Morning Edition: The End Of The Land Swap

Apr 5, 2012

Last year the state legislature and Governor Dannel Malloy approved a controversial land swap deal in Haddam. Now, the developer who initiated the swap has now withdrawn from the deal.

Riverhouse Properties offered 87 acres of forest land in the Higganum section of Haddam in exchange for 17 acres of state owned open space along the Connecticut River. After years of resistance from environmentalists and town officials, the state okayed the land swap deal during the 2011 legislative session.

Now it appears that the deal is dead, after two independent appraisers concluded the riverfront property was worth $1.3 million more than the wooded property. As part of the agreement with the state, Riverhouse was obliged to make up the difference in cash or property. According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain, Riverfront has withdrawn from the deal.

"We then asked them if they were willing to include additional land or money to make it a deal of equal value," said Schain. "We did receive a letter from them just the other day in which they informed us that they did not wish to do that and that they would not go forward with the deal."

A statement on the Riverhouse website said, "We take exception to the conclusions of the appraisals, specifically the market values."

Schain says the riverfront property will remain open space, with no plans to pursue a similar land swap deal.