us from the city to celebrate this new business which will be great for downtown.
I was proud to attend a surprise 89th birthday party for Ray Klick on Thursday evening which was held at Matty’s Next Door on South Main Street in Middletown. The food was terrific and I want to thank Rich Jukonski for hosting this fun event. It was a great night with Ray and his friends.
I am looking forward to going to Chester tomorrow for the Grand Opening of a new Essex Savings Bank branch. Essex Savings is a high quality institution and a strong member of our Chamber. I want to publicly acknowledge the great leadership of President and CEO Greg Shook who sits on the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
The Chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Committee will meet on Wednesday to decide this year’s Distinguished Citizen Awardees. Each year at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner, a special award is presented to one or more members of the business community who have demonstrated outstanding and unselfish service to the community. The awardee must be 21 years of age or older and live or work in one of the 12 Middlesex County towns that our Chamber represents. The committee has over 220 nominees to consider for this major award.
I want to congratulate another strong Chamber member, Dr. Mark Chasse of Cromwell, on reaching the milestone of 30 years in business. Mark is a fine optometrist and an even better person and I look forward to celebrating with him and his team at an anniversary celebration on Thursday.
Downtown Middletown will soon have two more great restaurants. Lan Chi, featuring Vietnamese fare, has a soft opening this week and a Grand Opening scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th at its location in the new 505 Main Street building. I have visited the site and it looks great. Us Restaurant, planning to open later in the month, will be located at 412 Main Street.
On Tuesday, February 19th, the Chamber will hold a Member Business After Work Networking Event at the Hawthorne Inn, 2421 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin. This event, as always, will feature free beer, wine and soft drinks, along with a great spread of food and the best networking around. The event will run from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
Our next Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by Pratt & Whitney, will be held on February 25th and will feature United States Senator Richard Blumenthal. We are looking forward to hearing from Senator Blumenthal on the many important issues that are being discussed in our nation’s capital.
The event with Senator Blumenthal will be followed by an Energy Forum titled “Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Plan: What Impact Will It Have On Your Business?” This event is hosted by our Environment, Land Use and Energy Committee and sponsored by Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. The forum will feature a high level discussion on energy policy that will focus on how the State of Connecticut’s proposed Comprehensive Energy Plan will affect the business community. It will identify the pros and cons of implementing the state’s energy plan and will assess the economic impacts of enacting it as proposed. The forum will also explore the feasibility of implementing alternative energy sources and will explain how the regulatory structure would work. The entire program will be split into two panels: The first will be a Regulatory and Administrative Discussion featuring state officials and a leading Connecticut economist, and the second panel will be an Industry and Technical Discussion featuring representatives from the energy industry. Each segment will have an extensive question and answer period, which promise to be interactive forums that will educate and help our members make informed decisions about Connecticut’s energy future as it relates to business. The first panel, which will engage in a regulatory and administrative discussion, will feature: Tracy Babbidge, Bureau Chief of Energy, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Michael Caron, Director, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), Peter Gioia, Economist, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), and State Representative Lonnie Reed, House Energy & Technology Committee Chairwoman, 102nd District.
The second panel, which will engage in an industry and technical discussion, will feature: Michael Collins, Manager of Sales, Yankee Gas, Michael Dirrane, Director of Northeast Marketing, Spectra Energy, David Foster, President, Wilcox Energy, Jonathan Gordon, Board of Directors, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Business Association, Inc. (REEBA), Tom Santa, CEO, Santa Energy Corporation, and Joe Sauger, Vice President for Engineering & Construction Services, Buckeye Partners, L.P.
We are looking forward to this very important forum on energy policy. I want to thank our friends at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. for sponsoring the event and Bill Corvo, President, William Corvo Consultants, Inc., for serving as our moderator.
Looking ahead, we are excited to welcome a good friend and longtime Chamber supporter back to Middlesex County. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman will visit with the Chamber’s All Middletown Division on Thursday, February 28th. Nancy has continued her tradition of meeting with the Chamber’s geographically based divisions, a tradition which goes back to the early days of her tenure as State Comptroller. Nancy has been very good to our organization over the years and we continue to work well with her now that she is in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The meeting of the All Middletown Division will be held at the Village at South Farms in Middletown and will begin at 8:00 AM.
Finally, save the date of Tuesday, March 19th, for the 29th Annual Business After Work Auction & Taste of Middletown. This huge event will be held at the Italian Society of Middletown and will once again feature a great spread of food and some terrific items to bid on.
For more information on Chamber events and activities, please contact Jeff Pugliese at firstname.lastname@example.org.