AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“Staff is great there a great place to work and call your workplace”

Babispyce S.

“I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years, and I am currently a nursing professor. When my mom was recently in the hospital, I knew it would not be possible for her to be completely on her own right away. She loves where she resides and enjoys all of the activities that are offered. My goal was to get her back into her apartment as soon as possible with the support she needed to increase her strength and return to her prior level of wellness she had before she went into the hospital. She was used to walking a couple miles a day. When I reached out to ABC I made it clear that my mom would need somebody who would be willing to walk with her in the morning, and in the evening enabling her to get back to her baseline. I would like to complement all of the staff at ABC who provided my mom such wonderful support after two weeks she returned to her baseline and remained in her apartment. She really enjoyed all of the staff that were with her , they were professional they encouraged her to walk, drink fluids, eat and were instrumental in assisting her to reach her prior level of independence. I would strongly recommend ABC to anybody who is in need of support for their loved one.”

Robin Y.

“Mom’s care needs have been progressing over the past month - increased difficulty standing. walking, decreased appetite, increased incontinence. (Part of the expected declining process per her Dr.) Tara has been wonderful in adapting to Mom’s changing needs as they develop and a very helpful partner in troubleshooting. brainstorming how to adapt to best support Mom. It’s also been helpful in my regular communication with Mom’s Dr, to let her know in detail what has come up and how we have approached. Thank you (again) for your talented staff!”

Jeremy H.

“Outstanding personal service from this company. All of the caregivers were personable and provided outstanding care to our aunt. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has an elder family member in need. Also, the staff that helped to set up their services was outstanding as well. They made the decisions easy to understand with no hidden agenda. Thank you again to "ABC!"”


“You can't go wrong with this crew. Extremely patient and caring.”

Daniel S.

“Caring for family can be difficult and challenging at times. It's so nice to know that Always Best Care Senior Services is there to help!”

Cathy K.

“Taylor, John, and Kristine and their crew are the best. They are patient, understanding, and a joy to work with.”

Daniel S.

“Sabina always has a pleasant, caring, and respectful attitude. I feel she treats me as she would as her own mother. She treats me the way she would like to be treated. We are a good “team” together.”

Tracy H.

“Diana has a total commitment of compassion, empathy, and respect for myself and my family. My daughters feel she is truly a tremendous caregiver. They know I am in good hands. She acknowledges with commitment of my physical, emotional, and practical needs, my quality of life has excelled due to Diana’s help. I look forward to her presence everyday her attitude is exceptional, Diana comes to work daily with a smile on her face. She enters the front door, singing softly ready to work. She has never taken a day off, I have had many caregivers, but Diana is truly the best!”

Anne H.

“Tina has been with us since the start, caring for my mom. Tina has nothing but my mom’s best interest at heart. She continues to go above and beyond to care for my mom, and ensure anyone else who may be there also understands my mom’s needs. Tina has even gone so far to rearrange her schedule or give up her free time to stay with my mom to avoid her having someone that doesn’t know her. I can see that she genuinely cares for my mom, and treats her as if she was her own family member. That also goes both ways, my mom lights up when she sees Tina. We consider Tina part of our family.”

David L.

“Always Best Care helped our family get through a very difficult time with my mother's care. Kristine and Taylor are a pleasure to work with. They are very knowledgable and had the answers to all our questions. They were able to help with all aspects of the care we needed. I highly recommend them.”

John S.

“Kristine and John are extremely caring and compassionate about helping their client's and family and making sure they receive the best care available. Highly recommended!”

Greg G.

“We needed some home care services for Dad who has dementia, and we made the right decision to trust ABC Senior Services for this support. Dad was lined up with a caregiver who was attentive and helpful, and she and Dad really hit it off. The management and administrative staff from ABC were also very effective and professional. You'll make a good decision to go with ABC Senior Services...”

Liam M.

“I approached Kristine regarding care for my elderly father. Even though he was outside her service area, she helped to find resources for us. Her commitment to providing outstanding care is only surpassed by her desire to help others. Thank you Kristine!”

Matt B.

“I have known Kristine Lajeunesse for many years now through business networking and she and her Team at Always Best Care are very caring and professional and exactly who you would want on your side if you have a loved one who needs help!”

Ann B.

“The client care at Always Best Care Senior Service is outstanding”

Kimberly O.

“Rosemary has many great qualities. She is a hardworker, sensitive, has a giving nature and has an immense desire to help my father. Reliability is vital trait in Rosemary. When my father was in the hospital and came home she immediately wanted to be by his side. My father has come to rely and depend on Rosemary. She is always on time whether it is giving medication or administering food and often encourages my father and helps my father maintain his dignity”

Denise D.

“Always Best Care provides caregivers to our building on a regular basis when we are short staffed. Due to our licensing, we can only have CNAs on the floor and Always Best Care has provided excellent CNAs every time we need some extra help. All of their CNAs have been helpful, willing to go above and beyond for our residents and we always have great responses from our own CNAs and supervisory staff. I am so thankful to Michelle and Wilda who will always staff a shift that I need, even if I call 30 minutes before the shift starts. You’ve been such a huge help!”

Kaytee S.

“I have known John and Kristine Lajeunesse for almost 20 years and when my dad needed care following a diagnosis of dementia, I knew there wouldn’t be anyone better to call than them. The caregivers that have worked with my dad have been wonderful. They are true saints to my family, allowing us the knowledge that Dad is okay to stay at home. They have navigated all of the changes in his cognitive state with grace and kept my father’s dignity in place. He was always a very active man and the caregivers have managed to keep him active, even as his health declines.”

Belinda F.

“Always Best Care helped me to get care lined up for my uncle, after I received their information from a close friend of mine that also used their agency. My uncle was a very proud man and did not want help from anyone, including family. Taylor met with me and spent time getting to know the ins and outs of my uncle’s care as well as his personality. She asked about his background so that they could look for a caregiver with similar interests. Although he took a turn for the worse rather quickly, the short time care was provided was wonderful. Thank you for your help and compassion.”

Karel O.

“My dad’s caregiver is great. He is a man of few words, but she is able to get him talking about all aspects and experiences of his life. They go out regularly and she encourages my dad to participate in the activities put on by the community he lives in. They run errands, go out for meals, or go for a drive just to get a change of scenery. I was nervous at first about how my dad would take having a caregiver come in to help him, but he seems so happy and has great things to talk about after his time spent with his caregiver.”

Martin F.

“Thank you, Kristine - I am very appreciative of the professional manner with which you and your organization operates. From the initial phone and in-person conversations with Taylor, to the ongoing support of my mother's care - it's been thorough, timely and well managed. I am also struck by how the home-health employees conduct themselves. They are reliable/responsive *and* responsible, and making every effort to work through the challenges day to day with my mother. Thanks for the great job you and your organization are doing. It means a lot to me, especially during this trying time! Best Regards”

Anna T.

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and your staff for all of your hard work and dedication to their clients. When my parents finally realized they needed help in their home, I chose ABC as the company I felt would be the best fit. Yes, we have had some ups and down, but when you paired Leah with my parents, it was truly a blessing. My parents love her. She genuinely cares for them and they speak highly of her work ethic. As my mom says, “she is too good to be true”. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your working with me to find the right fit. Well on our end, Leah fits like a glove and I hope she feels the same. She is a special person so I wanted to acknowledge her hard work and dedication to my parents. It makes me feel more at ease knowing there is someone coming to the home to properly care for them. Again I want to thank you all and encourage you to keep up the good work.”

Craig F.

“My family provides the care to my mother 24/7, we called Always Best Care to provide respite care to my mom while we took some time to ourselves for a weekend. Mom’s caregiver, Gloria, was great and she had the perfect disposition to work with my mom. She was attentive and kept mom well fed and engaged during the time we were away. We would definitely call Always Best Care again when we need some time away.”


“The caregiver that helped my husband and I were so kind to us both, especially to my husband while I spent some time in the hospital and rehab. Our caregiver brought my husband to see me every day while I was at the hospital and at rehab, I knew he was in excellent hands and I could focus on getting stronger again.”

Heather R.

“i really like my caregiver, Victor very much. Victor is a very patient and observant aide who knows when I need his help. I knew from the first day meeting him that we would get along very well.”

Johnson L.

““I want to give a huge thank you for the care that Always Best Care provided over the last year and a half. They started out assisting just my dad since he was wheelchair bound and then began providing care to my mom as well who had advanced dementia. The two ladies that helped them both did an amazing job and gave me the confidence that they were being well cared for since I live on the other side of the country. Up to my dad’s passing, his caregivers were there for him to provide comfort and companionship while managing my mom’s emotions as well during the difficult time my dad had. Being a nurse myself and in the healthcare field for a while, I had high expectations which were exceeded by the caregivers and office staff of Always Best Care.”

harry B.

“Both of Mom’s caregivers are exceptional. They are always professional, calm and extremely patient with my mom. They know how to keep her calm and to manage her anxiety. My whole family is very grateful, knowing that Mom is getting really competent care, great meals and friendly companionship. Thank you.”

Kathleen F.

“My husband had care from Always Best Care until he passed away. Thankfully he is on his "next journey" and finally pain free, while he was here with us, his caregiver, Craig, did an amazing job caring for him and was here to help us from our first day of services. Craig always managed to get my husband to share stories from his time in the war that even I had not heard before. It was a great way to get to know more of my husband so his memory can continue with others around him.”

Beth F.

“I am very pleased with the care that Craig gave to my husband. My husband enjoyed having another man to talk to instead of conversation only between him and I. Craig managed to keep him occupied and safe so that I could go and get some time to myself, allowing me peace of mind that my husband was in great hands”

Sonia T.

“I hired Always Best Care to help my mom who was living with me at home. She was diagnosed with dementia and within 3 months she could hardly do much for herself anymore. I was able to continue working full time while my mom received care from Always Best Care. We had the same caregiver from day 1 and she was absolutely amazing. She kept everyone in the loop with any changes my mom experienced and the regular in person and phone check ins were a great added support to myself and my family. Thank you ABC for all the help and compassion that you showed my mom until her passing.”


“They are very caring and easy to deal with. They work with the family and the patient to see that the patient has what is needed for their care. In all we had a good experience with Best Care.”

Elaine G.

“Our caregiver is the absolute best, you all got lucky finding her.”

Bob G.

“Anything from Always Best Care is good to have. The care from them has given me my life back. I wasn’t expecting a perfect match on the first caregiver, but Always Best Care did a very good job.”

Claudia B.

“We have been using the services of ABC for almost three years, and I have worked personally with John, Kristine, Taylor, Michelle and Wilda, as well as the many wonderful caregivers who have attended to my mother’s needs with great care and attention. Throughout this time, my mother’s care needs have changed many times, and they have always been very responsive to any requests, including the directives of the hospice nurses that work in concert with all of them. Taylor and Michelle are incredibly diligent about keeping on top of issues that arise day-to-day, and running their questions and concerns by me. I remain a loyal customer to ABC because I feel that my mother is getting really great care, and will continue to see the warm, friendly faces she has come to know and trust today and every day. At 94 yrs old, my mother is quite dependent on the care providers for almost all her needs, and they always show up and make her feel safe and secure.”

Rachel C.

“It has been a true pleasure working with you and your organization. You all demonstrate empathy and compassion in caring for frail elderly family members and insure distant families are comforted knowing you are there.”

Steve S.

“Mom’s caregiver is a part of the family, we absolutely love her!”

Joe L.

“Always Best Care has done a fantastic job in providing us with at-home care for my step-mother while we prepared for her transition to move permanently to a skilled nursing facility. With their help, she was able to spend a full six months at home before moving. We would not have been able to do it without them. All the caregivers we have met and used have been kind and attentive, frequently going the extra mile, whatever that may be on any given day. The office staff is friendly, empathetic and very diligent in keeping all parties informed of all aspects of day-to-day care. They are knowledgeable, respectful and efficient. I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone who is looking for help in keeping their loved one at home for as long as possible.”

Sarah C.
 In-Home Care Higganum, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Higganum, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Higganum, CT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Higganum, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Higganum, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Higganum, CT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Higganum,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Higganum, CT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Higganum, CT

From Afghanistan to Haddam: One Family’s Journey

(February 2, 2023) — “The U.S. was there [in Afghanistan] and it was good; people were happy,” said Himanuddin. “The U.S. left, and then, overnight, it was very scary.”Himanuddin is the nephew of Azam Khan, whose family came to Haddam sponsored by HARRP, the Haddam Area Refugee Resettlement Project. When I went to interview Azam, two of his nephews were visiting. Himanuddin, age 30, lives in Texas and is currently employed as an Uber driver; he has been in the United States for 19 months. Himanuddin&rsquo...

(February 2, 2023) — “The U.S. was there [in Afghanistan] and it was good; people were happy,” said Himanuddin. “The U.S. left, and then, overnight, it was very scary.”

Himanuddin is the nephew of Azam Khan, whose family came to Haddam sponsored by HARRP, the Haddam Area Refugee Resettlement Project. When I went to interview Azam, two of his nephews were visiting. Himanuddin, age 30, lives in Texas and is currently employed as an Uber driver; he has been in the United States for 19 months. Himanuddin’s wife and children are still in Afghanistan, and he is hoping that they will be reunited in the U.S. very soon. He said they are safe, for the time being. Himanuddin said he worked as an interpreter at a construction company in Afghanistan and helped the U.S. “If people worked for the U.S. and helped them, then the U.S. is helping them,” explained Himanuddin. Umar, age 28, has been in the U.S. for only one month, and is living in New Haven, looking for employment.

The Khans have other family still in Afghanistan, and communicate with them through WhatsApp or on the phone. The rest of the family would also like to come to the United States.

The house the Khans are living in is owned by the United Congregational Church of Haddam and Higganum (UCCHH), and it was readied for a family by a team of volunteers. When their renter left in 2022, the Church thought about selling the house. “The new pastor asked how we could use the house to forward our mission,” said Kristin Battistoni, one of the HARRP volunteers. “We have all said we want to be a church that is known for mission work and helping our community.”

When word got out about HARRP, about 50 people said they were interested in helping. Thirty of those people got fully trained, and about 20 volunteers are “fully engaged,” said Lori Chadwick, one of the co-leaders of HARRP. The other co-leader is Jack Murphy.

Azam arrived in Haddam on November 18, 2022, after living in a New Haven hotel for a couple of months with his wife, Bibi Jana, and their four children, Muska, age 14, Jahanzib, 11, Afsana, 8, and Raihan, 6. They fled Afghanistan to Pakistan in late March 2022 with very few possessions, and then arrived in New York City in late August.

The family had lived in Khost, which is in the northeast of Afghanistan, near Pakistan, where Azam was a jeweler. Bibi Jana is a seamstress, and I saw some beautiful cushions that she made.

Azam is currently working at Bull Metal Products in Middletown. The owner lives in Haddam and is a member of the church.

The goal of the resettlement program is to have the family independent within 6-12 months of arrival. A lot goes on in that time: signing up the children for school, learning English, obtaining Green Cards, dental and medical visits, employment, a driver’s license. And for HaRRP, that’s a lot of coordination that needs to happen: from finding rides, to making appointments, to lining up volunteers. When the family first arrived, for example, HaRRP paid the rent for the house for the first month. Now that Azam has employment, each month HaRRP pays less and Azam pays more, until the six-month mark, at which time Azam will be paying the full amount.

Azam and Bibi Jana are getting English lessons from ESOL tutors once a week, and the children are learning English (as well as other subjects) at Haddam Killingworth High School, Intermediate School, and Burr District Elementary School. Volunteers from HaRRP got trained to become the ESOL tutors.

Another thing that the committee is looking for is four bicycle helmets for the children, as well as some baseball gloves and a baseball, so that the children can engage in outdoor activities as the weather gets warmer.

On Thursday nights, the whole family walks over to Brainerd Library. The parents get tutored in English, and the children are there, too. Lori is looking for some mentors for the children. She thinks it would be great if there was an adult with a child the same age as one of the Khan children, who could meet them at the library each week to chat, and enlarge the circle of people the children interact with.

When I asked what Azam thought of Haddam, he said [through his nephew, who was translating for us] “Feeling good so far.” But then he went on to share that downtown was far. When Lori asked if he would be happier when he could get his driver’s license and a car,” Azam’s face broke out in a huge grin, and his nephew smiled too. “He’ll be much happier when he gets a car.”

HARRP will be looking for a reliable car for the family for when Azam gets his license.

When we left, the family was getting ready for a big meal, and asked if we would like to join them. A bounty was spread out in front of the handmade cushions, and it looked as though Bibi Jana had cooked all day in preparation. It looks like the family is settling in to Haddam. (Pictured above, Azam Khan, second from right, with his children and nephews. Not pictured are his wife and eldest daughter)

If you would like more information about volunteering for HARRP, please email [email protected]. If you would like to make a donation, please send a check made out to HaRRP to Higganum Congregational Church, 23 Parsonage Road, Higganum, CT 06441.

Photo by Kathy Brown

Proposed Retail Development on Killingworth Road, Higganum

(October 27, 2022)—This project entails the development of 3 existing, wooded lots just to the north of the cleared open area adjacent to the plaza containing Dino’s Restaurant.The parcel is zoned C-1 Commercial and retail is a permitted use in the zone requiring site plan approval by the Commission. All comments need to be related to specific compliance with the Zoning Regulations.The Inland Wetlands Commission approved the proposed activities at their October meeting.The proposed complies with the lot cover...

(October 27, 2022)—This project entails the development of 3 existing, wooded lots just to the north of the cleared open area adjacent to the plaza containing Dino’s Restaurant.

The parcel is zoned C-1 Commercial and retail is a permitted use in the zone requiring site plan approval by the Commission. All comments need to be related to specific compliance with the Zoning Regulations.

The Inland Wetlands Commission approved the proposed activities at their October meeting.

The proposed complies with the lot coverage and setback requirements in the C-1 zone.

As the plan reveals the current septic system servicing Dino’s Restaurant is on one of the lots proposed for new development. The lot lines are being rearranged so that the septic system is located completely on the Dino’s parcel. See existing and proposed lots in plan set.

Development in relation to its surroundings

As you are aware the Commission is prohibited from requiring off-site improvements. In this case the project “site” does include the parcel to the south. This opens the door to a more comprehensive review. The Commission should inquire as to the future development of the undeveloped land to the south and how development relates to the most significant feature on the property, the pond.

Section 14 indicates

Where topographic and other conditions permit, provisions shall be made for circulation driveway connections to adjoining Lots of similar existing or potential use 1) when such driveway connection will facilitate fire protection services, as approved by the Traffic Authority and Town Fire Marshal, or their agents, and/or 2) when such driveway will enable the public to travel between two existing or potential sites, open to the public generally, without need to travel upon a Street.

Site Impacts

The proposed project will clear cut and regrade the entire site. Make a major cut in the back and fill the southern side of the lot.

Section 14 of the regulation’s states:

to conserve, to the maximum extent practical, the existing terrain, vegetation, and other natural resources of the site;

I have walked the site and feel there needs to more effort to preserve some of the larger trees and rebuild and use the stone wall along the street frontage.

The plan as currently designed does not comply with Section 14 D.

Nor does it comply with:

Any parking area accommodating 20 or more cars shall 1) be provided with interior landscaping within the paved portion of the Parking area and

The developer needs to stake out the front property line and locate all trees within the required 20-foot landscape area that are over 6 in dbh and show same on the plans.

The new split rail fence to the south is attractive and could be extended to enhance the streetscape. I strongly recommend the developer have a landscape architect prepare a streetscape plan and revised building placement and grading to address these concerns and comply with the regulations.

Possible modifications to provide for the 20-foot front landscape area could be –

Sidewalks / Pedestrian Connections

While there are no sidewalks in the area, consideration should be given to how the proposed building, the existing plaza and future development will be connected for pedestrian access among the uses and some type of amenities at the pond.

Section 14 states:

The Commission may require that any site plan shall provide for pedestrian walkways and circulation in commercial and industrial parking areas and around Buildings.

Buffers between Residential Uses and Zones

This development will have a very significant impact on the residential home to the north and on the homes to the east on Beaver Meadow Road. The homes should be located on the plan to better understand the impact.

Section 7.4 of the Commercial Zone regulations state

7.4 Buffering Requirements

Where any lot or part thereof abuts a lot devoted to residential use without separation by a street, or where the lot is used for a contracting or construction yard, the Commission may require a buffer strip as deemed necessary. Where such a strip is required, the Commission may determine the size or width of the buffer and it shall be properly seeded with grass and/or planted with trees and shrubs to insure an adequate screening between commercial and residential uses. Plans showing the landscape work to be done, with a planting and maintenance schedule, shall be filed with and approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission before such lot or portions thereof may be used for commercial purposes. Where such a buffer strip is required by the Commission, the buffer strip shall be located on the lot devoted to the commercial use. Failure to maintain such a buffer in good condition shall constitute a violation of these regulations.

It appears that the lot line rearrangement is taking the least amount of land as possible to squeeze in a 10,000 sq.ft. building with associated parking. This results in the parking lot being extremely close to the adjacent homes front yard and a water quality basin along the side of their house. The actual parking lot is only 6 feet from the property line. I question why they could not acquire more of existing lot 7 and shift the entire development to the south and provide more meaningful protection to the home.

The plan only provides for a line of arborvitaes along the property line. The plan indicates 6-7 inch height. I assume they intended feet. A row of six- foot high arborvitaes planted six feet on center will not provide any screening for several years. There needs to be more width in the planting area to provide for a row of staggered trees, fencing and possibly an earthen berm.

Section 7.4 leaves the size of the buffer up to the Commission. The 6- foot buffer is insufficient and I think any reasonable person would conclude the same. I believe a 20-foot wide buffer properly planted with a fence would be reasonable.

Additionally, the back yards of the Beaver Meadow houses should be buffered with extensive plantings. They are only proposing a lawn area at the back of the building. Ideally, staggered evergreens such as green spruce will be required to screen the view of the building from the homes all year round. Again, I believe fencing makes for a better neighbor and this project is abutting a residential zone in the back.


The plans do not display any proposed signage as required in the regulations.

Fire Protection

The applicant has met with the Fire Marshall and indicated the building will not be sprinklered.

Section 14 indicates in part :

identification of source of water for fire protection, and where appropriate and based on evidence of consultation with the appropriate fire department, explanation of provision for a fire well, fire pond, water tank or other source of water adequate for firefighting purposes;

The Commission after consultation with the Fire Marshall and Chief should require a standpipe coming from the pond to provide water to fight a fire in the building.


The plans provide architectural renderings but again no proposed signage. The photometric plan indicates wall packs for lighting. I believe the one wall pack facing the house on the northern side of the building should be removed.

I know the Commission was happy about the design the required for the Dollar General on Bridge Road. Perhaps some of those elements should be incorporated into this retail building.

Statutory Time Lines

The application was submitted on September 28th, 2022. The day of receipt was October 6th,2022. A decision on a site plan must be rendered within 65 days of the day of receipt. A decision must be made by December 10th, 2022. If the Commission fails to render a decision the plan is automatically approved.

Because the applicant failed to post the sign which displayed the process I sought and received a 30-day extension which gets us to January 9th, 2022.

There is no second meeting in November and I believe the required revisions will take quite a while. The applicant needs to submit final revised plans by December 1st or I recommend you deny on December 2nd, 2022.

Haddam First Selectman Pitches Redevelopment Plans for Higganum Center

HADDAM – A $1.8 million state grant to clean up a late-19th-century manufacturing site in Higganum Center for redevelopment is just the start of plans for the area, according to Haddam First Selectman Robert McGarry, if the town can secure another grant for a diverse list of projects along Saybrook Road.Haddam secured the Brownfield remediation grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development last Friday to clean up the Scovil Hoe Company complex at 11 Candlewood Rd., to allow a developer to repurpose ...

HADDAM – A $1.8 million state grant to clean up a late-19th-century manufacturing site in Higganum Center for redevelopment is just the start of plans for the area, according to Haddam First Selectman Robert McGarry, if the town can secure another grant for a diverse list of projects along Saybrook Road.

Haddam secured the Brownfield remediation grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development last Friday to clean up the Scovil Hoe Company complex at 11 Candlewood Rd., to allow a developer to repurpose the two long, brick buildings on site.

McGarry said the town has lined up a developer willing to take over and develop the site after it’s remediated – a requirement to receive one of the grants. Farmington-based Parker Benjamin was the only bidder on the town’s request for proposals for a developer that has experience with Brownfield sites, McGarry said.

The firm developed the mixed-use Upson Market Place in Unionville, the Winsted Edge Works retail and office space, and the Greenway Apartments in New London – and are developing a retail and office space called Phoenix on Main in Killingly.

McGarry said he isn’t aware of specific plans to fill the site yet, but it could be similar to the firm’s other developments that include offices, retail, a makerspace, art gallery and restaurant space.

There aren’t vacant shops in the center, and some businesses are looking to expand without space to do so, which means more retail space could be welcome, McGarry said. But the main idea is to develop something that will bring people into Higganum Center to help support the other retail in the area.

“I’ve called this property the diamond in the rough for Higganum Center because it’s got so much potential to bring traffic in, which is ultimately what we’re trying to accomplish,” McGarry said.

McGarry said he doesn’t expect that the development of the Scovil facility would connect to the community septic project planned at the town-owned Haddam Elementary School property across Saybrook Road from the Scovil complex if Parker Benjamin develops something like an office space with low water usage that the existing septic on the property could accommodate.

But if they brought in something like a restaurant or brewery, they might need to hook in to the community septic, and that leach field would be expanded into the town green, McGarry said.

The complex was the fourth and final mill Scovil built in Higganum, erecting the first building on the site in 1880. The two buildings that remain were built in 1887 and 1905, according to Preservation Connecticut.

By the 1940s, Scovil – best known for its “self-sharpening” hoe – was consolidating its manufacturing and sold the site to the Connecticut Department of Transportation in 1942. The DOT modified the buildings into garages and still owns the property today.

McGarry said most of what needs to be cleaned up is from the site’s time as a DOT garage – mainly salt and hydrocarbons. The $1.8 million Brownfield grant will fund the remediation.

The town will have to purchase the property from DOT, and the assessed price is $436,540, according to town property records. The town will then sell the property to Parker Benjamin, though it hasn’t decided yet whether it will sell to the developer at a discount, he said.

“If we make that investment to turn what are basically two abandoned and deteriorating buildings into income-generating, tax-paying properties for the town – that’s a plus,” McGarry said.

Seeking another grant

The Scovil redevelopment isn’t the only change McGarry is envisioning for Higganum Center. On Thursday, the town submitted a request to the Department of Economic and Community Development for another $1.2 million Community Challenge Grant for several projects on the other side of Saybrook Road from the Scovil property.

The plan is to remodel the Haddam Elementary School building into a senior center and replace the unsafe existing playground with a “multi-generational space,” including a modern playground, a dog park, pickleball court, and attractions for older people, McGarry said.

“Probably typical of most towns in Connecticut, our older population is growing and our younger population is shrinking,” McGarry said. “So we’re envisioning a multi-generational park where seniors can come with their grandkids and not just sit on a bench.”

That project would also include installing a sidewalk from the school into the center of town, and then down Depot Road to the recently remediated town property on Higganum Cove – where the town is working to make the area more accessible, he said.

“The nice thing about the Community Challenge Grant is it’s multifaceted,” McGarry said. “The grant for Scovil is strictly a brownfield grant, so we can only use it for cleanup. If we wanted to build sidewalks associated with it or remodel a building, then we’d need another grant. I think it’s good that [the Department of Economic and Community Development] realizes that, particularly to revitalize a small community, you need a grant where you can address multiple areas – as opposed to getting multiple grants.”

The town is also interested in buying the property at the corner of Saybrook and Depot roads – formerly the Rossi Corporation lumberyard, and now home to various tenants, including the town, which uses a building as storage for its public works equipment.

“No offense to Rossi, but they haven’t been paying that much attention to it. The site’s deteriorating, it looks blighted,” McGarry said. “I’ve always felt it’s been a detriment to really getting development in Higganum Center, because it’s right there at the center, and it’s an eyesore.”

There is a developer interested in the site, and McGarry said they envision keeping retail on the front third of the property along Saybrook Road, then potentially a mixed-use development or town storage in the back – depending on what comes up in environmental surveys of the property.

“It all depends on the cleanup and what’s economically feasible, but if we just made it look attractive with retail on Saybrook Road, it’d be a great improvement,” McGarry said.

Brendan Crowley covers energy and the environment for CT Examiner. T: 860 598-0050

[email protected]

East Haddam Amends Regulations to Ease Limits on Hobby Farms, 4-H

EAST HADDAM – Town Planner James Ventres said that under East Haddam’s current regulations, he had to tell several families that they couldn’t keep a farm animal for a 4-H project because they didn’t have enough space to meet the town’s setback requirements for animal shelters.On Wednesday night, the town Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to loosen those setbacks for small “hobby farms,” including 4-H students. The commission also agreed to tighten setback regulations for new, larger anima...

EAST HADDAM – Town Planner James Ventres said that under East Haddam’s current regulations, he had to tell several families that they couldn’t keep a farm animal for a 4-H project because they didn’t have enough space to meet the town’s setback requirements for animal shelters.

On Wednesday night, the town Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to loosen those setbacks for small “hobby farms,” including 4-H students. The commission also agreed to tighten setback regulations for new, larger animal operations – an effort to prevent a repeat of an incident several years ago when someone tried to move thousands of chickens into a residential property.

The current rules governing agriculture are one size fits all – any structure for animals has to be set back 100 feet from any road and 75 feet from a rear or side property line, said Ventres. The new regulations are meant to accommodate smaller, less intensive “hobby farms,” which the regulations define as housing no more than 25 poultry and rabbits, or up to two large-bodied animals.

Ventres told the commission that the 75 foot buffer may have been set in the “old days” as an attempt to keep any kind of farming outside of the one-acre residential zones, or to provide a 75 foot buffer for manure piles because wells could be close to the property lines.

The setbacks effectively make it impossible for anyone with a 1-acre property with 150 feet of frontage to build any kind of structure for farm animals, he said. Ventres told CT Examiner in a recent conversation that the issue has mainly come up with parents whose children are working on a 4-H project, and he’s had to tell them the regulations simply don’t allow it.

“I don’t know how many times someone has come in and wants to have a goat or a few chickens for a 4-H project, and they can’t have it,” he said.

Instead of having one-size setbacks, under the new regulations, hobby farms could have smaller setbacks – 75 feet from a street, 40 feet from the property lines, and at least 100 feet from existing, neighboring residences. The new rules should allow for some more flexibility for those small hobby farms, he said.

Emily Alger, the 4-H program coordinator for Middlesex County, said East Haddam has always done a great job looking out for 4-H students. Alger said there are young people in East Haddam raising everything from rabbits and poultry to horses and cattle as a part of their 4-H livestock project.

“I get the spirit of the law, so that people don’t build a three-sided lean-to right on the property line and then there’s an issue,” Alger said. “But we have extremely diverse sizes of property, anywhere from hundreds of acres down to way less than an acre. I think it’s great that if you have an educational project, you don’t have to put your chicken coop on your front doorstep because that’s the only place far enough away from your property line.”

The livestock projects aren’t just a way for the students to learn about the animals they raise, they learn skills that transfer into other parts of life – it’s an opportunity to learn how to keep records, and to learn how to speak in public, she said.

Because the 4-H students learn from UConn researchers, it’s also an opportunity to share the latest research with the students, who in turn share that with the community.

“You want to know where your vegetables come from, you want to know how the person took care of them, how they kept the bugs away,” Alger said. “All of those things are really important, and when kids have projects like that, they have the opportunity to educate the public on all of their practices and their best management.”

The new regulations also add restrictions for manure storage on “intensive” farm operations – meaning larger farms with more than 200 poultry or 20 large livestock, or that require a building larger than 5,000 square feet.

Under the new regulations, those farms must keep their animal waste storage or treatment more than 225 feet from the street line and 300 feet from any other property line. The commission can also require those operations to plant a 100 foot buffer with trees and shrubs around any property line, but can also reduce the setback to 100 feet from the property line if the adjoining property is open space or unsuitable for development.

Ventres said about 8 years ago someone came to the town and asked to bring in 500 chickens to create a specialty hatchery on a property in a residential zone.

“The next thing you know, he had 10,000 chickens,” Ventres said.

The operation was abiding by the 75 foot buffers, but didn’t have proper manure management or sufficiently address runoff issues. The farm became a major nuisance in the residential area before the state shut it down, Ventres said.

The new regulations wouldn’t affect existing farms, but if someone else came in looking to develop an intensive animal operation, the regulations would give the commission a chance to look at the proposal and make sure it’s properly managing issues of stormwater and manure management, he said.

“We don’t want to discourage you, but we want to have an idea of how this is going to work,” he said.

Brendan Crowley covers energy and the environment for CT Examiner. T: 860 598-0050

[email protected]

Daffodil Farm Blooms for Fourth Season, Eyes Expansion

HIGGANUM – What started as a family tradition of planting daffodils in their yard has bloomed into a pick-your-own experience that draws people from all around Connecticut to Halfinger Farms. And with a newly awarded state grant, the owners hope to attract more visitors in coming years.Now in their fourth year running Dancing Daffodils, the Halfingers have grown their crop of the vibrant daffodil each year – with just under 100,000 of the flowers...

HIGGANUM – What started as a family tradition of planting daffodils in their yard has bloomed into a pick-your-own experience that draws people from all around Connecticut to Halfinger Farms. And with a newly awarded state grant, the owners hope to attract more visitors in coming years.

Now in their fourth year running Dancing Daffodils, the Halfingers have grown their crop of the vibrant daffodil each year – with just under 100,000 of the flowers dancing in rows on the hilltop farm this spring, Jen Halfinger said.

Jen and John Halfinger have been growing in their greenhouses in Higganum’s Candlewood Hill Valley for 28 years, known especially for their fall crop of Belgian mums, pumpkins and decorative corn. In 2017, they bought an overgrown piece of land up the road from their greenhouse, which they’ve since turned into rows of daffodils.

“As a family, we always planted daffodils in our yard every year,” Jen Halfiner said, sitting at a picnic table in the shade of a tall tree surrounded by the first few rows of daffodils the family planted on the property. “Every fall, we would get a bag, even if it was a bag of five bulbs, and we had this tradition of planting them yearly.”

Halfinger said the characteristics she loves about daffodils – blooming early in the spring and making for excellent-cut flowers – are what inspired her to take the family tradition and expand it into a pick-your-own experience.

“There were so many benefits, and one of them is just bringing new people to the farm, and them discovering the greenhouses and making a little day trip out of it,” she said.

The daffodil farm opened for the season on April 1, and the plan is to stay open until the end of April, Halfinger said. Though they may decide to close sooner if the flowers aren’t up to their standards. Located up the street from their greenhouses, the pick-your own farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The farm is active on weekends, but there is ample parking available. Halfinger said there’s enough space that groups can take their time among the rows of daffodils without worrying about being in anyone’s way.

“We’re not insurmountable, but we’ve got some places to spread out,” she said. “I’ve seen lovely scenes of people sitting amongst these rows and at the tables.”

Halfinger said the name of the farm, “Dancing Daffodils,” comes from the William Wordsworth poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” in which Wordsworth describes, “A host, of golden daffodils; beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

The “dancing,” or bouncing, of the daffodil bulbs is an effect of the “joints” they have on their stem, beneath the sheath just below the bulb, Halfinger said. It allows the flowers to move and sway in the breeze without being damaged, and turn away from strong winds to protect their petals, she explained

“These are getting ready to open, so these will be really nice and fresh,” Halfinger said, showing a daffodil bud with its stem bent horizontally at the joint. “If you pick this right now, this will open for you in water really nicely.”

Halfinger said she encourages people to pick a few buds along with open flowers. Both will be fresh, but the buds can last for almost two weeks if kept in a cool area without direct sun, she said.

“You can even put them in the fridge if you’re going away or if you really want to stretch them,” Halfinger said. “If you’re having company in a few days but have to pick them today, no big deal. Just don’t put them in the sun, and maybe put them in the fridge at night, and it’ll help them stay stronger and fresher. They like the cold treatment.”

Halfinger said she wants to keep growing the daffodil farm so the entire hill is filled with the flower. A new planter the couple bought for the farm this year should also help make planting in the fall less labor intensive and speed up that process, she added.

Halfinger said they are preparing to expand from a strictly pick-your-own farm to harvesting and selling dried daffodil flowers. Halfinger Farm was one of 30 small farms awarded a Farm Transition Grant from the state Department of Agriculture in February, which will help them outfit a barn to process daffodil bulbs.

She said she wants the daffodils to be something that people identify with Higganum, and growth is part of that dream. The first few years have been promising, she said, with people traveling from around the state to pick her flowers.

“They’re really coming from all over the state, it’s amazing, really,” Halfinger said. “You wouldn’t think one flower would have so much capacity to draw and provide so much happiness. They do represent joy and new beginnings, and they’re called the ambassadors of spring.”

Brendan Crowley covers energy and the environment for CT Examiner. T: 860 598-0050

[email protected]


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