Fire school delays development

BEACON FALLS — A new, 5,027-square-foot medical office building has been approved for inside Pinesbridge Commerce Park, but town officials say it’s now on hold because the owners have concerns about it being near a future valley fire training school.

Dr. Sudipta and Bindu Dey’s proposal to build a medical office facility inside the park off Pinesbridge Road was approved Sept. 16 by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The two doctors currently lease space at 45 Pinesbridge Road.

According to their floor plan, the facility would include office space, exam rooms, storage space and other rooms associated with a doctor’s office. It would have 45 parking spaces and be accessed from Lancaster and Haviland drives.

The plan also shows area for a future addition of 3,100 square feet.

First Selectman Susan Ann Cable said Friday, however, that the plan is on hold.

She said the Deys still want to build a medical office building in town, but are looking at different locations at this time. Cable said the Deys have concerns with their facility being located next to a fire training school as they will be treating patients with respiratory and cardiac problems, and may extend their hours to evenings or on weekends.

In July, the State Bond Commission authorized bonding $950,000 to buy property that could one day be home to the Naugatuck Valley Regional Fire Training School. The money would be used to buy nearly 11 acres, which is owned by Pinesbridge Industrial LLC.

The transaction between the state and the owner was completed Friday, said James Cormier, vice president of Pond Spring Village Association. The company is owned by the family of Monroe developer Chris Bargas Sr., who is the developer of Pond Spring Village, a nearby age-restricted development. Lots 1-3 and 5 were sold to the state for $862,500, he said.

Cable said she has been told the project could be built in a year, or in 10 years.

If the Deys opt for a new site, a new plan would have to be submitted to land-use boards for approval, she said.

For now, Cable is working with the Deys’ land surveyor, Michael Horbal of Seymour, and architect, Reza Manzouri of Cromwell, to look for alternative sites. She wouldn’t provide any more details as negotiations continue.

Cable said the town also is appealing to state and valley fire training school officials to consider another site for the school and or to alleviate people’s concerns.

She hopes to set up an informational meeting soon with them, she said.

Charles M. Stankye Jr., treasurer of the Valley Fire Chief’s plan and training school, said the most important information for the public to know is that any burning done on site would occur during evenings or on weekends.

The only item they would burn is wood, which produces white smoke. It’s also burned in a period of 15 minutes, not hours at a time, he said.

There is no more black thick smoke from oil burning, Stankye said. The schools haven’t done it in at least 10 years, and the state Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t allow it.

“I think it’s a matter of misinformation or misunderstanding as to what fire schools are today compared to what they were 10 years ago,” he said.

Stankye said the next step would be to hire an architect and to secure funding for construction. He said there is no projected timeline for the school. He said he has been working on this project for eight years.

The property for the school is located south of the Deys’ property.

Stankye said the plan would be to put the burn building at the south side of the property, which would be away from the medical facility. The part of the school that would be close to the medical facility would be a parking lot and probably a classroom, he said.

The Deys have been in town for at least 10 years, and Cable said she wants to keep them here.

Anthony San Angelo, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Commission, said he hasn’t seen the plan yet, but is thrilled that the Deys would build a new medical office building in Beacon Falls.

“He and his wife have been an asset to the community,” San Angelo said.

Under the approved plan, the medical office building would be at 36 Lancaster Drive, or on Lot 11. In October 2008, the Deys bought the land for $230,000 from Pinesbridge Industrial. It has 2.3 acres and is currently vacant.

Based on a building of similar square footage, the facility could bring between $5,000 and $7,000 in taxes, depending on what is inside it, according to the tax assessor’s office.

The Deys could not be reached for comment.