Commission continues hearing on Fawn Meadow extension

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Northeastern Development has asked the Planning Commission for a five-year extension on its contract to complete the Fawn Meadow development in the Indian Hills area of Naugatuck. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Northeastern Development will have to wait at least another month before it finds out whether the Planning Commission will grant a contract extension on the Fawn Meadow project.

Northeastern Development is seeking a five-year extension to complete the third phase of Fawn Meadow’s development. The original contract, which is set to expire this year, gave Northeastern Development 10 years to complete Fawn Meadow.

On Monday, the Planning Commission resumed a public hearing on the extension, which started in July.

In July, residents came forward to raise issues with the construction that has been taking place in the development. The main issue that was raised was water that residents of Longwood Drive have seen collect on their properties. Longwood Drive is part of the old Indian Hills development, not Fawn Meadow.

Longwood Drive is located at the bottom of a hill, below Fawn Meadow development. Residents complained that they have noticed sharp increase in the amount of water on their property since construction had begun.

“If they continue on that path I am going to end up with a flooded lawn the whole year that I can’t even walk on. That’s unacceptable,” Steve Poirier of 3 Longwood Drive told the commission last month.

Representatives of Northeastern Development addressed the water concerns at the start of Monday’s public hearing.

Attorney James Cummings, of The Cummings Law Firm, and Northeastern Development owner Bill Bette said the increase in water is not due to the construction of Fawn Meadow since the construction directly above Longwood Drive has not begun yet.

However, both Cummings and Bette said they will be taking steps to help alleviate the problem that the Longwood Drive residents are currently facing.

Bette said Northeastern Development will put in a curtain drain from Warm Earth Road to Longwood Drive, which would alleviate a majority of the problem. However, he added, it will not take care of it completely, since the water will run off from other places as well.

Northeastern Developments will also put in six catch basins in the area, all connected by a 15-inch perforated pipe as a way of preventing the water from spilling onto the residents’ property, Bette said.

“We’re going to bring the stone right to the surface, so all the surface water that will come down will go into that perforated pipe. Plus, that pipe, at different places is between three and seven feet deep, so that’s going to pick up a lot of sub-surface water,” Bette said.

Putting in the catch basins and pipe was not the only actions that Northeastern Development was taking to help alleviate the water issues. Bette said that he would run a pipe off of the main pipe to the homeowner’s property. That way the homeowners could tap into the drainage pipe and help drain their yards.

He explained this pipe would come right up to the homeowner’s property line, but not onto the property. The homeowner would be responsible for tapping into that pipe. That way, since they were not entering the property, Northeastern Development wouldn’t have to go through any legal recourse to put in the pipe.

When the commission questioned whether or not these catch basins and pipes would be adequate, especially since the other homes might be tying into them, Bette explained that this system would be able to handle a much larger area with more homes.

“We have had zero problems in 10 years up at Fawn Meadows,” Bette said.

At the hearing Monday Poirier reiterated his concerns about the amount of water that he has seen on his property in the recent years. He felt Northeastern Development was not taking their share of responsibility by saying the water is coming from other places.

“I take offense at you saying the movement of earth up the hill is not affecting my property,” Poirier said.

He was also upset that, according to the plans for the subdivision, the drainage system would discharge 30 feet from the corner of his property.

“That pond you’re talking about is 30 feet from the bottom section of my property. Water doesn’t always go downhill. If it backs up, it starts backing up onto my property,” Poirier said. “That whole drain, everything from the top of the hill, is going to come down and drain right next to my property.”

Town Planner Keith Rosenfeld told Poirier that the pipe was past his property line and, as long as his property was uphill, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, Rosenfeld said he would take a look at the property and the proposed site for the drain.

Poirier was also concerned with the piece of property that abutted his. He explained at the previous public hearing that, when he had bought his house, he was told by the town that it was part of a right-of-way and nobody owned it.

Rosenfeld told Poirier that, after looking into the property, it was not a right-of-way and was, in fact, owned by Northeastern Development.

“It was Fawn Meadow’s land always. It wasn’t a no-man’s-land,” Rosenfeld said.

He went on to explain that, there may have been a right-of-way a long time ago, but when Sunburst Road was built, it would have negated it.

Poirier told the commission that, when he bought his house, he was told by the town that the land next to him didn’t belong to anybody.

“The town was represented by people other than us who may or may not have told you the right information. I can’t represent what they said was either true or not true, but when this subdivision was originally reviewed by our office in 2002 there was no no-man’s-land,” Rosenfeld said.

The commission is planning to do a site walk Thursday at 6 p.m. along where the proposed curtain drain would be placed. The site walk will start along Warm Earth Road and walk down to the corner of Poirier’s property, where the final catch basin is proposed. The public hearing was continued until Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.