A public hearing has been scheduled for June 14 for the Planning and Zoning Commission to receive public input on a proposal for a 40-unit age-restricted subdivision on Wallingford Road.
The plan would demolish an existing home at 648 Wallingford Rd. and construct 40 standalone homes for those 55 and older on about 10 acres.
Each home would be ranch-style with two bedrooms, developer Mark Lovley estimated. He expects the houses will be listed around $400,000 to $450,000 and will be surrounded by 14.1 acres of open space. Construction on the development would take about two years.
He said the project will be similar to the Kings Ridge and Muirfield Estates age-restricted communities he recently completed in Southington, each of which had 50 homes.
Homes in each of those developments sold out within three months and Lovley said he’s already heard from 10 individuals interested in purchasing in the new development, which he intends to name Whispering Oaks.
Since there will be a homeowners’ association to manage much of the land, Lovley said the community will appeal to those looking to downsize with less outdoor property to care for.
A petition has been started by residents around the proposed development. It calls for more clarity on the project’s impact and for a neutral third party to be involved in examining the wetlands around the site.
“We don't think it's being granted the proper weight of investigation in terms of how will this impact the environment,” said Kerry Jichowski, a Wallingford Road resident who started the petition.
Despite living just a few houses down, she learned about the project from a neighbor whose property abuts the site. Due to the pandemic, the public hearings held by the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission were conducted virtually, which Jichowski said limited participation.
She’s also concerned that IWWC’s approval of the project on May 18 could have been biased due to the commission’s chairperson, Earl Kurtz Jr., being the owner of 648 Wallingford Road.
His son, Earl Kurtz III, who is the chairperson of the Planning and Zoning Commission, noted that his father recused himself from discussion of the proposal and the vote that approved the wetlands permit.
He said that both he and his father are taking the appropriate steps by recusing themselves during deliberations to avoid potential conflicts of interest as the project goes through the municipal approval process.
If the proposal is approved, Kurtz would sell the property to Lovley, who would demolish the home on the site to construct the road and homes.
Jichowski’s father, Anthony Marsh, said he’s worried that the homes could cause runoff into the wetlands, which flow into a stream that feeds into a nearby reservoir.
According to the wetlands permit application, impervious surfaces like asphalt and concrete would increase from 0.6 acres, or 2.5 percent of the site, to cover 3.5 acres, or 14.5 percent of the property.
“There's bound to be mineral deposits and whatever leached from the tarmac or the blacktop. And it's a nonpermeable surface so there’s going to be runoff in a significant amount,” Marsh said.