Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Good Grief!!
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 20:49:34 -0500
This story was in this morning's Hartford Courant. The troop is from the
Middlesex District in the Connecticut Rivers Council, one town south of my
Scouts' Plan Has Neighbors In Knots
By ERIC RICH
This story ran in the Courant February 15, 1999
CROMWELL- Some residents in the eastern end of town are mobilizing against
what they say is a threat to their quiet neighborhood. But the cause for
concern among the owners of these high- end homes isn't a trash incinerator, a
prison or even a school.
It's Boy Scout Troop 26.
The scouts are hoping to build a new headquarters on town property in the
residential neighborhood. Apparently, the prospect of s'mores sizzling has
some residents worried about property values fizzling.
``We're talking about screwing up a neighborhood here,'' said resident Bob
Olsen. ``If we lived in Wethersfield or Rocky Hill, this wouldn't even be
Town officials first offered the Nooks Hill Road property because a planned
police station expansion will force the roughly 20 scouts from their current
home, a ramshackle Quonset hut in the parking lot between the station and the
town garage. But Olsen and his neighbors are worried that the proposed single-
story ranch with a basement walkout will ruin the neighborhood. Olsen hired an
appraiser, Stuart J. Feldman of West Hartford, who found that the headquarters
could indeed drive down local property values.
``Don't get me wrong,'' said Olsen, as he surveyed the site from his back
yard. ``I'm an easygoing guy, until you try to take money out of my pocket.''
Olsen, 47, built his home 10 years ago at the end of a cul-de-sac called Pond
View Drive. Today, he is surrounded by homes that, like his, are valued at
upwards of $300,000. The former scout and father of two - one of whom used to
be a scout - says candidly that he's not much involved in local affairs. Other
than paying taxes and owning land, he has few important connections to this
bedroom town of 12,000.
Olsen realizes that opposing the scouts' plan makes him look like a bad guy,
but says he's just trying to protect the neighborhood. ``But this is common
sense when you deal in real estate,'' he said. ``It's like water and
electricity - you don't put them together.''
`It's sort of a sad commentary,'' state Rep. James A. O'Rourke said of the
opposition. O'Rourke, D-Cromwell, is one of several local politicians who has
worked to help the scouts find a new home. He has no sympathy for the property
owners. ``I can't possibly think of how it could harm anybody's property
values or detract one iota from their enjoyment of the property,'' he said.
``The interests of the children of the town have to come over a couple of
property owners in this case, especially because I can't even imagine how they
could be harmed.''
Even the town-owned property, a plot of scrub and trees bounded by residential
roads, is no great piece of wilderness. The sloping five-acre site, sliced
down the middle by a drainage culvert, appears to be a popular dumping site
for unwanted fill.
Scoutmaster Douglas Blowers said the proposed headquarters would blend with
the neighborhood and barely be visible from Olsen's home. He said it would
even improve the town-owned parcel. "Everybody uses it as a trash dump now,''
Still, many of Olsen's neighbors share his concerns. They have circulated
fliers, consulted an attorney and hired Feldman. They also plan to protest the
move at a planning and zoning commission meeting Feb. 23.