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VERBATIM PROCEEDINGS CITY OF STAMFORD, STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY RIGHTS-OF-

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VERBATIM PROCEEDINGS CITY OF STAMFORD, STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY RIGHTS-OF- Powered By Docstoc
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                VERBATIM PROCEEDINGS




CITY OF STAMFORD, STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY RIGHTS-OF-
      WAY ACQUISITION AND RELOCATION ASSISTANCE




                   APRIL 15, 2004




             STAMFORD GOVERNMENT CENTER

              888 WASHINGTON BOULEVARD

                    STAMFORD, CT


                  POST REPORTING SERVICE
                HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
                                                                  2
          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                   . . .Verbatim proceedings of a hearing in

 2   the matter of Stamford Urban Transitway Rights-Of-Way

 3   Acquisition and Relocation Assistance held on April 15,

 4   2004 at Stamford Government Center, 884 Washington
 5   Boulevard, Stamford, Connecticut at 7:10 p.m.
 6

 7

 8

 9

10                   MR. ANTONIO IADAROLA:   If I can ask you all
11   to be seated because I’d like to get started.    There are
12   some more seats to the right of where I’m standing.
13                   Okay, thank you.    Thank you all for coming.
14   My name is Antonio Iadarola, I’m the City Engineer for the
15   City of Stamford.   And I really want to thank you all for
16   coming out tonight and participating in the public hearing
17   for the Urban Transitway Project.
18                   You’ve probably seen our road show once
19   before.   We’ve been to multiple public information
20   meetings, some community meetings.    And this evening, Lou
21   Casolo, the Project Manager, will more directly tell you
22   the purpose of this meeting.
23                   But what I’d like to do is I would first

24   like to recognize -- there’s a tremendous amount of Board


                       POST REPORTING SERVICE
                     HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   of Rep members, Board of Finance members and I also want to

 2   thank you guys for coming here tonight.

 3                     We hope to document as much public

 4   participation and documentation we can regarding how you
 5   feel about this project and that’s the purpose of the
 6   meeting.
 7                     So what I would like to do is just before I
 8   turn it over to Lou, I would like to just speak for a few
 9   minutes regarding why we need to do this project.      What
10   drove us here?
11                     We always talk about the details of the
12   Urban Transitway Project, but I don’t think we ever
13   understand where’s the planning behind this?    What is some
14   of the long-range transportation projects that the City of
15   Stamford is looking at?
16                     Just to give you a very quick overview.     The
17   City of Stamford road network consists of 360 miles of
18   roadway.   This is the largest roadway system in the state
19   of Connecticut.
20                     We have two controlled highways --

21   controlled access highways that run through the City of

22   Stamford that’s Route 15 and I95.    There are five state

23   highways, these include East Main Street, Long Ridge Road,

24   Glenbrook Road, High Ridge Road and Washington Boulevard.


                         POST REPORTING SERVICE
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   And all of these roadway systems are controlled by 215

 2   signalized intersections.

 3                  If we take a look at some of Stamford’s

 4   growth statistics we will see some incredible trends.    From
 5   doing a comparison from 1990 to 2000, we see a population
 6   increase of 8.4 percent.
 7                  We see a residential workforce commute --
 8   these are people that live in Stamford and commute within
 9   the Stamford boundaries, increase of 17.5 percent.    We’re
10   looking at outgoing commuters.    These are people that live
11   in Stamford, but are commuting to jobs outside the City of
12   Stamford, an increase of 28 percent.   Also the in-bounding
13   commute has also increased.   That’s gone up 18.5 percent.
14                  All of these statistics show just an
15   incredible amount of commuting and more traffic inbound and
16   outbound through the City of Stamford.
17                  When we study these trips, what we find is
18   that the dominating trip, the trip that is most frequently
19   made and the trip that most overwhelmingly impacts our
20   roadway system is the road trip.   These are people going to
21   work and coming home from work.    We find that 74 percent of
22   those trips are done by a driver alone.   That’s a person
23   getting in a car, going off to work and coming back alone.
24   Only three percent is done utilizing a rail system; two


                      POST REPORTING SERVICE
                    HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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           HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                          APRIL 15, 2004

 1   percent is done utilizing the bus; and 21 percent is

 2   actually utilized doing a shared ride system, where there

 3   are more than two people in a car.

 4                   This is what’s driving a lot of the public
 5   transportation improvement projects that the state and also
 6   that the City of Stamford have implemented.
 7                   The Transportation Center, which is a
 8   complete upgrade of our train station, cost $120 million.
 9   The focus there is to make that train station a lot more
10   accessible and a lot easier to gain access in and out of
11   it.   The new parking garage to support that new
12   Transportation Center, a $30 million State of Connecticut
13   project.   The bus maintenance facility, a $10 million
14   project.
15                   The City of Stamford has completed and will
16   be programming in an additional $73 million worth of public
17   transportation projects that deal with this growth that
18   we’re talking about here.
19                   And that’s how we arrive to preparing a

20   long-range transportation plan, where we try to be ahead of

21   this growth and eliminate some of the congestion and

22   eliminate some of the bottlenecking that we’re seeing.

23                   And what we’re here to talk to you about

24   tonight is pretty much the first phase of this long-range


                       POST REPORTING SERVICE
                     HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
                                                                  6
          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   plan, which is the Urban Transitway Project.   This project

 2   is not only going to help us plan for the future and deal

 3   with the future growth, but it’s also going to provide

 4   direct access to and from the train station.   It’s going to
 5   improve bus service connections to and from the train
 6   station.    There’s opportunity for increased ridership, both
 7   on the rail and bus line.
 8                    It’s going to provide a tremendous travel
 9   time-savings.   There is an HOV factor that is going to be
10   utilized in this project to try to get more people into a
11   shared ride trip.
12                    We’re also looking at just increasing access
13   to the south end and overall reducing congestion at a lot
14   of the abutting intersections, north and south of the I95
15   corridor.
16                    The original project, you might have heard
17   of the Dock Street Connection.   The Dock Street Connection
18   was a project that originally was looked at to deal with
19   this growth.    And what was found in the Harvard Area
20   Development Study is that that Dock Street Connection
21   wasn’t going to fully provide the connection -- and the
22   backbone that we needed in order to implement the balance
23   of the required capital transportation projects, to deal
24   with this growth here and to provide the access that we


                        POST REPORTING SERVICE
                      HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                            APRIL 15, 2004

 1   need to the south end and the direct connection to the

 2   train station, the bus station and cleanup some of the

 3   intersections that we have down in the south end.

 4                    So with that, the Congress has looked at a
 5   long-range plan and has been good enough to appropriate $37
 6   million for the Urban Transitway Project.    The City has
 7   provided a matching $12 million.
 8                    Last year, Congress included $4 million for
 9   the future phase of the Urban Transitway project, which is
10   -- I know you can probably see this, but this would be the
11   balance of the work to get us out to East Main Street.
12                    And we just recently found out yesterday
13   that Congress has put in their transportation bill for next
14   year $500,000 to start studying and making improvements to
15   the Atlantic Street bridge.    These are the railroad
16   bridges, Canal, Elm and East Main Street.
17                    So, with that I’d like to turn it over to --
18   Congressman Christopher Shay could not be here today. He’s
19   been an incredible supporter and has actually assisted us
20   in getting a lot of the funds that I just spoke about.      But
21   I think there is a representative here, Paul.     Thank you,
22   Paul.
23                    MODERATOR LOUIS A. CASOLO, JR:   Paul, just

24   state your name and spell it.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                  MR. PAUL PIMENTEL:   Sure my name is Paul

 2   Pimentel, P-I-M-E-N-T-E-L.   I’m District Director for

 3   Congressman Shays.   Chris asked me to be here tonight

 4   because he couldn’t, just to read a very short statement
 5   from him.
 6                  I’m pleased to support the Stamford Urban
 7   Transitway for which Mayor Malloy, our Senators and I have
 8   worked hard to secure funding.   To date, we have obtained a
 9   total of $37 million in federal appropriations for this
10   project over the last six years.
11                  The Transitway, when completed, will provide
12   a critical linkage between the Stamford Transportation
13   Center and I95 easing the commute and making public
14   transportation a more attractive option for all.
15                  Additionally, by opening Stamford’s south
16   end, the project increases the likelihood of economic
17   revitalization for a too often overlooked neighborhood.
18                  I realize that the development of the
19   Transitway will cause challenges for many, but I am
20   confident in Mayor Malloy’s administration’s commitment to
21   ease these inconveniences.   And my office and I are
22   prepared to assist in any way possible.
23                  Stamford, quite frankly, is at a critical

24   juncture because of its success in attracting businesses to


                      POST REPORTING SERVICE
                    HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   the area.   The likelihood of sustaining this growth rests

 2   in large part on the City’s ability to meet resulting

 3   challenges like gridlocked local roads.

 4                   It is in this context that I have made the
 5   Transitway one of my top transportation priorities in
 6   Congress and why I strongly support this project.
 7                   Thanks.
 8                   MR. IADAROLA:    Thank you, Paul.   Thank you.
 9   What I’d like to do is introduce Lou Casolo, he’s the
10   Project Manager and he’s going to lead us into the public
11   comment and also introduce some of the other speakers that
12   we have here tonight.     Lou?
13                   MODERATOR CASOLO:   Thank you.   Good evening.
14   My name is Lou Casolo, the Assistant City Engineer for the
15   City of Stamford.   And in addition to myself, I’d like to
16   introduce the other panel members here that will be
17   speaking this evening.
18                   The Director of Legal Affairs, Mr. Tom
19   Cassone; Ms. Rachel Goldberg, she is our Real Estate
20   Acquisition and Relocation Consultant, that we’re using for
21   this project.   In addition, we’re also joined by our
22   Traffic Engineer, Mr. Manny Poula (phonetic) and our Design
23   Consultants, Mr. Jeff Keefe and Marshall Gaston.
24                   And in the back, Laura LaBosky is the


                       POST REPORTING SERVICE
                     HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   Project Coordinator for the Stamford Urban Transitway

 2   Project and Lauria Sreepa (phonetic) is our Administrative

 3   Assistant for this project.

 4                  As Antonio mentioned, I’d just like to
 5   briefly describe the purpose of this hearing.   This hearing
 6   is a City of Stamford Charter requirement and will be
 7   further described by Tom Cassone as to the legalities of
 8   the requirement for this hearing.
 9                  Legal Notices of the hearing, as well as
10   display ads, were published in the Stamford Advocate and in
11   the El Sol Newspapers.   In addition, flyers of the hearing
12   notices were distributed at the March 9th NRZ meeting and
13   display ads were posted at the train station, as well.
14                  All affected property owners received notice
15   of this hearing by certified mail/return receipt requested
16   and a copy of the meeting agenda was submitted to the Town
17   Clerk’s office in advance of the meeting.
18                  We are meeting tonight to provide you with
19   information related to the owners affected by this project
20   and outlining the process for acquiring property for the
21   projects receiving federal funding.   And the required steps
22   to relocate people from their residences and businesses, in
23   accordance with a process that meets both the federal and
24   the city requirements.


                      POST REPORTING SERVICE
                    HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                            APRIL 15, 2004

 1                    As you walked in here tonight, you probably

 2   saw the list of affected owners of these properties.      So,

 3   if you haven’t seen it, the list is in the back of the

 4   room.    And it identifies all of the property owners
 5   affected by this project.
 6                    For those properties requiring a total
 7   taking, your rights and benefits as a displaced person will
 8   be outlined for you this evening.    For those properties
 9   requiring a partial acquisition, the process for
10   acquisition will also be reviewed for you this evening by
11   Mr. Cassone and Ms. Goldberg.
12                    The purpose of this public hearing is to
13   offer the public with an opportunity to present public
14   comments and to record these comments related to the
15   process of property acquisition and relocation, as it
16   relates to the project, the Stamford Urban Transitway
17   Project.
18                    Mr. Cassone and Ms. Goldberg will review the
19   city and federal requirements and process for rights-of-way
20   acquisition and relocation, shortly.
21                    And, in addition, the City has also invited

22   members of the Board of Representatives and the Board of

23   Finance to listen to your comments, to make comments as

24   they feel necessary, and participate in the process of this


                        POST REPORTING SERVICE
                      HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   public hearing.

 2                     I’d like to take just a minute here and

 3   review the format of the hearing.    We ask everyone here

 4   tonight to please sign the attendance sheet, if you haven’t
 5   already done so, that we have at the entrance table.    And
 6   anyone interested in making a public comment, as it relates
 7   to property acquisition or relocation, also, please sign
 8   the public speaker sheet.    You will be called out in the
 9   order shown on that list.
10                     So that everybody has an opportunity to
11   speak, we ask that the speaker’s time be limited to a
12   maximum of three minutes.    If anyone wishes to submit a
13   written comment, written comment forms are available at the
14   sign in desk as well.    Please drop them -- the written
15   comments in the drop box, before you leave this evening.
16   The written comments can be submitted in English and in
17   Spanish.
18                     And I’d just like to add, any participant of
19   the public hearing that wishes to make a comment in
20   Spanish, we have a Spanish interpreter here this evening.
21   And that individual can join you at the podium, as
22   required.
23                     Is there anyone here this evening requiring

24   Spanish assistance -- interpretation assistance?    There’s


                         POST REPORTING SERVICE
                       HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   one gentleman in the back.   Okay.    We encourage him to use

 2   our interpreter.

 3                   At this time, I’d like to introduce Tom

 4   Cassone, our Corporation Counsel, who will be discussing
 5   the city and federal process for land acquisition.
 6                   MR. TOM CASSONE:     As Lou told you, my name
 7   is Tom Cassone and I’m the Director of Legal Affairs for
 8   the City.   And so it’s upon me to tell you why we are here
 9   from a legal perspective.
10                   I’d like to start telling you why we’re here
11   by telling you why we are not here.     We’re not here to give
12   legal advice to the members of the public or any of the
13   parties who would be affected by their inacquisition or
14   relocation.   For legal advice, resort must be had, and
15   should be had, to your own private legal counsel.
16                   We’re also not here to deliver a
17   comprehensive or rigid schedule of events that will
18   constitute the process by which the Stamford Urban
19   Transitway will become a reality.
20                   We will describe to you effectively what the

21   procedure is and what the process is by which acquisitions

22   and relocations will take place, as Lou said, between

23   Rachel and I.

24                   We are here to comply with federal, state


                       POST REPORTING SERVICE
                     HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                            APRIL 15, 2004

 1   and local law.    A project of this magnitude requires and

 2   encompasses the acquisition of a great deal and great

 3   number of private property of citizens for what would be

 4   determined if the project were to proceed as the greater
 5   good.
 6                    The authority to decide what lies in the
 7   greater good is the democratic process and that process is
 8   beginning tonight.    The Board of Finance and the Board of
 9   Representatives of this City, who are elected officials,
10   must approve this project.    And for that reason we’ve
11   called this public hearing to solicit public comments, so
12   that comment may be accessible to the members of those
13   Boards in determining whether or not to proceed with the
14   project and how to proceed with the project.
15                    The laws, as it turns out, between the
16   federal, state and local tiers of government are rather
17   complex when you meld them all together.     And so we are
18   obligated and we attempt in every way to favor the rights
19   of the property owner so that they are accorded what we
20   lawyers call due process.    And that what hopefully the
21   owners of the property, and those who otherwise
22   dispossessed of their property, receive what’s called just
23   compensation.
24                    Well obviously a great deal of design, work


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   and planning has gone into this project already.   This is

 2   really the first legal step toward property acquisition.

 3   And that it is a necessary one for the City to exercise its

 4   rights and you may have heard the process known as
 5   condemnation or the exercise of the power of eminent
 6   domain.
 7                  Again, as I said, this is a public hearing.
 8   The purpose of the public hearing, as Lou said, we will
 9   outline the project and the processes by which the project
10   will be completed, again, given approval by our respective
11   boards and our mayor.
12                  But it will also give you an opportunity to
13   provide the input to those boards so that they can act in a
14   fashion that will allow them to take into account early
15   concerns of the residents and property owners.
16                  Now I’m going to generally describe the
17   remaining legal steps for the acquisition of property and
18   the manner in which just compensation shall be paid for any
19   such complete or partial takings.
20                  Attorney Rachel Goldberg, who is also the

21   Urban Redevelopment Commission General Counsel, is here

22   tonight not as Urban Redevelopment Commission General

23   Counsel but because of her expertise in the area of

24   property acquisition and relocation and the federal law


                      POST REPORTING SERVICE
                    HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   relating to the same.   We have hired her as a consultant to

 2   the City for the purposes of furthering this project.

 3                   Now I’m going to describe the process for

 4   condemnation.   However, I also -- and I know I’m throwing a
 5   lot of caveats out there.   I also want to make sure that
 6   even though it’s a condemnation process and has to be
 7   followed, the preference of the administration and the City
 8   and also the preference as the process will reveal as it
 9   unfolds is for voluntary purchase and sale transactions
10   between the City and the individual property owners.
11                   Now what happens after tonight is the Board
12   of Finance and the Board of Representatives will meet.    The
13   Board of Finance will make a recommendation to the Board of
14   Representatives and the Board of Representatives, which
15   many of you know is our 40 member governing body in the
16   City of Stamford, will consider a resolution.   And the
17   resolution will be either to generally proceed with the
18   project or not proceed with the project.
19                   Assuming the Board of Representatives -- I

20   could say if they turn it down, I could stop speaking right

21   now, but I’ll assume that they’re going to approve the

22   project.   And that resolution will then direct the Mayor to

23   cause a report to be made concerning the project, by the

24   Director of Office of Operations.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                   The Office of Operations then prepares a

 2   condemnation acquisition report, which will include all

 3   engineering plans, surveys, all profiles of the

 4   construction specifications and all cost estimates.
 5                   It will then be submitted to the Director of
 6   Administration, who will then make estimates as to the
 7   value of any land proposed to be taken either partially or
 8   completely by the project.   And he will also make estimates
 9   as to the amount of damages that would be paid in the case
10   of each acquisition.
11                   During this time, and Ms. Goldberg will be
12   describing this a little bit more specifically, during this
13   time a two-step appraisal process will be taking place.
14   And the purpose of that would be to assist the Director of
15   Administration to determine what constitutes just
16   compensation.
17                   At that point, the report of the Director of
18   Administration, with those cost estimates, is filed with
19   the Town Clerk and a lis pendens, which is a legal document
20   filed on the land records of each property that will be
21   affected by the procedure.
22                   Public Notice, not just a lis pendens, but

23   Public Notice will be supplied to each of the property

24   owners.   And each of the property owners will be provided a


                       POST REPORTING SERVICE
                     HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   notice of a time and a place to appear before the Director

 2   of Administration to be heard in respect to the price of

 3   any land proposed to be taken or in respect to any damages

 4   that any member may claim.
 5                  The publication of the notice will have to
 6   be three times in the Advocate and a copy will be served,
 7   either personally or by registered mail, on each person
 8   that has an ownership interest on the properties.    And each
 9   member of the public affected will have at least five days
10   notice, before such a hearing.
11                  Of course, every effort will be made to
12   accommodate everyone’s schedules to the extent possible.
13   However, during this time, which is a minimum under our
14   Charter is a 60-day window, it’s not the only time, but it
15   is the time -- a good time to negotiate purchases and sales
16   with the City of Stamford.
17                  At that point, and it is our fond hope that
18   amicable and negotiated settlements will be reached with
19   all the property owners.   However, whether they are or not
20   the Director of Administration at the end of that
21   negotiation period will then make a report to the Board of
22   Representatives, it will go back to the Board of
23   Representatives concerning the amounts that should be paid
24   for each complete or partial taking.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                   Then the Board of Representatives gets the

 2   Director of Administration’s report and they can either

 3   accept the report as it is or they may modify it.    And they

 4   can at that point either accept the amount of damages to be
 5   paid to the property owners or they can lower the amount of
 6   damages to be paid to the property owners.   But they can
 7   not lower it below what would be considered fair market
 8   value.   They could also increase, with the consent of the
 9   Director of Administration, the damages to be paid.
10                   At that second Board of Representatives
11   resolution time, the Board of Representatives has another
12   option and they can just simply, at that point, decide to
13   abandon the project completely.
14                   Assuming, again, that the Board again
15   approves that the project proceed, then the report itself
16   is recorded in the land records and provided the City has
17   appropriate sufficient funds and has sufficient funds to
18   proceed with the project, then the report is transmitted to
19   the Mayor.
20                   At that point, the Mayor has ten days to

21   either accept or not accept the report.   And the Director

22   of Operations then, assuming the Mayor approves the report,

23   gives public notice.   And by mailing, again, notice to each

24   of the property owners of the amount of damages they will


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   be receiving.

 2                   At that point, assuming there hasn’t been a

 3   voluntary transaction, which a deed is transferred to the

 4   City, Certificates of Taking will be filed on the land
 5   records.   When Certificates of Taking are filed on the land
 6   records, then the City is obligated to pay the damages for
 7   the value of the property that they’ve taken to the
 8   property owners.
 9                   The property owners may either accept those
10   funds or they also have statutory rights of appeal, if they
11   still feel after the negotiation period and the various
12   appraisal steps that they did not receive just
13   compensation.
14                   And that is the acquisition procedure.      Now,
15   Rachel Goldberg, as I said, is going to step up here.
16   As you know, when acquisitions occur, there’s an appraisal
17   process, which Rachel knows a little bit more thoroughly
18   than I do.
19                   But there are also other people that will be

20   affected and those are tenants, individuals that may not

21   own the property but are located on the property.    And

22   Rachel will speak to that.

23                   MS. RACHEL GOLDBERG:   Thank you and good

24   evening.   I am Rachel Goldberg.   There is a federal law


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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                            APRIL 15, 2004

 1   that applies to all of our activities here for acquisition

 2   and relocation of tenants.

 3                    :   We can’t hear.

 4                    MS. GOLDBERG:   I’m sorry.   In 1970, the
 5   United States Congress passed the law called the Uniform
 6   Relocation Assistance and Real Properties Acquisition
 7   Policies Act.    That law spells out very specifically what
 8   we must do if there are federal dollars involved to acquire
 9   property and what we must do to relocate tenants.
10                    One of the first steps is preparing an
11   appraisal.    That is determining what the value of the land
12   that we need is.     The appraisal that we will be undertaking
13   is very different from what you’ve all recently received in
14   the form of a reval.    A reevaluation, as has just gone on
15   in Stamford, is a mass appraisal done across the entire
16   city.
17                    What we’ll be undertaking is a very detailed
18   analysis of each and every parcel, and in this case since
19   most of the properties are portions or the front five or
20   ten or twenty feet of a piece of property, those slivers of
21   land need to be valued.
22                    And the Uniform Act, that federal law, tells

23   us how to do it.     We have an appraiser working on staff

24   full-time between now and September to prepare appraisal


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           HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                          APRIL 15, 2004

 1   reports.

 2                   The appraisal report has a goal.    The goal

 3   is to determine what fair market value is.   Fair market

 4   value is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller if
 5   neither of them were forced for any reason to undertake the
 6   transaction.
 7                   The appraiser begins by analyzing the area
 8   where the property is, what’s the general condition?     How
 9   has the real estate market been moving?    Are values moving
10   up?   Moving down?   Is the property improved?   Is it
11   improved with a building?   What’s going on in that
12   building?   Is there sufficient parking?   Is there proper
13   certificates of occupancy for whatever uses are going on
14   inside the structure?
15                   We check with the Zoning Board, the Health
16   Department and the Building Department.    We look and see
17   what the legal uses are of the property.    It may be that
18   the current use of the property is not the most
19   economically beneficial.
20                   We are required to arrive at something

21   called a determination of highest and best use. That is,

22   looking at the property, what is the best use of the land

23   that gives the best economic return?   And that’s also a

24   function of what’s permitted to happen there.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                     Once we’ve determined what that highest and

 2   best use is, we go out and we look for comparable sales.

 3   What is going on in the marketplace?    Was there a sale just

 4   up the street of a similar property?    Or somewhere else in
 5   Stamford of a similar property that we can use to help
 6   gauge what the value of your particular parcel is.
 7                     And we look at three or four comparable
 8   sales for each property.    And because so many of these
 9   parcels are partial takes, where we’re just taking land and
10   leaving the building alone, we also have to arrive at the
11   value of the land.    So a number of our comparable sales
12   will be vacant parcels.    And so we can become familiar with
13   what the value of land is on a per square foot basis.
14                     We’ll adjust those comparable sales
15   depending on whether it’s in a better neighborhood or a
16   less desirable neighborhood.    Was the sale six months ago,
17   last week or a year ago?    The time has an impact on the
18   value of money.
19                     The marketplace also affects how we might

20   adjust that for time.    And then we get an estimate based on

21   a comparable sales.    But we don’t look just at comparable

22   sales, we also look at the values that are currently being

23   produced in the building.

24                     Many of the properties are multi-family


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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                            APRIL 15, 2004

 1   homes or commercial properties with residential above or

 2   all commercial properties that produce income.    They are

 3   rented out.

 4                    So we analyze using an income capitalization
 5   approach, how much money that property is earning on a net
 6   basis?    We look at the rents that are actually being
 7   obtained and we look at what the rents are in the market.
 8   You may be getting less than what the marketplace might
 9   bear if you were to invest a few dollars into the property.
10                    And we come to an analysis of what the
11   property is producing or could be producing on a net basis.
12   And then we capitalize that annual income to get to a
13   value.
14                    And then a third method that we use
15   occasionally, is a cost approach.    We look at the value of
16   the vacant land, plus the depreciated replacement cost of
17   the building, to arrive at a value.    And we look at all
18   three of those or in most cases the first two, and we make
19   our best guess, if you will.    Or I don’t, the appraiser
20   does.    The professional appraiser does -- makes their best
21   analysis based on all of those factors of what fair market
22   value is.    And they complete that in the report.   And when
23   you see those reports, they range from 80 to 100 pages of
24   very detailed analysis.


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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
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 1                    That appraisal report is then given to an

 2   independent review appraiser, who doesn’t go out and look

 3   at the property, he reads or she reads that report to

 4   determine whether or not the analysis and the methodology
 5   that were employed were the appropriate way to look at that
 6   property.
 7                    And they report back, yes it is or no it
 8   isn’t.    Maybe you should change this, you should look at
 9   that.    And we’ll revise the appraisals, if that’s what is
10   appropriate.
11                    After -- that’s the basic appraisal
12   methodology.    And when we sit down with each property
13   owner, eventually, one of the things that typically happens
14   is, we share appraisals.    We show you our appraisal, you
15   show us your appraisal and we try to accommodate -- where
16   they’re different.    Did we miss something?   Did you miss
17   something?     Those kinds of things usually lead us to
18   successful negotiated settlement.
19                    During the process that Tom outlined, there

20   comes a point in time where the property owner gets a

21   notice of what the value of the property is.    Under the

22   federal Uniform Act, at that point in time, tenants become

23   eligible for their relocation benefits.

24                    And they will, at the same time, receive a


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   notice saying you are now eligible.    And we will have hired

 2   a relocation officer, who will meet with tenants to explain

 3   their benefits.

 4                     In the back of the room there are a couple
 5   of documents.   There is a detailed relocation plan that has
 6   been accepted by the federal agencies involved here. There
 7   are also copies of some federal booklets published by the
 8   FHWA, the Federal Highway Administration, which is the
 9   federal agency who’s job it is to oversee and insure that
10   those regulations are being followed.
11                     Those booklets explain your rights either as
12   a property owner or as a tenant, whether a residential
13   tenant or a commercial tenant.
14                     When we do send notices to all tenants
15   another copy of that booklet will go out and we’ll have
16   them available.    Also, that booklet is available at the
17   Federal Highway Administration’s website.     So you can
18   access that anytime.
19                     Up to this point in time, we have already

20   completed a survey.    We’ve gone out and we’ve talked to

21   most of the people who are living and operating businesses

22   in the area.    And we’ve used the data that we’ve collected

23   to help put that relocation plan together.

24                     The relocation plan talks very specifically


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   about the process, what payments you’re entitled to, when

 2   you’re entitled to those payments and how that mechanics

 3   will work?

 4                  It’s a very individualized process.      Every
 5   person’s situation is a little different.    Every business
 6   is a little different.   But there are two basic things.
 7   And one thing that everybody’s entitled to, and that is to
 8   be paid for, is the cost of moving from where they are now,
 9   if they must be moved, to a new place.
10                  And if you are a residential tenant, you are
11   absolutely entitled to have us find you a suitable
12   replacement dwelling.    The Uniform Act uses the phrase,
13   comparable replacement dwelling.    And it must be what they
14   define as decent, safe and sanitary.   And that is a very
15   detailed and defined term.
16                  And it must also be within the financial
17   means of the party who is being relocated.   And we will
18   obtain during the interview process with each residential
19   tenant, information about their income so that we can
20   determine what the federal guideline rents are?   And
21   whether replacement housing payments are to be made and
22   what the extent, if they are to be made, how large that
23   payment would be for each tenant?
24                  It is possible that we will have difficulty


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   finding housing for some of the lower income residents.       If

 2   that is the case, there is a process in the Uniform Act

 3   called housing of last resort, in which case a larger rent

 4   subsidy will be paid for the tenants who qualify.     Because
 5   we need to get them into an apartment that may be more than
 6   the guidelines permit.
 7                   There is a budget that’s included.    I know
 8   there is a chart in the back somewhere that talks about all
 9   the various budgets and the budget does include monies for
10   that as well.
11                   And, I guess, the last point is whatever
12   payments are offered if you as a displaced tenant disagree,
13   there is the right to appeal.   Just as on valuation there
14   is a right to appeal.    Thank you.
15                   (Off the record.)
16                   MODERATOR CASOLO:     Good evening, once again.
17   I’d just like to provide you a very brief update of the
18   project in terms of its design status.
19                   We’ve heard a little bit about the process

20   for relocation and acquisition.     And that is the overall

21   mission of this hearing this evening, but some people in

22   the audience might like to know a little bit about where we

23   are in the process of our design completion.     And also know

24   a little bit more about where to find public information,


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           HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                          APRIL 15, 2004

 1   besides coming to my office.

 2                     The internet is a good source.    We have

 3   within the City of Stamford website, a project site that

 4   basically is loaded with information regarding acquisition
 5   and relocation.
 6                     On this site is a friendly spreadsheet by
 7   street address that indicates who the affected property
 8   owners are and the tax id number.       And all you have to do
 9   is click on the tax id number and what will happen is a
10   right-of-way map, a detailed engineering drawing, will pop
11   up.   And you can see your parcel, you can see the affect
12   that this project has on your parcel, the area of the
13   taking and any technical data.    So just for information,
14   that’s located on the internet.
15                     With regards to the design.    The drawing on
16   the wall is an accurate drawing, but it’s just a portrayal
17   of the project.    The design itself, all the details that
18   one would need to build this project, is in a stage of
19   about 75 percent completion at this stage.
20                     The project limits.    Some have asked me in

21   the past what the logic is between the northern and

22   southern limits of the approaches to Elm Street, Canal

23   Street and Atlantic Street.    And basically those are a

24   result of the intersection improvements at these locations.


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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
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 1

 2                    There’s lots of congestion at every

 3   intersection that’s within the corridor.     And these are

 4   helping to relieve the congestion.    And in addition,
 5   they’re basically terminating at either points of bridges,
 6   that are constraints, or they’re feathering back into
 7   existing.    So that may help some understand the north/south
 8   limits of the project, as depicted on the large map on the
 9   wall.
10                    Cherry Street is being realigned.   Cherry
11   Street is being realigned to connect to Elm Court.      This is
12   a very important aspect of the project.    It’s important,
13   because that’s where the Connecticut Transit bus facility
14   is located.    And to basically help with transit usage of
15   this facility, that’s an important element to the project.
16                    What I’d like to do now is begin the public
17   comment period by just briefly restating the goal of this
18   hearing.    The goal of this hearing is to solicit public
19   testimony with regards to real estate acquisition and
20   relocation.    Please limit your comments to three minutes.
21   Written comments can be made and dropped in the drop box
22   this evening.    I will be calling on speakers one at a time,
23   from the order in which they were signed in at.
24                    When you come to the podium, please state


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             HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                            APRIL 15, 2004

 1   your name and spell your name so that our transcriber can

 2   document your name accurately and correctly.

 3                    At this time, I will call speakers to the

 4   podium.    Dennis Murphy, Connecticut DOT Office of Rails?
 5                    MR. DENNIS MURPHY:   Good evening.   I’m
 6   Dennis Murphy.    D-E-N-N-I-S, M-U-R-P-H-Y, Bureau of Public
 7   Transportation, Connecticut Department of Transportation.
 8   I’m kind of wearing two hats tonight.      As the
 9   representative of the Bureau of Public Transportation, I
10   support the project in general.
11                    As a Project Manager for the facilities on
12   either end of this, Stamford Center Island Platform Station
13   improvements, Stamford Garage expansion and the bus
14   facility rehabilitation and improvements, I see this as a
15   very important connection between the facilities.       It’s
16   going to improve bus service.    It’s going to improve access
17   to the rail station, etc.
18                    As an engineer in the Office of Rail, I have
19   concerns with the project’s impact on the Stamford Rail
20   Yard.    We have submitted comments on March 12th and March
21   15th to the City, which I’d like to officially -- I’d like

22   to note that we’d like to have those incorporated into the

23   official record.

24                    The City has responded.    And we look forward


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   to getting together with the City to further discuss some

 2   of our concerns.

 3                    In general, just some main points.      We are

 4   concerned with the loss of parking in our parking area at
 5   the corner of Elm and Cherry.   And while we can fool around
 6   with the layout of the parking, if we provide the same
 7   amount of space, we’re going to lose maneuverability. We
 8   have trucks, semi-trailers that have to go in there, fuel
 9   trucks and a lot of other things, and we feel that we’re
10   going to be losing some of that maneuverability.
11                    Another one is the impact on our catenary
12   wire system.   The catenary wires are the wires that power
13   the trains.    Those are the overhead wires.   And the
14   supports are located right next to Jefferson.
15                    We are proposing -- we are putting a fuel
16   facility in there.   We haven’t located the facility yet.
17   This will be a fuel facility to take care of our diesel
18   trains.
19                    What’s going to happen, though, is any

20   property that’s taken from the yard may limit our

21   flexibility as to where we can locate this fuel facility.

22                    And just in general, I’d like to say that

23   the Stamford Yard is the heart of Metro-North rail

24   operations in Connecticut.   In this area of limited


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   available real estate we, obviously, covered every square

 2   foot of the property as it relates to our expanding

 3   service.

 4                   So, you know, again we look forward to
 5   working with the City to try to minimize the impact on our
 6   rail yard.   And at the same time, to get this job going
 7   because it will benefit not only our facilities, but
 8   everybody in the City.
 9                   Thank you.
10                   MODERATOR CASOLO:   Thank you, Dennis.   Joe
11   Truglia.
12                   MR. ANTHONY TRUGLIA:   I’m actually Anthony
13   Truglia.   My brother, Joe is actually upstairs at another
14   meeting for another piece of property on Garden Street, so
15   it’s Anthony Truglia.    A-N-T-H-O-N-Y, T-R-U-G-L-I-A.
16                   Just to reiterate some of the same points
17   that gentleman was bringing up, is with my property, which
18   is located on Atlantic Street, it’s actually 618 and 616.
19   It’s -- you’re only taking a partial, but that partial is
20   vital to parking.
21                   And since I employ up to 30 people, plus we

22   have tenants in a building that is right on the property,

23   it’s going to impact the parking situation for the

24   building, especially up where you’re taking the property


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   about up to over 10 spaces.

 2                     And I know, once you get more into the

 3   process of it, of why just the partial, it almost seems

 4   like it will affect the whole house -- well it’s a house,
 5   but it’s actually a commercial property now that we rent
 6   out three floors of it.
 7                     And how that is -- what is another
 8   alternative to what we can do there?     And again, my other
 9   thing is, where -- when the project, if it does comes to
10   fruition, where will it start?
11                     Is it going to start from Atlantic Street
12   and move towards Jefferson or -- that’s the thing.     How is
13   it going to start?    Also, the 60-day process, what kind of
14   time does that give you to say, okay -- when you notify us
15   to say well, okay, we’re coming in now to talk about how
16   much that little small piece, like Rachel was bringing up,
17   is worth to us?
18                     You know, how long that’s going to take,
19   that process?   And how much time do we have to say -- to
20   bring in somebody that’s an attorney or some legal people
21   to help us out in the process of what it’s going to take
22   for say the fair market value?
23                     That’s it for me.   Thank you.

24                     MODERATOR CASOLO:   The next speaker, Mr.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   Jack Condlin, please?

 2                   MR. JACK CONDLIN:   Good evening.   My name is

 3   Jack Condlin.   C-O-N-D-L-I-N.   I’m the President of the

 4   Stamford Chamber of Commerce and I’m also a resident of the
 5   City of Stamford.
 6                   The Chamber has been involved in this
 7   project virtually since its inception.   As you described
 8   earlier, the Dock Street Connector Project that then became
 9   the Urban Transitway.   We are here to support the project.
10   We think it’s a very critical project to the circulation
11   of our transportation within our downtown.
12                   For approximately 20 to 25 years I’ve looked
13   at the increasing of mass transit and rail to drive a lot
14   of the commuters into our City that come here on a daily
15   basis.   Approximately 60,000 people commute into our City
16   everyday.
17                   This was all part of the plan to force the
18   mass transit and the use of the trains, which has made the
19   Stamford train station the second largest train station
20   with people, second only to Grand Central in New York.
21                   The circulation system as it exists right

22   now is constant conflicts.   And I think that was one of the

23   failures when they put together the plan for the increasing

24   of the train station.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                    There’s conflicts with the downtown, there’s

 2   conflicts with the south end and there’s conflicts with

 3   virtually all of the railroad bridges.

 4                    This project -- will help alleviate a
 5   tremendous amount of these conflicts.    It allows a
 6   connection with East Main Street, which will also allow a
 7   connection with exit 9 and I95, allowing the traffic to get
 8   off the highway even sooner.
 9                    It does provide a much better circulation
10   system for the buses and the high occupancy vehicles.     And
11   that’s from virtually Bull’s Head all the way down to the
12   train station.   And I think, actually, will dovetail in
13   quite nicely with the CT Transit type buses.
14                    Thank you.
15                    MODERATOR CASOLO:   Next speaker, Vincent
16   Snaider.
17                    MR. Vincent SNAIDER:   Thank you, it’s
18   actually pronounced Snaider.   It’s S-N-A-I-D-E-R.
19                    I’m an attorney, my office is in New Haven

20   and my area of concentration is condemnation and relocation

21   benefits representing property owners here in this

22   Transitway.

23                    The thing that strikes me is that right now

24   all these properties that have been delineated for


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   acquisition are now under the cloud of condemnation.    The

 2   cloud of condemnation has a depressing effect on the value

 3   of property.

 4                   And that means that the tenants who have a
 5   lease that’s going to come up, may want to go to a more
 6   stable area.   And that’s going to be a loss of income to
 7   the property owners -- that has to be taken into account.
 8   And the element of just compensation, which was mentioned
 9   by counsel, which is a constitutional requirement, does not
10   necessarily take into account the fact that there is a
11   drain on the income, when tenants move out.   And especially
12   if they’re offered relocation assistance to move out, the
13   property owners is left with a vacant unit and still has to
14   pay a mortgage and taxes.
15                   So it’s important that the cloud of
16   condemnation and the effect of the cloud of condemnation be
17   diminished in every way.    And that means that whatever is
18   going to happen, it happened speedily and efficiently.
19                   And when you note that there may be a filing

20   of a lis pendens on property that could not and should not

21   take effect prior to the requirements of the statute.

22                   I don’t care what the local ordinance has to

23   say about it, but the statutes as you know, 8-129, 130 and

24   132, provide that a lis pendens shall take place only after


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   negotiations with the property owner.   So at least -- and

 2   that is the effect of the filing of a Notice of Taking on

 3   the property.

 4                    And with regard to the real estate value,
 5   real estate value is not necessarily all that’s encompassed
 6   in just compensation.   Just compensation, especially when
 7   it comes to a partial taking of property, includes all
 8   damages that flow as a result of the taking, including loss
 9   of access for a temporary period of time and the effect of
10   any delay that may have taken place from the time of the
11   announcement of the project, until the actual acquisition
12   of the property.
13                    On a temporary taking in Connecticut, we
14   have a before and after value.   So if your parking is taken
15   and that parking is a necessary element of your property,
16   then you may be entitled to practically the full value of
17   your property.
18                    But in any event, I think it’s imperative,
19   from an engineering point of view, that what we see on the
20   internet is preliminary, preliminary, preliminary.   That
21   constitutes a cloud, because the property owner does not
22   know exactly what is being taken.
23                    So it’s very important that that preliminary

24   determination be made final at some time in the near


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1   future, because you have to make business plans. You have

 2   to make plans and if somebody were interested in possibly

 3   selling their property, they’d be hobbled by the fact that

 4   the plans for the property and how much is going to be
 5   taken is uncertain.
 6                   In addition, if the plans for the
 7   development of this Transitway are uncertain with regard to
 8   any particular property, you can’t get an appraisal of the
 9   property.   Because an appraisal can only be based upon a
10   firm knowledge of what is actually going to be taken and
11   what is the effect going to be on the remainder of the
12   property, if it’s not a total take.
13                   So I think that it’s important to emphasize
14   that because there is now -- because of this meeting,
15   because of what’s on the internet, there’s now has arisen a
16   cloud of condemnation over this property.    It’s important
17   to either remove the cloud and I don’t think, from what
18   I’ve heard that’s going to happen. Or that you proceed
19   speedily so that there’s not a -- there’s not an inhibition
20   on the property owners to fully utilize their property.
21                   And I think that what has been emphasized

22   here is a process that seems rather complicated.    But if it

23   is complicated, at least it should not be drawn out.

24                   And I thank you very much.


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          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                    MODERATOR CASOLO:   Our last speaker, Mr.

 2   Bill Rogers.

 3                    MR. BILL ROGERS:    My name is Bill Rogers, R-

 4   O-G-E-R-S.   My comment is, I own a piece of property on the
 5   corner of Jefferson Street and Harbor View, where the
 6   Cherry Street project is going to be made, I believe, a
 7   two-way.
 8                    I’m going to be affected pretty bad by it,
 9   because number one -- can’t hear?
10                    MODERATOR CASOLO:   Can’t hear.
11                    MR. ROGERS:   Alright, I’ll have to stand
12   closer.
13                    I’m going to be affected pretty badly, only
14   because -- all I’m saying is I have been there for 20
15   years.    Cherry Street has been one way.   They’re taking out
16   -- I understand the gentleman talking to me from the
17   Railroad Yard that talked earlier, and he was talking about
18   he needs parking space.   Well up till now, I haven’t seen
19   many cars parked there.   And I was always wondering if that
20   road should be, instead of taking the corner of my property
21   off, if it could have been moved over just a little bit
22   more, I guess on a southerly direct, I believe or however
23   it is on the map, rather than coming and taking the corner
24   of the property.


                        POST REPORTING SERVICE
                      HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
                                                                    41
          HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                         APRIL 15, 2004

 1                    Not to mention the front of the property,

 2   that’s also going to be taken away.    And I have three

 3   businesses that are going to suffer.    The main one is going

 4   to be the car lot on the corner.     And then the next one is
 5   going to be a garage and the next one is going to be a tire
 6   business.   So, like I say, my comment to you people is
 7   please look at that a little closer.
 8                    I mean especially that Cherry Street.     I
 9   understand that we need to have things happen here in
10   Stamford and I agree with it.     But I think it’s going to be
11   a pretty bad hardship to me personally and to probably the
12   neighboring car dealer up the street, because I believe
13   that’s part of what we call car row, basically in Stamford.
14   There’s Old McGee Avenue, up and down.
15                    So when that area there -- I mean my
16   business is going to be affect, I think, fairly bad.      So
17   that’s my comment.   Thank you.
18                    MODERATOR CASOLO:   At this time, there are
19   no more speakers that are on the list.    Is there anyone
20   else that would like to make a public comment at this time?
21   If so, we welcome you to the podium.     With no further
22   public comment, the public hearing is adjourned. And we
23   want to thank you for attending and thank you for your
24   participation.


                        POST REPORTING SERVICE
                      HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102
                                                         42
         HEARING RE: CITY OF STAMFORD URBAN TRANSITWAY
                        APRIL 15, 2004

1                 (Whereupon, the hearing was adjourned at

2   8:10 p.m.)

3




                    POST REPORTING SERVICE
                  HAMDEN, CT (800) 262-4102

				
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