Edmond Road Industrial Access Project Proposed
UPDATE: This article has been clarified to include information from the minutes of the meeting and a statement received February 18, 2020, from Mr Maguire.
An industrial developer is proposing the construction of a private driveway, including a culvert crossing of a stream, to provide access to an area eyed for future development off Edmond Road, near Exit 10 of Interstate 84.
5-K Enterprises, Inc of 3 Edmond Road has submitted to the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) a set of engineering drawings depicting the proposed roadway/culvert construction at that address, which is intended to provide a second vehicular access to the 23-acre site, where future construction of industrial facilities is planned.
More than a decade ago, 5-K gained IWC and Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approval to construct industrial buildings, which were then built at the western section of that property. The proposed new construction would provide access to the eastern section of the site. The rolling, wet site has M-5 (Industrial) zoning.
In application documents, 5-K states that currently wooded sections of the site would retain their trees until the future construction of industrial facilities occurs.
The plans call for altering a stream along an approximately 40-foot-long stream section. Overall, about 2,725 square feet, or 0.06 acres, would be altered for the driveway/culvert project. The project would require about 500 cubic yards of earthen fill to be placed in wetlands/watercourses. Overall, there would be 400 cubic yards of earthen cutting and 800 cubic yards of filling.
The Stuart Somers Company, LLC, of Southbury is the engineer on the project. William Kenney Associates of Fairfield is the wetlands consultant.
The wetlands consultant notes that the proposed driveway crossing would cause the loss of some wetlands, but some new wetlands would be manufactured at the site, resulting in a net increase in wetlands.
The proposed driveway would extend from the western side of Edmond Road in the area about 250 feet north of the rear driveway for the retail complex known as 75 Church Hill Road. The curving paved driveway would be approximately 325 feet long.
The applicant is seeking a wetlands/watercourses protection permit from the IWC that would specify the steps to be taken to prevent environmental damage at the site.
The development proposal is the second private development project that would take advantage of its site’s proximity to a recent $2.85-million state Department of Transportation (DOT) traffic improvement project, which was done in the Church Hill Road area lying west of I-84’s Exit 10 interchange.
That DOT project, which was completed last spring, shifted the southern section of Edmond Road to the west, thus making Edmond Road part of a conventional four-way signal intersection with Church Hill Road and Commerce Road. The realignment of Edmond Road was intended to improve travel safety in an area of town that has a high accident rate. That project also improved access for heavy trucks to industrial properties along Edmond Road.
The initial private project to take advantage of the improved roadway geometry in that area is a retail center known as 75 Church Hill Road, whose rear driveway intersects with the new southern section of Edmond Road.
At a February 11 session, IWC members decided that they would formally review the industrial application from 5-K Enterprises at their February 26 public meeting. IWC members decided that a public hearing would not be conducted on the application and that the matter would be handled as a typical wetlands protection application by the IWC.
Steve Maguire, town senior land use enforcement officer, told IWC members that the development proposal submitted by 5-K does not include plans for a new industrial building. “There’s no building component yet, at this point,” he said. The culvert, which would be located below the proposed driveway, would carry the flow of a stream that passes through a large wetland, he said.
According to minutes from the meeting, in summarizing the application Mr Maguire noted there are three scenarios in which a public hearing is necessary for an Inland Wetlands application: (1) a petition signed by 25 town residents, (2) public interest, and (3) potential for a significant impact on the wetlands. Minutes also indicate that Mr Maguire believes (1) and (2) do not seem to apply, but the third should be considered. He said the wetland in question is 15-20 acres and feeds down a slope to a channel along I-84, to Tom Brook.
IWC members agreed that before the February 26 meeting, they would take walks at the site. Such site visits provide regulators with a better sense of conditions at a site than is possible through map review alone.