Members of Ansonia’s Planning and Zoning Commission Monday unanimously approved a developer’s revised plans to construct a 60,000-square foot building in the Fountain Lake Commerce Park.
The man overseeing the development, Robert A. Scinto, said he hopes construction will be finished by next fall.
The R.D. Scinto Company owns the property.
Documents submitted during the city’s review process state Farrel Pomini company, currently based on Main Street in downtown Ansonia, will be the building’s tenant. The company also posted plans on its website.
However, officials connected to the project have been hesitant to make a formal announcement, saying the deal is still being negotiated.
The Fountain Lake development is off Birmingham Boulevard, not far from Tri-Town Plaza on the Seymour border.
Two neighbors who spoke at an Ansonia Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday (Nov. 24) weren’t exactly thrilled at the plans — and suggested that a court battle over the development could be looming now that the commissioners said yes.
Millie Rios and John Barrett both own properties on Great Hill Road near Fountain Lake.
Crews will need to blast and haul away nearly 100,000 cubic yards of rock and earth from the nearly 45-acre property to make room for the development.
The blasting didn’t sit well with the neighbors.
Rios said previous rock blasting done at the site over the years has damaged her home.
Barrett agreed. The unexpected blasts are difficult for his 13-year-old son, who has auditory process disorder, he said.
He also blamed a crack in his basement wall on the blasting at Fountain Lake.
“I don’t think that I should have to have lunch or dinner and have plates move on the table,” he told the commissioners.
Both Rios and Barrett said Scinto has in the past been responsive to their concerns, but they said they still had problems with the development.
“He’s a nice gentleman, very respectful, but he doesn’t live on Great Hill Road,” Barrett said.
Bart Flaherty, the planning commission’s chairman, told Rios and Barrett that his commission has no authority over blasting in the city.
“We have absolutely no control over blasting,” he said, advising them to consult Ralph Tingley, the city’s fire marshal, who does.
Barrett said he’ll have to hire a lawyer to pursue his concerns.
“Everyone says that they have no control over it,” he said.
Tingley said Tuesday (Nov. 26) that while he understands the neighbors’ concerns, “all the blasts up to this point in time have been well within the state standards and guidelines.”
Prior to the newest round of blasting, Scinto’s company will perform a “pre-blast survey” documenting the condition of neighboring properties, as required by state law.
He also promised to move a horn warning neighbors blasting is about to occur closer to their homes, and said the blasting contractor will call neighbors to notify them when blasting will occur.
The developer also has to get permits from the state before moving forward.
The Fountain Lake development was originally approved by the city in 2007, but work at the site stopped after the global economic crash of 2008.
Years went by without developments, but last month Scinto brought the commission plans to build a 60,000-square-foot facility at the site that would include space for offices, research and development, manufacturing, and storage.
The building would have 154 parking spots.
Though the plans Scinto presented to the PZC last month identified the tenant of the building as the Farrel Pomini company, currently based on Main Street, Scinto said a formal deal with the company had not yet been signed.
The building would sit on about 11 acres of the development.
Scinto’s plans also call for his company to set aside nearly 6 acres of the property off Birmingham Boulevard as a conservation easement to the city.
Article continues after a schematic of the planned development submitted to the PZC last month.
The neighbors’ concerns were heard Monday during a public hearing.
After the public hearing, the commission approved the project unanimously.
Blasting can only occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The commission voted to allow trucks to haul rock and earth away from the site from 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday.
They also ordered Scinto to use special reflective glass on the building because the property is in a “fly-away” zone for migrating birds.
Flaherty said officials from the Ansonia Nature Center have in the past raised concerns about development at the site because of that fact.
“It’s an exciting project,” Flaherty said of Scinto’s plans. “I think it’s going to be very good for the City of Ansonia.”
After the meeting, Scinto said he hoped to complete construction on the building by next November.
Rios said she’s “still skeptical,” and, like Barrett, said she’d probably be consulting a lawyer.
“You can’t stop development,” she said in resignation while walking from City Hall.