The third night of public hearings regarding the fate of the second portion of the Clearview Farm Preserve subdivision continued on Feb. 25, at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
The PZC has been asked to determine the fate of “Phase 2” of the controversial project, which was first proposed in 2016 but was derailed after it was determined that an illegal dumping site existed on land that was slated to be developed. Clearview returned to the PZC a year later with a scaled back proposal, which was ultimately approved.
Now, Clearview is asking to build an additional six homes and a cul-de-sac near the Cornwall Avenue Extension.
While the most recent hearing will likely be the last before the Commission ultimately votes on the project, tensions remained high as Clearview’s representatives, the commissioners, and members of the public continued to argue over the particulars.
First to speak was Darren Overton, an engineer for the firm Milone & MacBroom, who addressed the numerous concerns raised by members of the public about stormwater drainage. Essentially, Overton asserted that the addition of the new subdivision, and the subsequent new homes and construction, will not contribute to the stormwater drainage issues.
The drainage in that area of town is part of the Willow Brook watershed that, according to Overton’s research, has little to no effect on the state of the Quinnipiac River.
“When we look at the stormwater management designs and subdivision designs, we first look at the town’s regulations and design them in accordance with the regulations,” he said. “This subdivision, as it’s defined, is a matter of right subdivision, following the zoning that’s established for the area. There is nothing special, and there are no special permits that we are asking for in this. All of the lots are frontage lots. It’s a little bit unusual because we don’t even have to build a new road to serve these lots. It’s really a simple, straightforward, matter of right subdivision.”
After Overton’s explanation, Anthony Fazzone, of law firm Fazzone, Ryan, & Ricciuti, expressed his frustration with the Commission, stating that the applicant he represents has been compliant at every stage of the process, even agreeing to add a crosswalk on Mountain Road to try to address the safety concerns Commissioners have raised.
“I don’t want to stand here and make you think I don’t recognize what your concerns are,” started Fazzone. “But this property owner wants to sell their property, and this applicant wants to develop the property, and they can’t be made responsible to fix that road.”
Commissioner Gil Linder, who was unable to attend the last public hearing but submitted a letter that was read into the record, wanted to clarify his position on Cornwall Avenue Extension.
“I believe that Cornwall Avenue Extension is the worst road in town, and I challenge anyone to find a road (that is) worse,” he began. “But ultimately, that issue doesn’t fall (within the purview of) the Planning and Zoning Commission. This is a town problem, and I hope that they are listening. We should write some sort of letter to the Town Manager ... explaining to them that the state of Cornwall Avenue Extension should be the utmost priority.”
Commissioner Robert Brucato agreed, but believes that the safety issues surrounding Cornwall Avenue Extension should be under the jurisdiction of the Planning and Zoning Commission, citing his concern about traffic on the Extension, especially while students cross Mountain Road during peak hours.
Resident Tracy Jewett, who has voiced opposition to the entire subdivision in the past, took to the podium to again reiterate that, “this subdivision doesn’t happen in a bubble. This will have lasting effects on the environment and the discussion on the environmental impact has been very little.”
After the public hearing was closed, Chairman Earl Kurtz announced that the Commission would likely vote on the proposal at the next PZC meeting, scheduled for Monday, March 9.