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EDC Recommending Sale Of ‘Tech Park’ Parcel



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Following a closed executive session and special meeting May 5, the Newtown Economic Development Commission is recommending the sale of a town-owned parcel off Commerce Road in an area formerly labeled the “tech park.”

While virtually no pertinent details were released before or following the session, the EDC adjourned from its closed meeting approximately an hour later to hold its vote in public.

The developer named in the motion was an entity called “Nature Valley,” but no other details were discussed in the open meeting regarding what that developer’s intentions are, or the kind of business or enterprise that might be eventually developed on the 14-acre parcel.

EDC Commissioner Jeffrey Robinson was the sole dissenting vote on the motion. The EDC will now refer the matter to the Board of Selectmen.

The Newtown Bee was notified that due to the nature of this ongoing matter, the Board of Selectmen will likely deliberate this referral in executive session as well, and will only be required to take their vote on any motion to proceed outside the closed meeting venue.

In the late 1990s, the town acquired land on the west side of Commerce Road from which a spur road would be extended for access to the technology park site. Since then, a section of adjacent state land was granted to be used for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

Plans to construct an access road between Commerce Road and the nonprofit sanctuary were recently approved, and preconstruction and preparation to that end have commenced in recent months.

The EDC has proposed numerous iterations through the years for how to best develop the 41.8-acre site, only to be detoured or delayed repeatedly by state and local regulations and public opinion. In September 2010, the Inland Wetlands Commission rejected one of the most recent EDC proposals, saying it lacked key information the commission would need to satisfy concerns about the development’s impact on water quality.

The tech park is adjacent to and uphill from the pristine trout breeding grounds of Deep Brook, and abuts a local aquifer.

Stay tuned for further reporting on this story as it develops.

Associate Editor John Voket can be reached at john@thebee.com.

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