WALLINGFORD — The owner of the former Bristol-Myers Squibb campus has agreed to reduce the planned redevelopment footprint in wetland and upland areas of the parcel, according to revised plans presented to the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission.
The revisions, presented by representatives of owner Calare Properties at a public hearing Wednesday, are an effort to address concerns from the commission and city staff.
“There’s a recognition that this is a valuable site to the owner, but also the Town of Wallingford,” said Dennis Ceneviva, an attorney for Calare. “So we’re trying to marry the concerns, and we think they’re consistent and similar, to make sure that the site is developed in a way that does not negatively impact” the wetlands and watershed area.
Ceniviva and Michelle Carlson, director of land development and project engineer at BL Companies, presented changes in the site plan, including a reduction of the requested wetlands filling area from 2,465 square feet to 457, a decrease of 82 percent.
The revised plan would also result in work in 63,000 square feet of upland area requiring IWWC review, a 30-percent drop from the original 90,620 square feet.
Additionally, the plan further reduces the number of parking spaces from the current 1,422. Calare was initially seeking 1,200 spots, but Wednesday’s revised proposal reduced that number further to 1,017.
The main changes are in the soil and erosion control plan.
If Calare properties is unable to find a tenant for the current buildings, the company wants to raze them and build two warehouses that would double the developed space on the property, close to the boundaries of the wetlands.
The Massachusetts-based real estate firm purchased the Bristol-Myers’ property in February for $5 million. Bristol-Myers has agreed to lease the building for the rest of the year, after which demolition would begin if Calare hasn’t secured a tenant.
Because the developers would need to level the hillside through a cut-and-fill process to build the warehouses on flat land, they may need to blast if they encounter rock.
“I have a lot of questions on the erosion control plan, and the advocacy of that plan, given the kinds of soils that are out there and the slope of the property,” said Erin O’Hare, town environmental planner. “This is the biggest development to ever hit Wallingford.”
Red soil, located in the area slated for potential blasting, would be a problem if it contaminates the groundwater.
The entire site sits in the watershed that provides the town’s drinking water.
“Our experiences in this particular area of town, feeding into the drinking water supply, it’s been an issue from before,” said James Vitali, commission chairman. “We don’t take it lightly… I don’t think we can ask enough questions.”
The commission took no action Wednesday and continued the public hearing to Oct. 3.