Beacon Falls business eyes town land to connect properties

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

BEACON FALLS — A local business owner wants to buy town-owned land to connect his existing and future businesses.

Lee Nemeth, who owns Kolga LLC at 65 Lancaster Drive, plans to build an indoor gun shooting range on land he owns at 57 Lancaster Drive, which is next to his existing business. The Planning and Zoning Commission in September approved an amendment to the zoning regulations to allow indoor gun shooting ranges in industrial park districts.

Nemeth has been in business locally for over 10 years, manufacturing radiation shielding and containment equipment. He wants to buy about 28 acres of town-owned land to connect his two properties on Lancaster Drive with a road and build a parking lot.

Nemeth and town officials say the land is not prime property due to a rough landscape.

There is a sheer cliff on the land, Nemeth said.

“It’s going to be a major hurdle to go over,” Nemeth said. “By connecting the two, we could expand parking.”

First Selectman Gerard Smith said the land, which was given to the town as open space, has never been used before.

Nemeth and town officials have had preliminary discussions about the land, but there have been no formal negotiations as officials wait for a proposal.

Nemeth said the process is still in the preliminary stages. He said he hired an independent appraiser to assess the value of the land and a land surveyor to examine the site. He expects to hear back from the appraiser later this month.

Nemeth said he wants to develop as much of the land as possible, probably 5 to 7 acres.

“Roughly 7 acres would be put into the tax revenue base,” Nemeth said. “The remains would be a forest until we figure out how to develop it, if we could.”

“I’m willing to spend the money to turn the land into something valuable,” Nemeth added.

Dan Nemeth, Lee Nemeth’s son, who works with his father, said they are trying to make the land usable.

“It’s just sitting duck land,” Dan Nemeth said.

Developing the land would generate some revenue for the town, Smith said.

“I don’t see it being a huge windfall for the town,” Smith said. “I don’t think it would hurt the town.”