SOUTHINGTON — Neighbors of a proposed 40-unit age-restricted rental complex attended Tuesday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to oppose the development on Hunters Lane.
Wonx Spring Road Partners LLC faced legal opposition from neighbors in 2014 when it tried to build an industrial park on the former site of Allied Controls, a company that moved to Waterbury three decades ago. Developers agreed to abandon the industrial plan, rezone the land, and limit it to residential uses.
Some area residents recently bought homes at a nearby subdivision built by the partnership and said they were never told of the possibility of rentals nearby.
The commission took no action Tuesday evening by press time.
Local attorney Bryan Meccariello and engineer Steven Guidice, of Harry E. Cole & Son, represented the partnership, along with other traffic and environmental experts.
All but five acres of the 24-acre property is contaminated by factory use and can’t be used for enclosed buildings. Guidice said the five apartment buildings would be built on the five unrestricted use acres, and only carports and a driveway would be built on contaminated land.
Town Planner Rob Philips said he didn’t see a danger to residents from the volatile organic compounds in the soil if there weren’t any buildings. After a question from commission members, he said he doubted there would be any danger from construction on the land.
“The health risk is breathing in those VOCs (volatile organic compounds),” Philips said. “If you’re not concentrating that, they’re just evaporating into the atmosphere.”
David James, president of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, opposed the development and voiced concerns about toxins spreading from the restricted area.
Residents told the commission they were worried about increased traffic and the danger to young children and a property value decline due to nearby rentals.
Guidice told the commission that the rental units conformed to the character of the neighborhood, which was greeted by laughter from the audience. “We think there’ll be an improvement actually,” he said.
Other residents who bought homes recently said they were never told about the contaminated property or plans for development by real estate agents or partnership officials.
Jeffrey Martin bought his Hunters Lane home in mid-October.
“Never at any point of planning or purchasing were I or my family made aware that this development was underway,” he said.
The legal agreement included an 18-month deadline for neighbors to find an entity that would take the former industrial land. Meccariello said even more time was allowed for the search but no group was willing to take the land.