Environmental issues delay development

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Environmental work remains to be done before development of Parcel C in Naugatuck can begin. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Environmental work remains to be done before development of Parcel C in Naugatuck can begin. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — There remains some work to be done before a shovel can break ground on Parcel C.

“We have fallen behind because of environmental problems,” Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese said. “It’s definitely not for lack of interest. We will still get it done.”

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved an agreement in July 2014 that grants developers Robert Oris and John Lombard exclusive rights to develop Parcel C, the 2.2 acre borough-owned land on the corner of Water Street and Maple Street. The plan calls for building a medical center and a sit-down restaurant on the property.

In December, Oris and Lombard announced that Saint Mary’s Hospital will be the main tenant of the proposed medical office building. At the time, Oris said he expected construction to begin in the spring.

However, spring turned to summer and summer has dragged on without any construction taking place.

Oris said environmental work still needs to be done on the land.

“We’re just waiting on additional work from the town,” Oris said. “There are certain areas where there was contamination.”

Contaminants at Parcel C included lead, petroleum and organic compounds left over from a Uniroyal factory that once occupied the site. In 2010, the borough removed some contaminated soil from the site.

While the remediation was successful, Mayor Robert Mezzo said, it doesn’t mean the site is as pristine as if a factory hadn’t operated there for many years.

“It doesn’t mean there aren’t other responsibilities that parties have relative to other restrictions or monitoring moving forward,” Mezzo said.

Development plans for Parcel C have changed since 2010. Officials are working to determine where contaminants remain and what can be built where on the site currently.

Oris said he and Lombard will receive a plan that shows the contaminated areas once the borough completes the work.

“It will delineate areas where you can build,” Oris said. “It is taking a little longer than we thought, but we are still working together with the town in a positive way.”

Oris and Lombard put down a $15,000 deposit on the property last week even though a contract hasn’t been signed yet. Oris added the site plan for the project is nearly completed.

“The site plan is close, but not fully done yet,” Oris said. “We are finalizing with land use restriction issues.”