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Madison Beach Hotel Deal Under Discussion [Updated Again]

Special meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 19 at 8 a.m. at town campus has been cancelled.

 

Update Tuesday April 17, 2012 at 5 p.m.: The meeting has been cancelled. The hotel has informed the town it is not interested in the $11,000 deal. For additional information, please see this story, http://patch.com/A-s4GZ

 

Update Tuesday April 17, 2012: The public notice for the meeting has been filed and it is as follows.

AGENDA

SPECIAL BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING

THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2012

8:00 A.M. – ROOM A – TOWN CAMPUS

8:00 a.m.            Regular Session

1. Public Comment

2.  Discuss and take action on Madison Beach Hotel issues.

Adjourn to Executive Session

3. Discuss negotiation strategies: Madison Beach Hotel                       

4. Adjournment

 

Original story:

A deal proposed by the town's Beach & Recreation Commission, to rent Madison Beach Hotel a strip of town-owned land adjacent to the Madison Beach Hotel for $11,000 a season will be reviewed by the Madison Board of Selectmen at a special meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 19, at 8 a.m. at town campus.

Selectman Joe MacDougald said First Selectman Fillmore McPherson is in the process of drawing up the call, or public notice, for the meeting. He said at this point, the selectmen are contemplating having an executive session followed by a special meeting to discuss and take action on the issue. He said he did not know whether there would be an official public comment opportunity at the meeting.

"There does not have to be," he said. "It depends on how Fillmore notices it."

"It's an unusual thing"

MacDougald said the selectmen decided to get involved in the Beach & Recreation Commission's decision because "it's an unusual thing to give away a season-long exclusive right to use town property. Also, only the selectmen have contracting authority, so we should get involved sooner rather than later."

MacDougald added that, speaking for himself, he has concerns about the proposal. He noted that , involving a land swap that would include the property under discussion, has not been finalized or resolved. He said he also had concerns about allowing the hotel use of town property that would be regularly used for "entertainment functions that include guests and alchohol."

, Madison resident Walter Lippmann raised several concerns about the hotel, including the proposed deal. Lippmann also raised concerns about and that Parker Avenue, behind the hotel, has not yet been repaved, and that the hotel said it would do so as part of the project.

Strip of land has been the subject of town meeting, other proposed deals

At the selectmen meeting where Lippmann raised his concerns, Selectman Joe MacDougald said he would like the deal relating to the stip of land adjacent to the hotel to come before the Board of Selectmen, because it sounded more like a land lease than a facility rental. While a facility rental is subject to Beach & Recreation Commission approval, a land lease would require additional review and approvals, he said.

Lippmann, and the selectmen, noted that the

Later that week, the Beach & Recreation Commission, at a meeting posted on the town website for Friday morning, but held on Thursday morning, The commission also approved another deal to allow the hotel to use a section of the Surf Club for valet parking during certain dates to be specified by the commission.The commission directed Beach & Recreation Director Scot Erskine to communicate the details of the proposed deal to hotel management and to ask for a reply before the next commission meeting May 4.

Lippmann encourages interested town residents to attend meeting Thursday

Walter Lippmann reported to Patch Sunday evening that the selectmen have scheduled a meeting to review the deal and encouraged people in town to come to the meeting, or call the selectmen's office, if they have any concerns about the proposed deal. The telephone for the selectmen's office is 203.245.5602. The fax number is 203.245.5609.

"We're in discussions with the Selectmen over the grass strip that adjoins the MBH because we have not been able to come to an agreement with the current management company for the MBH," Beach & Recreation Commission Chairman Banisch said Sunday night. "We're trying to offer a reasonable solution to the liability problem that the property creates, and if we don't arrive at one soon, the selectmen want to get involved.  We are hoping to avoid that and continue to oversee Beach & Rec facilities."

Hotel has full scheduled of events for summer, starting May 5th

Madison Beach Hotel has a full schedule of events planned for the summer, starting on May 5th with a wedding at 6 p.m. that will include between 75 and 100 guests. The events run through September 15th.

As of about a week ago, the hotel still did not have its permanent certificate of occupancy, but hotel management said they intend to schedule a meeting with town officials seeking that soon and that they intend to have the hotel, restaurants and spa open by May 1. The hotel had intended to be fully operational by the beginning of last summer, but instead had to rely upon a series of temporary certificates of occupancy to hold events throughout the summer and fall.

As of Sunday, April 15, all of the , as part of work being done, had been removed.

Matt April 16, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I'm glad this is going to BoS. Leasing a piece of public real estate to a private company is not something I feel the B&R should be in the business of doing. Especially when giving this land to the hotel has already been shot down in past meetings and votes. Getting around that decision by making this "lease" is not kosher. Maybe it can be worked out to benefit everyone, including the citizens, not just MBH. And only if the town is complete absolved of any and all liability for anything at all taking place there. If some drunken idiot gets hurt at a MBH party, I better not see the Town of Madison named in the law suit.
Anita Bath April 16, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Still waiting on a story about Public Safety budgets being cut...I guess the Warf is more important Pem
George April 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM
"He noted that another proposal, involving a land swap that would include the property under discussion, has not been finalized or resolved." It hasn't? I thought the vote was against it..
Pem McNerney (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Good question George. So there was the proposal several years ago that was voted down. Then there was a proposal, similar but smaller in scope, developed in June 2011 that has not been finalized or resolved: http://madison-ct.patch.com/articles/madison-beach-hotel-land-swap-being-considered-smaller-than-last-time.
Pem McNerney (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Public safety budgets have not been cut. An ambulance association proposal for more money was partially, not fully, funded. The Wharf isn't more important, it's as important. Still, we've had a lot of MBH/Wharf stories and I hope that's all for now, at least until Thursday. Sorry it's taken me so long to get to the budget story. I need time to focus on it, particularly since it involves numbers. I can manage numbers, but they're not my strong point. I'm hoping for some uninterrupted time later tonight and early tomorrow. Thanks for your patience and interest in the public safety/ambulance story.
Anita Bath April 17, 2012 at 01:35 AM
So i thought you were going to talk to chris and do a story?
Matt April 17, 2012 at 02:25 AM
So wait a minute. The "pending" deal to give the grassy strip to MBH from that other story has the town getting that corner section of beach, plus $100,000. That money would be earmarked for the much needed road, parking, and landscape improvements. Now, this "new" deal that B&R just tried to push though under everyone's radar includes the town getting $11,000 and all the liability of owning the land. Did I miss something here???? How did this land deal go from $100,000 + beach, to $11,000 plus liability??? Did they think nobody would notice this slight change in plan? Pem, I think you have a lead for you next story on this matter.
Mom of 2 teens April 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Fillmore is drawing up the notice, Fillmore will call a closed door executive meeting, Fillmore will decide not to allow public opinion to be heard (which has already been a resounding NO, and Fillmore will give MBH what they want. They've gotten away with so much already, why stop now. Right Fillmore?
Pem McNerney (Editor) April 17, 2012 at 04:19 PM
MO2T: The public notice has been filed. There will be a public comment section of the meeting. It looks like the selectmen will discuss and take action on the issue in public session, and then will adjourn to executive session to discuss negotiation strategies.
Herb April 17, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Regarding the land in front of the hotel: A review of the land values as established by our Town appraisal (see attached) would value the land at around $149.00 per square foot. Clearly waterfront land that is available to the public is at a premium, therefore this "grassy strip" as it is referred to is one of the last remaining properties available to the public. It is adjacent to all who park (by permit) at the West Wharf area, and can (and should) be used for sitting, reading, sunning, etc. by the citizens of Madison. The property dimensions are nominally 153 X 40 (as it would appears to measure) - equals 6,120 square feet, thus having a nominal value of $911,880.00. And this we're going to lease out for $11,000.00 - One might suspect some favoritism here???
Herb April 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
PLEASE PLEASE --- EVERYONE SHOULD BE PRESENT AT THIS SPECIAL BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
George April 17, 2012 at 05:23 PM
The meeting is Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Most people will be at work. seasonal residents aren't here yet.
Madison Resident April 17, 2012 at 05:53 PM
This land was always used in the past by the Madison Beach Hotel, I believe for no compensation. If the town is asking them for "rent money" now, what is the problem? It's hard enough to do business in CT these days - they are leaving by the droves because of the unfriendly business climate imposed by the government. Check with the town clerk's office about the beach commission's meeting date change. It was on the up and up, apparently due to a schedule conflict of some members. It was also posted on the town website calendar. No conspiracy...the reporter missed the meeting. I don't think the outcome would have been any different if she was there.
To Herb April 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I assume you are Herb Gram, who couldn't wait to foist the $9.5 million dollar airport property on taxpayers. And NOW you're worried about finances?! Let these people open their doors and give the local economy a boost.
Pem McNerney (Editor) April 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I didn't miss the meeting. I was there and reported on it: http://patch.com/A-sxMV. And it's true my presence did not affect the outcome. Why would it? It was not posted to the correct day on the town website calendar on the day of the meeting. When I checked with the beach commission chairman, he did confirm that the date was changed to Thursday from Friday due to a schedule conflict.
Pem McNerney (Editor) April 17, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Update: This meeting has been cancelled. The town just received a communication from Madison Beach Hotel officials that they are not interested in the $11,000 deal.
Anita Bath April 17, 2012 at 08:18 PM
So now you can story about the ambulance getting their budget cut? Why are you so scared to do a story about this?
Michael April 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM
In response to the question about a public comment period related to yet another Madison Beach Hotel give-away, Selectman Joe MacDougald states "There does not have to be,(a public comment period in an open town meeting)" he said. "It depends on how Fillmore notices it.". I share Selectman MacDougald's concern and outrage. Come on folks this is ridiculous. Ever since Filmore took over he has been pandering to the wealthy business interests in town. We say no to the parking spots at East Wharf and he gives away critically needed spots at the Surf Club. We say not to the land swap he tries to bring it up a second time and now in a third attempt wants to lease the land to the hotel. It is our land not his and I am not in favor of refusing me access to it because I was not the highest bidder. The town dose not need the 11k in lease rights and liability. We settled this in a referendum. Filmore needs to leave it alone. He is supposed to be our voice in government and we have spoken. He has tried to take over the town as his personal Mc-Fiefdom. After watching this happen time and time again I am now in favor of a unbiased investigation into what Filmore's interest is in this project and is there a possible conflict of interest in his actions. Something has to be fueling his repeated intentional disregard for the public interest and sentiment.
Michael April 18, 2012 at 01:00 PM
First let me state I would have no problem if the hotel would leave town and take it embarrassingly large eye sore of a hotel with it. But to correct you on facts alone. The main concern of any one, least a hotel with larger than life corporate attorney's, from doing business using the land for free, remains a question of liability and environmental impact. Liability alone should concern every one of us. I am not endorsing the change in meeting date as any kind of conspiracy however, we ask out public officials to run a clean tight and timely office. This is not the first time on a critical issue that a meeting date change or cancellation has caused a problem (just ask the residents on Fort Path across from the town garage). Let's just keep to the facts.
Herb April 18, 2012 at 02:30 PM
First, Thank you Michael for saying what has needed to be said. This is still a Town and should be governed as a Town - where the will of the citizen applies. I am still concerned regarding proper licenses and proper insurance coverage. The article above indicates that the Hotel still does not have a permanent certificate of occupancy. Are there now hotel employees working in the facility without a proper certificate? If weddings are coming up, does the hotel finally have a valid liquor license? Is there proper insurance and "save harmless" agreements for the Town in place for the construction workers and equipment working on the town land in front of the building? How about the assurances from our Fire Marshall? The list(s) of what our Town Selectman should be monitoring goes on and on
George April 18, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Has it been considered to sell the land outright at fair market value? As private property, it can then be taxed.
Michael April 19, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Relax "To Herb" I am not Herb. My mane is Michael. I am a resident of Madison and have contributed comments to the Patch from time to time. The only frustration I have is people not using your real first name and sounding all cranky and bothered by people giving their personal opinion (using their real names). Lets work out our differences civilly and respectfully please.
Michael April 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Dear "To Herb", I am not Herb. You can read his response below. My name is Michael and I am a Madison resident who has chosen to comment in the Patch from time to time. I never mind a well thought out difference of opinion. What I do find annoying is Commentators who won't use their real first name and make self righteous soliloquies at people who have the strength of character to put thier real name on what they right. Lets play civilly "To Herb" and remember, we can learn from each other if we encourage each other to listen.
Janet April 22, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Again, I question whether the residents of Parker Ave and West Wharf were informed that this was to be an event facility versus a shoreline hotel. I do not reside in that neighborhood, but I now feel for those who do. Event crowds are not the same as hotel guest crowds... There is extended alcohol consumption, noise, and departing partiers into the AM hours. The hotel is not set apart from neighborhoods as is Waters Edge or The Inn at Saybrook. It's smack in the middle of our town streets. I am the first person to support greater tax revenues by attracting more businesses to town... But this really stinks for that neighborhood.
J.D. May 09, 2012 at 03:46 AM
The world according to Anita Bath. LOL What a joke.
J.D. May 09, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Why not spend less time on your naysayer train and actually do something positive?
J.D. May 09, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Correct
Becky Bowow May 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
And they plan on having live entertainment outside the bar on the open porch, blasting out the neighbors. That will not go over very well.

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