Beacon Falls sets sights on resolving blight issues

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A cease-and-desist order is posted in front of Chatfield Farms, a private senior community on Skokorat Road in Beacon Falls. The order was issued for blight violations. Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith said the owners are taking care of the problems. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — The town has set its sights on cleaning up a few local eyesores.

First Selectman Gerard Smith explained that there are five properties that are in or are headed into the court system for blight issues.

Out of those five properties, three have garnered the most attention — a residential property of Quail Hollow Road, an auto body shop on Lopus Road, and Chatfield Farms, a private senior community on Skokorat Road.

“The hottest one with telephone calls is Quail Hollow,” Smith said.

Smith said the property is in violation of Beacon Falls’ blight ordinance by having an overgrown yard and items sitting in the yard.

“It’s been on blight issue for quite some time,” Smith said.

The town had sent notices, cease-and-desist orders, and gave the resident ample time to clean up the property, Smith explained. After exhausting those options, the town took legal action.

“The town’s next step is to let the legal process run its course,” Smith said. “It always stays in the courts throughout the clean-up and they work hand-in-hand with town as we rectify the situation.”

During the Board of Selectmen’s Sept. 10 meeting, Smith explained the owner of the Quail Hollow Road property was given a 30-day extension by the courts to clean up the property.

The property on Lopus Road was an auto body shop, and the owners of the property are seeking to reopen the building as an auto body shop again. During the meeting, the board received an update about that property.

“This is new because it says they will seek the proper corporate zoning approvals before commencing any activity on their property. I thought they had abandoned it,” Smith said.

The board is expected to receive a further update on the Lopus Road property during Monday’s meeting.

The third property, Chatfield Farms, has more than just blight ordinance violations to worry about from the town.

Smith said the town was considering calling the bond on the development for erosion that is occurring down stream.

“Our problem is there’s been no work up there at all and all the detention ponds, all the retention holds, the galleys, the channels have all been overgrown and not maintained. So they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do,” Smith said.

Smith explained that the ponds are getting higher than they are supposed to, which causes the water to carry silt into an open pipe on the property. The pipe dumps the water into an adjoining neighbor’s pond and is filling it up with silt.

In an interview after the meeting, Smith said town officials spoke with the owners of Chatfield Farms and that there had been a misunderstanding. The owners will clean up the property and fix the retention ponds and blight issues.

He said the town will not move forward with pulling the bond.