Don’t listen, watch
An axiom we have followed over the years states, “Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.” This applies to politicians, advocates, public interest groups, and even businesses. Case in point: Jimmies, Inc. appealing the agreement with the city on a revised plan for the New England Brewing Company (NEBCO) facility at the former West Haven Conference Center.
Last month, the famous shoreline restaurant filed another appeal – its third – against the revised plan, which was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council.
Douglas Gray, developer of the new site, has not stated anything publicly, but this latest development must be exasperating at least. An appeal of his revised plan and some public commentary in a summer City Council meeting resulted in him pulling the plan and looking elsewhere. We would not be surprised if he determines the plan is just not worth the effort.
Under contention is the easement along the city’s shoreline boardwalk. A patio area is planned for the property, and despite assurances there would be access to the boardwalk, the litigation stands. This despite the fact, when Jimmies had appealed against the plan causing it to be pulled by Gray, the landmark had to put a full-page ad in this newspaper because of the public backlash.
Earlier litigation had Gray alter his original plan, which included the demolition of the current building, and construction of a facility that would include a taproom and brewery complex. This type of micro-brewery/taproom plan has worked at its Woodbridge site, and, indeed, works elsewhere in various other such businesses throughout the state.
The revisions, made in hopes of quelling opposition, included reduction of the square footage and footprint, use of the current building with alterations, and elimination of certain aspects. The brewery was deleted, and the taproom became a tasting facility.
Despite their protestations to the otherwise, one could question how much they are welcoming of the new facility. One may be allowed to doubt.
Mayor Borer has attempted to bring the sides to the bargaining table and seems to have had little success. The new chief executive should be furious over the turn of events. We daresay many residents in the city would share her frustration. For many years we have heard what Jimmies, Inc. is against, we would be interested to hear what it is FOR.
If the landmark business is genuinely interested in being a good neighbor, it should sit across a table with Gray and the mayor and come to an agreement. We urge the mayor to put together a qualified team of people including herself, and work to negotiate a commitment of which Jimmies, Inc. will be a part. There is no reason these issues have to be played out in court if they can be addressed by all interested parties.
Actions speak louder than words; and, so far, the public is tuning out Jimmies, Inc.’s words in greater numbers.