Two Sessions Slated On SHS Project

Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members are scheduled to conduct a public hearing on the zoning aspects of the proposed new Sandy Hook Elementary School at 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 31, at Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.

The new school would replace the former Sandy Hook School at 12 Dickinson Drive, which the town demolished last year, following the December 2012 massacre there.

The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) had been poised to review and possibly act on the wetlands protection aspects of the school project at a July 23 session. The IWC had held a hearing on the application on July 9.

The IWC, however, did not achieve a quorum on July 23, so it has scheduled a special meeting on the application for review and possible action for 7:30 pm on Monday, July 28, at Newtown Municipal Center.

The July 9 IWC hearing was sparsely attended, drawing four members of the public. None of those four people had any comments or questions on the construction proposal.

The town’s Aquifer Protection Agency (APA) on July 9 reviewed the environmental effects of the project on the underlying Pootatuck Aquifer. The aquifer is a major underground water source, providing potable water for two public water supplies and many individual domestic water wells.

The members of the aquifer protection panel endorsed the application, issuing a “finding of no significant impact.”

Overall, 13.5 acres of terrain would be modified at the Dickinson Drive site.

Earthmoving at the site would involve 32,000 cubic yards of cutting and 24,000 cubic yards of filling.

The proposed 87,160-square-foot school would have facilities for children from prekindergarten to grade 4 within 23 classrooms and other facilities. There would be parking for 150 vehicles.

Svigals + Partners, a New Haven architectural firm, is the lead firm in presenting the application for town land use agency review.

The school construction project may start sometime this fall. The development application states that construction is expected to be completed 20 months after the work begins.

Last October, town voters approved spending more than $49 million in the form of a state grant designated for the demolition of the former school and the design and construction of the new school.

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