About 100 Stonington Borough residents have filed a petition to change or repeal the newly passed .
“We received a petition and we have to validate the signatures and then hold a borough meeting,” Stonington Borough Warden Paul Burgess said.
The date for the borough meeting has not yet been set.
In June the Stonington Borough Board of Warden and Burgesses passed a bus ordinance that bans busses more than 25 feet in length from roads south of Broad Street and school busses more than 25 feet in length are no longer allowed passed . The full text of the bus ordinance is available at the end of this article.
Some residents and business owners are concerned about how the bus ordinance will impact access to Stonington Borough.
Spike Lobdell of organized the petition and is working on creating alternative language for the ordinance. He said that while he understands why some people would want an ordinance it limits the access people have to one of the borough’s most important aspects—the water. During the school year the organization has children come as part of school trips and other activities. Lobdell said the bus ordinance will make it harder for school groups to come.
“It’s a safety issue,” Lobdell said.
The children can range in age from five-years-old to 14. If they have walk to New England Science & Sailing it will take 15 to 20 minutes Lobdell said during which chaperones will have to keep a close eye on students as they navigate traffic. It also eats into the amount of time students have one the water. Many school groups come for two to two and half hours and Lobdell worries that some groups may decide it’s not worth it if 40 minutes are going to be spent walking to and from New England Sailing and Science.
School groups and tours that visit the will be similarly affected.
“There is a need to balance the educational benefits at NESS and at the Lighthouse for both children and seniors with the possible inconvenience of unloading school buses causing slight delays to traffic,” Stonington-Mystic Patch user David S Purvis said. “There are other potential needs for exceptions, such as Special Olympics. I encourage the Warden and Burgesses to provide for granting exceptions to the Ordinance for Educational purposes and for other special events.”
The Board of Warden and Burgess will have to find that balance when they hold their meeting.
The best case scenario Lobdell said would there to be no ordinance, however, he would also agree to language change that would allow busses of educational purpose if they have been pre-approved.
Here is the full text of the bus ordinance:
8. a) No person shall operate any bus over 25 feet in length on any roads south of Broad Street. Buses longer than 25 feet must drop off/pick up passengers at the southeast corner of High Street and Main Street, at Wadawanuck Square, then exit the Borough by turning left onto Main Street, left onto Water Street, and left back over the viaduct.
b) “Specialty Buses” such as trolley buses or mini-buses that are less than or equal to 25 feet in length may drop off/pick up passengers at the designated bus stop on the east side of Wadawanuck Square, at the public dock parking lot, at the parking lot at Stonington Point, or at other locations with permission from the Warden and Burgesses.
c) Specialty vehicles less than or equal to 25 feet in length, transporting residents with special needs, may pick up/drop off where necessary.
d) School buses longer than 25 feet may not travel south of High Street; they will utilize the bus stop on the east side of Wadawanuck Square. A “school bus” is defined in Section 14-275 (a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
e) The Board of Warden and Burgesses, the Warden, the Borough Police Commissioner, or the Town Police can temporarily suspend this ordinance.