Hearing on Prospect Street project continued

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

Attorney Michael McVerry speaks to the Inland Wetlands Commission on March 3 during a hearing at the Naugatuck Event Center. McVerry is representing two applicants seeking to access land on Prospect Street to build a commercial building. –ANDREAS YILMA

NAUGATUCK — The Inland Wetlands Commission on March 3 continued a hearing again on an application for a proposed commercial building on undeveloped land on Prospect Street.

The applicants, Magdi Bebawi and Onsi Tawadros of Waterbury, are proposing to build a 10,000-square-foot, one story building with a parking lot on a 13.95-acre parcel on Prospect Street between Maple Hill Road and Union City Road. The property’s address is listed as 0 Prospect St.

The Fulling Mill Brook runs along the site parallel to Prospect Street. The brook will have to be crossed to access the land. The plan calls for a precast T bridge to get over the brook.

Commission members received a review of the soil from the site from Southwest Soil Conservation District the day of the hearing. The hearing was continued to April 7 at 6:30 p.m. to give officials and the applicants more time to look over the information.

The commission is expected to rule on the application next month. The hearing can’t be extended any further, according to Town Planner Lori Rotella.

The project is facing opposition from neighbors and residents. A little over three dozen people virtually attended last week’s hearing. Some neighbors have expressed concerns about how potential blasting on the site could impact their water wells.

Commission Chairwoman Tracy DeBarber said neighboring lots are narrow and there’s not a lot of room to build new wells. She asked whether the applicants would be prepared to bring city water to the residents if their wells are impacted.

Brian Plourde, an engineer from GR Engineering of Thomaston, who is representing the applicants, said it was unclear last week what is in the soil and whether blasting will be needed on the site. The proposal calls for removing about 60,000 cubic yards of earth material.

“This could be an agreement from the developer that if drinking water wells are damaged or lost due to project work that they will fund the repair, replacement or extension of drinking water supplies, so that all property owners maintain existing levels of service and function,” Plourde said.

Residents continued to voice concerns about the potential impact the project could have on the environment and wildlife in the area. The Fulling Mill Brook feeds into the Naugatuck River.

Lisa Sweet, who lives on Kosko Lane near the site, said she set up two cameras at the edge of her property and caught coyotes, a possum, a raccoon and a bobcat on camera within four and a half hours one night.

“It definitely is a wildlife corridor,” Sweet said.

Tawadros said he simply wants to get onto his land, but he’s not allowed to access it. He pleaded the commission for permission to build a bridge to access his land.

“Imagine you have a house, you have a car, and you can’t enter it,” he said. “That’s my problem.”