Plans to build a three-story apartment building on lower Bronson Road are set to be unveiled Thursday night at an inland wetlands hearing, but neighborhood opposition to the proposal is already brewing.
Garden Homes Management, of Stamford, has submitted an application to build the apartments on 2.7 acres just off Interstate 95. The hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Sullivan-Independence Hall.
Garden Homes is currently building a 54-unit apartment complex -- with rents described as affordable -- on 1.5 acres on Fairchild Avenue.
John Fallon, the lawyer for the applicant, said this project would also provide affordable apartments, but had no further comment Tuesday. "We are looking forward to going through the process, beginning with wetlands," he said.
It was not immediately clear how many units would be housed in the structure. Parking would be underneath the three residential levels, according to the application.
"It's going to be a monstrosity on the lower end of Bronson Road," said Krista Grant, who owns a duplex adjacent to the property, which shares a town right-of-way for access.
Grant said that, according to a letter she received last November from the developer, the project will take away access to parking for her home.
"My family has owned this property for over 100 years," Grant said. "I just feel they're coming, tell us, `Too bad.' "
The property proposed for development is actually two separate lots -- 92 Bronson Road, which sits closer to road, and 140 Bronson Road, which sits at the end of a long, winding road. Both properties are under contract to Garden Homes, pending approval of the project.
"It's on Mill River and on the north side is a stream that runs into Mill River," Grant said. "There's one way in and out, and that's the town right-of-way. We're shocked that someone would come in and do this."
She said a barn that sits on 140 Bronson Road is very old, with hand carvings. "It's a two-story horse barn, with a hay loft and a chicken coop," Grant said. "Old, wonderful examples of our history that they are going to knock down, take away and pave over, right on the Mill River."
According to the inland wetlands application, all existing buildings would be removed from the property, which is located between Bronson Road and the Mill River, with I-95 to the north, and railroad tracks to the south.
A report from Conservation Department staff recommends that Thursday's public hearing be continued in order to allow soil testing on the property.
The report states the developer hasn't addressed the properties' historic use for farming, and "that such farming is expected to show instances of exceedances due to the use of chemicals, pesticides and contaminants present in the soil."
According to the report, an aerial photo from 1931 shows the property in use as a farm, and cites literature from Cornell University that it was common for farms to use chemical pesticides as far back as the mid-1800s.
In addition, the report states that debris such as fencing, tires, metal and toilets have been thrown into the river over the years and should be removed prior to any development.
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