The public hearing over a contentious cluster subdivision continued on July 25, with many of the same neighbors — and some new ones — coming out to express their views on the proposed development.
The Planning and Zoning Commission continued the public hearing on the 20-lot subdivision being proposed for 648 Wallingford Rd. and 14 Talmadge Rd. The property is owned by Earl and Lauren Kurtz, and would be developed by Mark Lovley of Lovley Development Inc.
The proposed project has prompted several residents from the surrounding area to come out and speak against the subdivision, arguing that the new homes — which would range from 2,700 to 3,400 square feet, and cost between $700,000 and $925,000 — would not fit the surrounding area and would strain the town’s wastewater system, among other issues.
William Kane of real estate appraisal company Wellspeak Dugas & Kane said the pricing for the proposed homes is “well established” in Cheshire, given real estate sales in 2021.
“We don’t see any reason why there would be any adverse impact on any of the property values surrounding the property,” Kane said.
Some residents, such as Matthew Wage, 669 Wallingford Rd., argued that Kane’s study didn’t take into account that houses were selling over market value due to the pandemic, and the fact that houses will be closer together than in other subdivisions in town with similar-sized homes.
“You’ve got to consider that these houses are close together and they’re literally on the backyard of the neighbor,” Wage said, arguing that other subdivisions are not visible from main roads. “… Here, you’re going to see it. It’s going to be condensed and it’s 100 feet off the road. It’s going to be hidden by a 4-foot berm with some bushes on it.”
Representing Lovley is Attorney Anthony Fazzone, of the Law Offices of Fazzone, Ryan & Ricciuti LLC. Fazzone told the Commission that Lovley was withdrawing the waiver request to have sidewalks on only one side of the proposed cul-de-sac off of Wallingford Road and instead will put in sidewalks on both sides of the new road if the application is approved.
A waiver was also being requested for regrading work, which Fazzone said is needed in order to connect the cul-de-sac to Wallingford Road.
“There’s not going to be a lot of material hauled out, there’s not going to be a lot of material brought in, so we need that waiver just to allow the equipment to go in there and do the grading,” Fazzone said.
Commissioners also inquired if Lovley could submit a conventional subdivision application to the town, and how many homes could fit on the cul-de-sac. According to Andrew Quirk, professional engineer with Kratzert, Jones & Associates Inc., a total of 16 lots — three on Talmadge Road and 13 off of Wallingford Road — would fit per Town zoning regulations.
“It does not preserve the existing house,” Quirk added. “This has six acres of open space versus the cluster application … that has 9.4 acres.”
Gary Mower, 362 Sir Walter Dr., revisited the prices of the proposed homes. He said his son was looking to live in Cheshire, but is unable to afford the cost of the homes on the market, suggesting that homes with a lower price tag be constructed.
“It’s gotten so expensive … for younger people who are newly married or want to start a family,” Mower said. “They just can’t afford it and here we are building basically McMansions again.”
Commissioner Matt Bowman supported Mower’s proposal, saying that “maybe (the homes) should be moderate income housing.”
“You know, maybe this is the perfect place for that,” Bowman said. “Maybe 40 or 50 houses in here would be perfect. You’re right — we need more affordable housing in Cheshire.”
David Schrumm, 369 Sir Walter Dr., reiterated the point that the new development would burden the existing stormwater management system. He also suggested that the applicant put sidewalks in front of the four homes with frontage on Talmadge Road, which would provide a contiguous walkway from Copper Beech Drive.
“It would be crazy to leave that area open without sidewalks,” Schrumm said.
Fazzone commented that if the Commission required the applicant to put in a sidewalk, “then it will have to be built.”
The idea of a new sidewalk appealed to resident Mark Hall, 140 Talmadge Road. He said a new stretch of sidewalk would provide for safer walking, and would benefit the town.
“If it eases our ability to enjoy the community, being able to walk down to Tamarack … with our dog without worrying about getting hit by a car, that’s improving this town,” Hall said.
The public hearing was held open and will continue during the Commission’s September meeting.