Owners of 9-15 Albany propose access road to 'support future site development'
Update: The Canton Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on this matter Oct. 20. See updated story here.
By John Fitts
CANTON – The owners of 9-15 Albany Turnpike have proposed construction of gravel access roadway to facilitate future development.
The Canton Planning and Zoning Commission, which earlier this year denied a controversial commercial development for a portion of the property, is slated to receive the application on Sept. 15 and could set a hearing for later this fall.
The new application is to export approximately 17,659 cubic yards – or 22,957 tons of material – from the site in order to construct a 540 liner feet gravel access roadway “to support future site development” on the 26-acre property.
In Canton that would involve a cut of 13,845 cubic yards and a fill of 929, with the balance of the activity taking place in Simsbury.
While the application estimates 300 working days for the project, it contends blasting would be limited in scope to approximately two to three blasts per month and approximately 90 days of construction dedicated to material export, with about 10 to 11 truck trips on those days. The new application asserts that removal of material would take 957 trucks. Construction activity is proposed for six days a week.
Earlier this year, the Canton Planning and Zoning Commission denied a development proposal for a 23,500 square-foot Electric Vehicle Showroom, 20-pump fueling station and related development at the property. While most of the property is in Simsbury, most of that development would have been in Canton.
That proposal came with a plan to remove as much as 118,450 cubic yards of the traprock ridge from roughly 3.4 acres of the site and the proposed blasting became a flashpoint in town and led to bitter arguments to the commission from developers and Canton Advocates for Responsible Expansion on whether activity was environmental insensitive, could further mobilize pollutants from 51 Albany Turnpike, a state superfund site and the former home of J. Swift Chemical, and struck an appropriate balance of economic development and community character referenced in the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.
Ultimately the commission felt the plan did not strike the proper balance noted in the Plan of Conservation and Development, one of the primary reasons for the denial.
While the earlier proposal was for commercial development, plans noted plans for a future access to the upper reaches of the site and developers, particularly in meetings to advisory town agencies, noted plans for future residential development on the property and very likely an adjacent, “landlocked” parcel.
On his real estate web site, Mark Greenberg, manager of the LLC that owns the property, also listed a hotel as a potential use for the land.
Neither Greenberg or Kevin Solli, of Solli Engineering, who filed the application narrative and was a key member of the development team for the last proposal, immediately returned calls seeking comment on the new application.
According to a memo from Neil Pade, Canton’s Director of Planning and Community Development the application would require a special permit since earthwork and grading would be more than 2,000 cubic yards.
That memo also asserts that the application is incomplete and not in compliance with several areas of the regulations. Pade stated, for example, that the application references incorrect zoning for the property and proposes an accessory use without a primary use, creating several issues for the commission. For the later, Pade noted that he has sought an opinion from the commission’s attorney on those issues.
The commission could take several actions at the September meeting, including setting a hearing for October or November and potentially referring the application to the Conservation Commission for an advisory opinion prior to holding a hearing, scheduling a site walk or requiring a technical review fee to assist the town in evaluating portions of the application.