Old East Haven High School: Elderly Housing?

With last fall's referendum apparently nonbinding, the East Haven Mayor's Office publishes legal notice requesting architectural/engineering proposals to convert 200 Tyler Street site into elderly housing project.

When it comes to the future of the old East Haven High School at 200 Tyler Street it appears that it will be the that will cast the final and decisive vote.

, Art DeSorbo, economic development coordinator, reported to the Town Council the Mayor's Office was seeking an opinion from Town Attorney Joseph Zullo on whether or not last November's referendum to was actually binding on the town.

The referendum gave voters three choices:

  1. Shall the property located at 200 Tyler Street be rehabilitated at a cost to the Town and used for educational purposes?
  2. Shall the property located at 200 Tyler Street be rehabilitated at a cost to the Town and used for community purposes?
  3. Shall the property located at 200 Tyler Street be sold by the Town for condominium use?

Residents voted to of renovating the aging facility for community use.

This morning, DeSorbo told East Haven Patch that no official legal decision has  as yet been handed down by Zullo, but the town attorney was leaning toward the referendum not being a binding one.

DeSorbo added that Zullo is expected to have his final opinion in writing prior to the Town Council's regularly scheduled meeting in April.

Legal Notice

Although no final decision has yet been handed down, it appears the administration has decided to take the first steps forward in its for the town-owned site.

On Sunday, the town published a legal notice in the New Haven Register putting out a call for "request for qualifications" for engineering and architectural services "for the conversion of the Old East Haven High School, 200 Tyler Street East Haven, CT, to elderly rental housing apartments."

"The work shall basically involve preparation of design and plans for same," the notice reads. "This work shall include evaluation of ADA and life safety codes, evaluation of heating, plumbing and air handling system and preparation of schematic plans for internal and site improvements."

The deadline for proposal submissions is April 20.


Many voters have over the possibility that the results of last November's referendum will not be carried out by the town.

It does appear, however, the power to make that decision does lie in the hands of town officials.

Joshua Foley, of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, told East Haven Patch that if an issue regarding a referendum is not specifically addressed in state or local election laws, it is then open to legal interpretation by town officials.

"And the town attorney is really the one who interprets that," Foley said, adding that that interpretation is generally determined by reviewing Connecticut State Statues along with a town's charter.

Current state statutes regarding referenda primarily deal with the electoral process of developing, voting on and then reporting a question on a municipal ballot.

And although the specifically addresses referendums on the town budget and ordinances, it does not deal with ballot questions like the one asked on 200 Tyler Street last fall.

Foley said residents can file a complaint with the SEEC if they feel there has been a violation in the procedural aspects of how a referendum was carried out.

"But it has to be an alleged violation of the state election law and not a violation of the charter," he said, adding those complaints generally relate to how a question was framed on the ballot or a campaign finance issue.

Foley said voters can also file suit against the town, but that generally requires hiring an attorney — an expense many individual private residents may find difficult to meet.

'Tremendous' Cost

Ultimately, DeSorbo said the administration's decision to pursue elderly housing for the 200 Tyler Street site is driven by today's economic realities.

The cost to rehabilitate and renovate the building — and ensuring it is up to today's building code stands — for community/municipal center would present a "tremendous" cost to the town, he said.

"It would cost many millions... and there's just no money for that kind of project at either the state or local level," DeSorbo said.

He added that renovating the facility into some sort of educational use center "would be even more expensive."

And so, according to DeSorbo, the most cost-effective way to rehabilitate the property would be as elderly housing.

"And the town just doesn't need another (standard) housing complex," he said.

The senior housing option would ensure the property no longer wastes away, while also eventually increasing the town's tax base, DeSorbo said.

'Six Developers Interested'

And there already appears to be interest in such a project.

DeSorbo reported at the last Economic Development Commission meeting on Feb. 27 that "there were six developers interested in the property."

The meeting's minutes are posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.

Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM
The "townspeople" are comprised of over 26,000 taxpayers. Not JUST the 5% of them that voted on this "non-binding" referendum.
Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Robin, not only do I have friends that live there and say just the opposite as you just did, I live around there myself. There is a big difference between a small amount of activity throughout the day and "crippling" traffic during morning drive time and later in the afternoon as well. As I also said, there are many more taxpayers in town than those who voted on this NON-BINDING referendum.
Robin Carlson March 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
You are right, you do keep repeating yourself. Number of voters, non-binding... yeah got it. Those who did take the time to vote, voted not to sell the property. The majority wanted it for community use. The neighborhood has been home to an educational institution since before my mother attended, some years ago. (we'll leave it at that in case she is reading.) School bus traffic is for a very short amount of time. I think referring to it as crippling is a little dramatic.
Becki Pastor March 27, 2012 at 06:04 PM
At the end of the day it no longer matters what proposal is wanted by which poster on here. The issue is, we as VOTERS who participated, voted. We made a decision. One I disagree with as I think the town should just unload it and not take on any more debt but that's my opinion not the voted consensus by ballot. The issue NOW is that Mayor Maturo has once again chosen to disregard his duty to the town by forging ahead with his agenda despite the fact that he said he was having the Town Attorney look into whether or not the referendum was binding. As seems to be typical with Mr. Maturo, he says he will "carefully consider" something while crossing his fingers behind his back so that no one wlll notice a week later that he had already made the decision. He only announced that the Town Attorney was looking into the legalities so no one would notice when he placed an ad in the paper to pay YET ANOTHER consultant to determine viability of turning Tyler Street into Sr. Housing. He did the SAME thing when he reinstated Gallo. Less than a week after he announced he would carefully review the DOJ information and carefully consider his decision he reinstated his buddy to great fanfare. This is how Joe operates. It's all slight of hand so we can't tell what he is really doing. Be honest Joe. You want to and have always wanted to sell Tyler Street. Be honest and let the chips fall where they may. We would respect you more. Maybe not agree but have more respect.
Becki Pastor March 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM
You are right Richard. I had forgotten that Hyman was one of the Lender (sons) Brothers. He and Sam died quite some time ago, and Murray just last week. And I actually tried to look up that company but it must have been disolved, likely because all principals are dead or retired. Thank you for the information.
Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
We got all three of our new "young democrats" all posting the same message. Over and over they take turns repeating it. We are Appalled, You are disregarding the will of the people!! PLEASE.......... AGAIN I will say it.... THIS referendum WAS NON-BINDING, that means it was little more than a consensus of about 5% of the towns taxpayers. So get your "voting blocks" together and take them on November 13' (I'm sure of some of the names on the Democratic slate already) right Becki?
Becki Pastor March 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Well Lou, if you had really read my post, its as much how the Mayor conducts himself in a disingenuous manner that is at issue. And further had you ever actually read any of my comments thoroughly you works have learned a).I'm not young but you're a peach for saying so, b) not on or planning on being on any slate ever unless its pto or band boosters, didn't vote the winning choice (and I actually disagree with friends, and c) I still believe rather vehemently that Mayor Maturo, your boss, needs to resign while he still had some dignity, little credibility but some ahead of dignity.....if only he had the decency to do so.
Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 06:33 PM
If you ever drove by a school during the morning or afternoon hours that students are being bused, you should know driving through the area is "slow at best" imagine having to deal with that every day, along with the accompanying noise from our little ones..........oy vey!! crippling is NOT overly dramatic at all!
Robin Carlson March 27, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Yes, driving near a school you must use caution. Driving behind buses is tedious, sort of like the entire length of North High Street every school morning and afternoon. It's everywhere, and no more tedious for the people around Tyler Street than the rest of town.
Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Well Becki, you got some things wrong yourself. a) My name is Luigi b) compared to me, my dear, you ARE young. and c) Maturo is NOT my boss. Lastly I think you gotta forget that resigning thing....ain't gonna happen. and many of us are still happy about that. SORRY
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 27, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Becki, when you become Omnipotent Queen of Everything, Ever...Please be sure to remember dear Luigi. He's at least deserving of being named Court Jester. While he doesn't seem to know many facts about the people he speaks of, he's certainly entertaining in his diversionary tactics.
Becki Pastor March 27, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Doreen, sweet Doreen, it's Benevolent Dictator and Goddess of the Universe....and of course Lou and his boss Joe can be Jesters!! Say what you will Lou, wet know it's you...just like I'm Father Manship and Patty Cofrancesco or some unnamed Aprilist, all so very flattering but not true.
Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 06:52 PM
LOL....Doreen, now you're just being silly. I hope you're not becoming one of those arguposters Becki was talking about. You gals have a wonderful day. We'll be back for another round tomorrow.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 27, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Take care, ole buddy, ole pal. :-)
Chairman Chrome Dome March 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM
You're Manship? and Patty too? Holy crap.......who knew!? You're neither, but you are one heck of a voice for the Democratic Agenda bless you child.....and enjoy a laugh, I know I am.
Gene Ruocco March 27, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I would like to thank all the commenter’s for their input on this subject. I knew when I submitted it, that a lively discussion would result. I would like to let everyone know that on the agenda for the April 3, 2012 Regular first Tuesday of the month Town Council Meeting is agenda item 200 Tyler Street. My hope is everyone who commented on this thread will be present to voice their opinion on this subject. The vote was binding as all the steps by State Statutes were followed. See you all there, Gene Ruocco
Luigi (the original) March 27, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Seems Joshua Foley, of the State Elections Enforcement Commission thinks otherwise. I guess we shall see. Thank you Mr. Moderator.
Richard Poulton March 27, 2012 at 08:59 PM
And folks, again you have heard from the man who knows all. Says "the vote was binding as all the steps by statute were followed". Now the DTC is an attorney. And notice in the beginning of his comment he says "I knew it when I submitted it that a lively discussion would result". Gee, according to the named author of this piece, Julie wrote it.
Patrick Madley March 27, 2012 at 10:09 PM
If the attorney says that this is not binding then that is when we should worry about all this information. Until then we should remember that community use won the referendum. I personally wanted education mostly because of the large state reimbursement.
FCF March 27, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Beware, your complacency will cause you to get blind sided and lose the war before the battle has begun. Always be prepared and have a plan. It is like a chess game.
Ann Della Camera March 28, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Gene, may I ask when you became President of the PTACH, I am sure we would all like an answer. After all your the that claims to have started this thread. Free country and Julie makes that decision. I know you won't answer me, perhaps because you know I know a lot and worry about what I could disclose.
Ann Della Camera March 28, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Gene, so glad that we amuse you, since many have given intellgent answers to the situation. I forgot, you don't both to read the smart ones do you.
Ann Della Camera March 28, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Gene, for the proposal to be heard on EHTV with the sound system you have. Its vertiually impossible to hear what is being said. I witnessed this at the P&Z hearings. Sitting in the front row you cannot, i repeat CANNOT hear one word being said by the board or who ever has a proposal before it. You know I know this and I am sure you will not respond because the truth is the truth.
Ann Della Camera March 28, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Doreen, I see you have become or are one of Becki's front runners. Perhaps you might like the job of kissing her ring and doing her nails. All this could have been resolved when Capone was in, however she was to busy running the Police Dept. at the time.
Ann Della Camera March 28, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Lugi, I think it is Becki that that should resign from her discriminating speechs.You feel free to say what you want when your want. I guessshe/he must have lost her/his town hall job and has yet to get over it.
noname March 28, 2012 at 09:08 PM
To GR: We don't live in New Haven which is a city with a much different check book. Our town differs and there are so many for sale signs now..we don't need a ghost town. When your regime was in, the money could have been used in a wiser manner. I'm a taxpayer and have been for more than 25 years. These past 3 yrs have been a burden to me and others. I don't feel this is the time to be spending millions of dollars to further burden the taxpayers with bills and bonds. The Federal money if any, would never cover or compensate for what we still would have to deal with or put out. Do we need to be put into jeopardy for those unable to see the writing on the wall?
Richard Poulton March 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Come on now "noname", Gene doesn't care about your problems or what you pay in taxes. Gene only cares about himself and getting his party back in power so he can be the puller of the strings. He just doesn't get it, that people, other then those following in his shadow, can see right through him, for what he truely is all about. But giving him credit, he does do a good job at what he does best.
Ted Musco March 29, 2012 at 05:39 AM
As i recalled some years ago there was no money for refurbishing the old high school so the dems convinced a new high school was the way to go. so we built a new high school at a cost of 50 million dollars and the towns share was 17 million and that was when times were good. in todays economy what do you think it will cost the town to rehab that school and that will be with almost no reimbursement from the state.
Dan McCann July 24, 2012 at 05:22 AM
DonnaR July 24, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Not only was the referendum non binding, it was done illegally. As was presented at the original meeting to Ms Cofrancesco, but as usual she poo pooed everyone and just went on. If that weren’t enough the legal postings were incorrect as to the three proposals. I could go on but why bother. And just for the record All town meetings should be public


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