HADDAM, Conn.—Residents here are trying to stop what they’re calling a land grab: a group of private developers who want to turn 17 acres of state-protected land along the Connecticut River into a tourist destination.
In exchange for the 17 acres, Riverhouse Properties wants to give the state an 87-acre parcel it bought out of foreclosure in 2009. The parcel, a failed housing subdivision, borders Connecticut’s Cockaponset State Forest.
Read more here: Land-Swap Plan Called a Grab – WSJ.com.
Bob Johnson is worried. Two years ago, when he sold his 143-acre Sunrise Resort on the Salmon River in Moodus to the state, he told a reporter that, while he would miss seeing all the returning vacationers, he could take comfort in knowing the summer resort he had known since boyhood could never be “turned into an office park or housing development.”
In 2008, a developer offered Johnson $5 million for the landmark resort — a swath of rolling meadow and wooded hills dotted with cabins along the sparkling river — but Johnson declined. Instead, in February 2009, he signed a deal with the state for $3.2 million, assured that the 100-year-old retreat, once popular with New York crowds, would remain open space forever.
Now, the proposed Haddam land swap — in which the state may trade open space on the Connecticut River to a developer in return for other property — has caused Johnson to question the assurances he was given.