Neighbors divided over medical office plan
Updated 7:21 pm, Thursday, November 3, 2011
Plans to build a medical office complex on upper Black Rock Turnpike sparked dissension among neighbors Tuesday as the Town Plan and Zoning Commission continued its review of the project.
Some Burr Street residents voiced support for the two-building proposal, while others were opposed. The same divided views were heard from people living in the Greenfield Hunt development, which abuts the 18-acre property at 4185 Black Rock Turnpike, across from the Hi-Ho Motel.
The site was once the home of the Plant Factory nursery. It is owned by New Way LLC, made up of Paul and Ted Dudic, Paul Richter, Pepsa Ventures (a Richter family trust), Allen Kosowsky and Richard McCauley.
The TPZ made no decision Tuesday night on the application, which also seeks a zone change for 2.2 acres of the property to a Neighborhood Designed Business District, and a change to the zoning regulations. The rest of the property would remain deed-restricted AAA residential.
There was even opposition to the plan from a resident of the town's Southport neighborhood, who said that "what happens up there on upper Black Rock Turnpike will not stay up there on upper Black Rock Turnpike."
In other words, any changes to the NDBD regulations for the property in question could be applied to other neighborhood districts like Greenfield Hill and Southport.
"This, quite frankly, is my neighbor," Greenfield Hunt resident Bruce McDonald said. "I wish to speak strongly in favor. The current business is closed and it will be developed."
And the complex being proposed, he said, is modest.
Jane Talamini, who lives on Oldfield Road, said the TPZ needs to keep in mind that the 35,000-square-foot complex is directly next to the Merritt Parkway at the Exit 44 junction.
"It's not the Merritt Turnpike ... it's not the Merritt Truckway, it's the Merritt Parkway. A park is fields, grass, streams ... way, of course, is a passage. A parkway is a passage through a park."
She argued that the commission should not repeat what she called the "architectural carbuncle" that is the Hi-Ho Motel.
"This is not a place for this sort of building, not a place for this sort of intrusion into the landscape," she said.
But Greenfield Hunt resident Craig Simpson said it hard for him to imagine a better proposal for the property, "where something is certainly going to happen." His neighbor, Jean Connors, said after attending a community meeting last week that she changed her mind and now supports the proposal.
There also have been dueling petitions submitted from those in favor of the plan from the Hoydens Hill area and Greenfield Hunt residents opposed.
Green contended the application is flawed, in part because notices of the hearing only went to properties within 200 feet, not 500 feet as regulations require. Fallon said those living within 200 feet encompass all the neighbors that would fall within the 500-foot zone and added only those entitled to receive a notice to object.
According to Green, a medical office building at the site not only fails to conform to rules set by the zoning regulations for a NDBD, it also does not conform with the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.