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New London school buses could have new home — again

October 5, 2018

New London — A new home may be on the horizon for a fleet of school buses that has been shuffling around the city for a number of years.

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday approved a zone map amendment that changes a portion of 131 Cedar Grove Ave. from residential to a limited commercial zone.

Attorney Mathew Green, on behalf of New London Cedar LLC, asked for the change in anticipation of applying for a special permit to allow a fleet of school buses to park there. Green said he thinks it will solve the ongoing problem of finding a spot for the buses.

The city also has worked to find a lot for the buses in light of a tax boost they provide — as much as 8,000 a year lease to M&T Parking for a property housing the buses at 41 Walbach St.

The city plans renovations to the lot and eventually use it for paid public parking.

Prior to the start of the school year, the city’s parking director worked with Student Transportation of America and the New London Housing Authority to hammer out an agreement to accommodate up to 61 passenger vehicles and 41 buses off Crystal Avenue at the vacant Thames River Apartment complex.

The alternative for Student Transportation of America was a lot in Groton.

The agreement was expected to be transferred to the city now that the city owns the Crystal Avenue property. The agreement calls for 71 per month for passenger vehicle, or a maximum of $8,517 per month.

The city is marketing the Crystal Avenue property and does not consider it to be a permanent home for the buses. It also is not zoned correctly for use as a parking facility, though the city intends to apply for a zone change for that parcel.

“It’s in the city’s best interest to move the buses off the property as soon as possible,” said Felix Reyes, director of the Office of Development and Planning. “It was never intended to be a long-term solution.”

g.smith@theday.com

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