…And They Put Up a Parking Lot.

01Aug08

This just gets funnier every day.

You read it in the Post:

Parking lot dispute hits beach sale
BILL CUMMINGS and RICHARD WEIZEL
Article Last Updated: 08/01/2008 01:27:23 AM EDT

A dispute over who owns a parking lot adjacent to Long Beach West in Stratford threatens to derail plans to create a nature preserve encompassing that beach and neighboring Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport.

The latest hurdle to Stratford’s proposed beach sale to the federal government is posed by another federal agency — the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has told both Stratford and Bridgeport that the parking lot, despite providing parking and access to Long Beach West for decades, is owned by Sikorsky Memorial Airport and cannot be used for “non-aviation” activity.
Birds can’t fly?

The proposed sale of Long Beach West to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service envisions use of the parking lot for access to hiking trails at the preserve and for public parking.

Without the lot, public access to the sweeping beachfront could be provided only via a yet-to-be established water taxi system off Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport, where parking is limited.

Both Bridgeport and Stratford are negotiating with the Fish and Wildlife Service to sell their shared beachfronts for the preserve.

Stratford expects to sell Long Beach West for roughly $10 million. The proposed Bridgeport deal to sell Pleasure Beach has not advanced to that stage.

Stratford Mayor James R. Miron on Thursday said the FAA is wrong in trying to claim ownership of the parking lot, and that a title search has proven the town owns the property. “Some bureaucrat at FAA is misinformed. I will not be threatened, bullied or intimidated. Yeah! That’s what I do around here! They will see us in court,” he said. I’ll bet Berchem Moses & Devlin can hardly wait. Their Beemer’s were getting dusty anyway.

Still, other Stratford officials are worried that confusion over ownership of the parking lot could scuttle the proposed sale of the beach. Those officials said sale of the 35-acre Long Beach West, which has sparked debate between supporters and opponents and is now before the Town Council, should be put on hold. The council is scheduled to discuss the issue at its next regular meeting at 8 p.m. Aug. 11 in Town Hall.

“We have to delay voting on the contract until we have a definitive answer on who owns the parking lot,” said Town Council Majority Leader Michael Julian, R-1, whose district includes Long Beach West.

The proposed sale of Long Beach West to the federal government could even be jeopardized if the town doesn’t own the parking lot, Julian said.

“Yes, it could have a major impact on whether we should sell it or not,” said Julian. “I’m very surprised to hear this considering the town attorney has advised us we own it.” Whaddya want for a paltry $2 million a year, Mike?

Council Minority Leader Alvin O’Neal, D-2, said he agrees the council cannot act until the issue is cleared up, but also questioned the FAA’s motives.

“Only in Stratford, unbelievable,” O’Neal said in response to the FAA letter. “How can the town attorney provide us with a document that says we own it, and now the FAA says we don’t? “I wonder if the FAA is trying to strong-arm us so we will change our minds and give in on airport expansion,” O’Neal said. “The town has been using that parking lot for so many years, so where was the FAA all that time?” O’Neal agreed if the town doesn’t own the parking lot “that would put the proposed deal very much in doubt. I don’t know if we could do it or not.”

Both Julian and O’Neal also wondered when Miron knew about the FAA letter.

“If [Miron] knew about this in June and didn’t tell us, that would show a severe lack of communication,” O’Neal said. No! Really? Miron not communicate with the Council? I’m shocked. Especially after you called him a liar, Alvin?

Federal officials are also warning that Bridgeport could lose millions in federal grants for Sikorsky Memorial Airport if public use of the parking lot is not halted immediately. Bridgeport owns the airport, which is located in Stratford and within marshland that converges at Pleasure and West Long Beach.

“It could be a problem,” said Andrew Nunn, Bridgeport’s chief administrative officer.

Nunn said the city is researching deeds to determine who owns the parking lot and associated property. “We are looking into it. Does the airport own it, and is it deed restricted?” Nunn said.

John Ricci, the Sikorsky Airport manager, said the city in 1967 used $960,000 in FAA and city funds to purchase the Stratford parking lot and surrounding acreage to protect the approach to an airport runway.

“This does create a problem for access to Long Beach. The city is looking to see if there were any subsequent transfers. But it appears that we do own it. The idea was to create a clear zone for the runway,” Ricci said. Too bad Mayor Moron got rid of Pat Ulatowski (the Town Clerk for 39 years), huh? I’ll bet she can find the documentation.

In Stratford, the proposal to sell the property has drawn hundreds of people to public meetings to support or oppose the deal. The issue is not yet before the Bridgeport City Council.

In a June 13 letter to Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, the FAA said the airport owns the parking lot and the city, as a condition of accepting grant money to buy it nearly 40 years ago, agreed the property would not be used for non-airport activity.

FAA Airport Manager LeVerne Reid said the city has “60 days to discontinue any non-aviation activity on the property.” Is that a threat?

Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman, said if the city does not stop people from using the parking lot the FAA will cut off discretionary funding to the airport and could ultimately halt all funding. Sikorsky Airport regularly receives FAA money for improvements and other uses. Go for it, Jim! Shut it down! Turn it into a golf course! The only thing flying in and out will be Piping Plovers!

Peters said there is a safety issue at stake and the FAA does not want “people gathering at the approach to an airport.”

The airport’s property extends between Great Meadow Road and West Long Beach Stratford. Ricci, the airport manager, said so far no one has instructed him to block access to the parking lot.

Peters said the city could ask FAA for a land release or allow “concurrent” use of the property. He could not explain why the property has been used for years as a parking lot with no interference by the FAA.

Miron questioned the FAA’s motivation in sending a letter to Finch. “It’s puzzling. That has been a parking lot since I was a kid. This is ludicrous. The timing and motivation is clearly suspect.” Everything you do is suspect, Jim.

Andrew French, a project leader for the wildlife agency, was not aware of the FAA letter, but stressed a compromise could be reached with the FAA.

“I understood the town had title. That’s an interesting letter,” he said.

French acknowledged plans call for using the parking lot to provide access on the Stratford side, which includes reserving two spaces for fish and wildlife employees. However, the parking lot is not included in the proposed sale, he said.

“We want to set aside this land. There would still be access, although not as good,” French said, referring to the possibility of being blocked from using the Stratford parking lot.

So basically nobody knows anything. And Mayor Moron wanted the Council to approve this mess? Rich Buturla is going to be very, very wealthy.

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19 Responses to “…And They Put Up a Parking Lot.”

  1. 1 jezebel282

    Does anybody still believe Morgan Kaolian cares about Stratford?

  2. 2 mikereynolds

    Jeze,
    He said a few weeks ago that the parking lot was airport property. I’d trust him to know something about the airport that Miron, Burturla, or anyone else on the Town Council.

    You keep saying the airport wants LBW for expansion but they can’t expand any runways there. So what if they want to put some lights there? I don’t see any horrible impact on the area if they put landing lights there.

    Whatever his motivation is I don’t think Morgan Kaolian is as big a threat to Stratford as others are.

  3. 3 officersean

    I watched the videotape of the last Town Council meeting on Channel 79. This is what the Town Attorney reported to the Town Council:

    The Town had a title search done by First American Title Insurance Company to determine whether the claims of Morgan Kaolin had any merit.

    First American Title Insurance Company is one of the largest, most reputable title insurance companys in the United States.

    First American Title Insurance Company CERTIFIED title to the Town of Stratford.

    This means that the Town of Stratford owns Long Beach (including the parking lot) and Long Beach West.

    Apparently a sham company that never owned Long Beach (including the parking lot)SOLD the parking lot to the Airport/City of Bridgeport.

    Do you all GET that??? Someone SOLD something they did not own and Bridgeport bought it.

    Unfortunately for Morgan Kaolin – the person who brought this issue up 40 years after the “sale” (how did he know??)- since the sham company never owned the parking lot the sale was bogus. It has no legal or binding effect.

    Corruption? Incompetance? Part of a grand scam to screw Stratford?

    Maybe that is for the FBI to look into or maybe even the Connectict Post…..

    But one thing we DO know is that Stratford owns Long Beach (including the parking lot) and Long Beach West.

    Shame on the FAA for not doing THEIR due diligence….Unless someone there is in on something nefarious…

    Airport expansion anyone???

  4. 4 officersean

    Oh – and it appeared that the Council was provided a copy of the memorandum and title search fromthe Town Attorney.

    Now, did they read it???

    THAT'”S a different story.

  5. 5 freedomofspeach

    Interesting. A few questions officersean. Same post as in the CTPOST under a different name.

    Is there (can there be) title insurance issued on the property? If so has there been? Who paid the title company and who will benefit (as we know lawyers get fees for title work and commissions on title insurance policies) from any title insurance policy they write in the form of fees and commissions?

    If this is a fact, that the town owns the property, what would the effect of any memorandum of understanding or agreement made by any other administration that granted rights of use to the airport on title? Would that create a clouded title? Who would collect on the title policy should there be one?

    I think we know why the LBW deal was pushed hard, as this issue was coming to light. I can’t believe that with the Mayors office discussing the airport with Bridgeport for possible sale, that this issue was never brought up in the discussions. I guess the question is who knew what when.

  6. 6 1george1

    I agree with Mike Reynolds and Freedom of Speach on their blogs.

    I also wonder if Officer Sean is correct about the parking lot Title?
    It would have a dramatic affect on Freedom of Speach’s positions.

    2nd short & stratford only blog in a row,
    Do I get 1 non med blog for every short / coherent / referenced to
    prior bloggers’ blog?

  7. 7 citizenkane1

    officer seans lanuage used in his post is almost verbatim to the mayor’s in his news 12 interview. What’s up with that? Officersean in Jim Miron? Any who, I’ll put my money on the FAA bitch slapping “officersean” all over the courts.

  8. 8 officersean

    In the spirit of complete disclosure, in addition to watching the tape of the Council meeting, I did see the Mayor’s interview on Channel 12 so I am not surprised I may have used some of his language and arguments since I agree with him on this issue.

    If the information the Town Attorney obtained from the Title Insurance Company is accurate then I think we have to go with what the title insurance company (and yes, even the Mayor and Town Attorney) says.

    Like I said before, you cannot possible belive that they are always 100% wrong.

  9. 9 1george1

    O S –

    1. I have given the Mayor credit on the occasions I feel he was correct.

    2. I have DISH TV. I do not get Channels 12 or 79.

    However many people tell me they see me on TV on those channels.
    I always ask if they can hear what I said?
    > 100 % of them tell me the sound is too low or it is muffled.

    3. How is it or why is it that the Mayor’s comments can be understood
    on the Tape of the Council Meeting and Channel 12, when neither the
    Mayor nor the Town Council will improve sound for all Public Forum
    speakers and have:
    LIVE – REAL TIME – WEBCAST – with GOOD AUDIO & VIDEO?

    4. Please respond with full disclosure if your audio is better than everyone
    else’s audio?

  10. 10 lauradobosz

    George,

    I get channel 79. I have seen you on it. I have seen the Council meetings on it. The sound is clear and loud and is just fine. I don’t know who you are talking to, but I have never had a problem with that station.

    I HAVE noticed that Channel 12 does not accurately report our Town meetings. LBW is a perfect example. Ch.12 only covered Morgan and one other resident who was not in favor of the sale. They quoted NO person in favor of the sale, despite the fact that there was a 2:1 ratio at that public hearing. (at least) I would that Kaolian has some “in” at channel 12 and now it seems, the CT Post and the FAA. Good for him. Stratford should be proud of his selfish gains on our behalf. 🙂

  11. 11 lauradobosz

    The “I would that” should have read”

    I can only think…(that Kaolian has some… etc..)

  12. 12 1george1

    Laura,

    Thank you for the FYI.

    I have been at friends homes a few times and seen / heard the
    Town Council Meetings in person. Each time the audio was not
    as clear as when the Town Councilors or Mayor speaks.

    I have also talked to diverse people, who have told me similar
    things. Laura, maybe you have superior audio or have seen heard
    those I and other have not. I believe you hear what you hear and
    see what you see.

    FYI, Morgan has had a long relationship with the CT. POST.
    It includes a contest for people to identify landmarks and buildings
    which he shoot them from his airplane.

    Laura, Morgan has nevere tried to hide his business relationship
    with the C. POST or the Airport.

    That is NOT true with certain people in BOTH political parties.

    As far as the WEBCAST, it is my understanding that neither Miron
    and most of the Democrats, nor Feehan / Henrich and most of the
    Republicans want transparency about what goes on in Town Hall.

    Laura, could you and your friends volunteer some suggestions about
    the Republicans and let Jeze and friends volunteer some suggestions
    about the Miron people?

    I suspect you would both be pretty correct.

    Officer Sean is likely to steer some information.

    Mike Reynolds.
    It was good to read that you enjoyed the Golf course.

    Each of the last two weekends, I took a brief wade into the
    water at Long Beach, where the contested parking lot is.
    Last week it was a little rough with an undertow and waves
    of 1′ to 2′.
    This week the waves were much smaller but the air temp and
    water temp was colder.
    The water has been a little on the dark green side, whereas
    the last two or three summers it was clear in August.
    High tide was around noon. I was a little late both days.
    Today there was NO ONE at the GATE at 2:00 pm and I did
    not see any Lifeguards, from 2:10 – 2:40 pm on a SUNDAY?

    There were about 40 people in this section and I do not know
    how many were on the beach by the dunes. Last week there
    appeared to be more people, and it was closer to nooon – one
    pm, on last Saturday, compared to this Sunday.

    I saw Carol and Bill Cabrol there last week.

    I recommend a short wade into Long Island Sound on this great
    beach, which is very UNDER CROWDED.

    Mike and readers, it too is a GEM.

  13. 13 sudds

    So about this turning the airport into a golf course idea… where do I sign the petition???

  14. 14 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    I think Mike Reynolds is putting together a petition drive as we type.

  15. 15 1george1

    About two weeks ago, a lady wrote about the reason PYE was created:

    There was going to be a HORSE RACE TRACK, where the Airport came to be.
    Part of the undoing of the plan, was they lied about what they WOULD or
    COULD do about the HORSE S–T.

    Sounds like those people were related to MIRONS, R. BURTURLA and the
    B UTTER NUTS (Norm’s allies)

  16. 16 jezebel282

    Let’s review. Mayor Moron negotiates an agreement with The Trust for Public Land which has no authority to speak for the USF&W. The agreement is a “best efforts” arrangement wherein the TPL will attempt to raise $10 million over the next 5 years. In the meantime we maintain liability and the 41 parcels of land can be redeveloped and resold. And if the economy tanks and they can’t raise the money we get to go back to square one. If they do raise the money there is no guarantee of any access whatsoever.

    Then the Governor announces bonding for a new bridge (on the Bridgeport side) to Pleasure Beach.

    Then the City of Bridgeport, the FAA and Sikorksy Airport claim rights to the parking lot on LBW which would cut off access from the Stratford side. It would also provide a nice place for high intensity approach lights if they expanded runway 6/24 in the other direction.

    Is this about where we are at?

    Is anybody feeling good about this “deal”?

  17. 17 1george1

    Jeze,

    Are you suggesting there is a TIME TABLE?
    You did use a sequence of timing. 😉

    Are you suggesting there is a CONSPIRACY:
    1) Trust – not with F & W > Best Efforts > Square 1
    2) Governor BOND Pleasure Beach Bpt Bridge (& study)
    3) Bridgeport + FAA + Airport claim Parking lot

    ~~~~~~~

    Notice most of my blogs are limited & local focused or
    in response to blogs.
    I think I explained justification on replys or to indicate
    interrelationships from outside to Stratford.

    It was Jeze who bought Bridgeport & Governor into the blog.
    I agree 110 % with Jeze’s CONSPIRACY theory and TIME TABLE…. 🙂

  18. 18 jezebel282

    George!

    Did I say conspiracy?

  19. 19 1george1

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a
    WAIT – DUCK!


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