By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — The Inland Wetlands Commission on May 5 narrowly approved an application for a controversial project on Prospect Street that has faced staunch opposition from residents.
After more than three hours of deliberation, the commission voted, 3-2, to approve a special permit application, with many conditions and recommendations, for a proposed project at 0 Prospect St.
“We really did try to do our due diligence in accordance with the right regulations that we have, the information that was presented to us, the plans and all the feedback we have. We really did take public’s feedback into consideration, although there’s sometimes where our hands are tied where we really can’t do what they want us to do,” said commission Chairwoman Tracy DeBarber, who voted in favor of the application.
Vice Chairwoman Marcia Puc and member Rui Costa Jr. also voted in favor of the application. Members Wendyann Fowler and Brian Moore voted against it.
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 parallel to Prospect Street along the site. The brook will have to be crossed to access the land. The plan calls for a bridge culvert to cross the brook.
Many neighbors and residents oppose the project and have raised concerns that the project would negatively impact the environment, particularly the brook which feeds into the Naugatuck River, and wildlife. Some neighbors have also expressed concerns that potential blasting on the site could affect their water wells.
More than 40 members of the public virtually attended the meeting last week. Several people on the Zoom call were shown holding signs urging the commission to “Vote No.”
The proposed development still needs a special permit approved by the Zoning Commission. Any application would also go to the Planning Commission for review.
The Inland Wetlands Commission approved the application with 34 conditions and three recommendations for the Zoning Commission.
The approval allows for a temporary bridge to access the land for soil testing to be done. Reports on the soil will have to be submitted to the commission and Borough Engineer Wayne Zirolli. Testing has to be done before an excavation permit is granted.
“Whether we personally like or dislike the plan has no bearing on it. We have to go by what the regulations are,” DeBarber said. “They substantially met that. They proved that, and by doing the soil testing, if something comes back adverse to what they had then we could address it.”
The conditions also include hiring an independent erosion control specialist to monitor the construction during all phases, the developer has to put up an erosion and sediment control bond to be set, and wetlands or watercourses have to be cleaned out regularly of any debris.
The commission recommended to the Zoning Commission that a pre-blast survey be done before any blasting, and a bond be set to protect wells impacted by development.
Puc said the commission did the best it could with the information it had to protect the wetlands, watercourses and property owners.
“We think the conditions we’ve put in place would do that if this project comes to fruition,” she said.
Attorney Michael McVerry, who represents the applicants, and Tawadros declined to answer questions after the meeting, saying they wanted to go through the resolution with all the conditions.
“They put a lot of obligations on us,” McVerry said.
The following is a list of conditions the commission put on the application approval:
Site Specific Conditions
- Seasonal restriction of earthwork construction in wetlands areas and Fulling Mill Brook shall be limited to June 15 – September 15, to the extent possible.
- To the extent possible, all drainage improvements shall be constructed and functional, prior to construction of the main part of the site including the building structure.
- Hire a qualified, independent site monitor / erosion control specialist to monitor construction activities during all phases, including bridge installation, erosion control installation, land clearing, excavation, building and parking construction, etc. Reports shall be provided to the Borough of Naugatuck Land Use & Engineering Departments on a schedule to be determined by the Borough Engineer. The site monitor shall also conduct erosion, sediment runoff and turbidity monitoring. The Land Use and Engineering staff on a regular basis shall also conduct site inspections. The site monitor shall submit monthly reports to the Land Use Department for the duration of the construction of the project, until the site is sufficiently stabilized to the satisfaction of the Land Use and Engineering staff.
- A cleaning and maintenance schedule for the hydrodynamic separator and the detention basin as depicted on the submitted plans shall be established and reported by the site monitor as part of their reporting requirements.
- Prior to excavation permits granted and/or prior to construction begins, subsurface investigations including test pits, soil borings or groundwater wells shall be conducted to determine pre-construction conditions of site. Percolation test(s) shall be provided for soils at the proposed rain garden location and bio-retention trench location, prior to installation.
- An Erosion and Sediment Control bond shall be set for the project, as calculated by the design engineer and as recommended and approved by the Borough Engineer.
- All cleared trees, brush and grubbing must be removed from the site. No burial of trees, brush, grubbing, wood or construction materials is permitted on-site.
- No construction chemicals, refuse or concrete tailings are permitted to be buried or left on-site.
- Concrete trucks are not permitted to wash out on-site, unless a tarp-lined washout basin is provided on-site specifically for that purpose. The washout basin shall be cleaned and concrete tailings removed as necessary and the basin shall be removed from the site as soon as all concrete casting for the project is complete.
- All dedicated equipment staging areas shall be provided on the proposed development plans.
- An extra barrier of staked hay bales shall be required on the down-slope sides of stockpiles and along areas adjacent to wetlands and watercourses. Stockpiles shall be covered with tarps at the end of each workday.
- The Applicant shall follow the recommendation for the Detention Basin Plant List set forth by Southwest Conservation District.
- Regarding potential effects of development to adjoiners’ water wells, foundations, driveways or other structures: All applicable zoning conditions shall be included as part of the approval process, including comprehensive pre-blast surveys, in the event that site blasting and/or hammering is required.
- A zoning approval condition regarding protection from loss or damage caused by development of the site by the Owner/Developer to adjoiners’ water wells, foundations, driveways or other structures shall be included as part of the approval process.
- Any vehicle or equipment requiring washing shall not be washed into any wetland.
- Wetlands or watercourses shall be cleaned out regularly of any debris.
- Drains to wetlands, watercourses, etc. signage on catch basins.
- Conservation easement signs to be installed where applicable.
- Plant additional trees, shrubs and plantings to provide additional erosion control measures and or improve/maintain water quality.
- Inlands and Wetlands Bonds after evaluation made by zoning commission.
Wetlands General Conditions of Approval
- This permit shall expire simultaneously with the date of the zoning or planning approval for the application. Any request to renew or extend the expiration date of a permit shall be filed in accordance with the Inland Wetlands Regulations of the Borough of Naugatuck.
- The permittee or any successor there to, shall notify the WEO a minimum of 48 hours prior to the commencement of work and also upon its completion.
- All work and all regulated activities conducted pursuant to this authorization shall be consistent with the terms and conditions of this permit. Any construction, excavation, fill, obstructions, encroachments or regulated activities not specifically identified and authorized herein shall constitute a violation of this permit and may result in its modification, suspension, or revocation.
- In evaluation of this application, the Commission has relied on information provided by the applicant. If such information subsequently proves to be false, incomplete or misleading, this permit may be modified, suspended or revoked and the permittee may be subject to any other remedies or penalties provided by law.
- The permittee shall employ best management practices, as described in the Connecticut State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control dated 2002, or as updated or amended, and is consistent with the terms and conditions of this permit, to control storm water discharges and to prevent erosion and sedimentation and to otherwise prevent pollution of wetlands and watercourses. In the event that the permittee causes or discovers additional wetlands disturbance, which occurs during the course of the development, the permittee shall immediately cease work and inform the WEO of the nature and extent of the additional disturbance.
- This permit is subject to all public and private rights and to all applicable federal, state and local law. The permit does not derogate any rights or powers of the Borough of Naugatuck and conveys no property rights or exclusive privileges.
- Except as authorized by the permit, the permittee may not cause pollution or otherwise impair or destroy the inland wetlands and watercourses of Naugatuck.
- If the activity authorized by the inland wetland permit also involves activity or a project which requires zoning or subdivision approval, special permit, variance or special exception, no work pursuant to the wetland permit may begin until all such approvals are obtained. Exception: a temporary timber bridge can be installed prior to zoning approval for testing of soil and inspections. Reports to be forwarded to Borough of Naugatuck Engineer for review and discussion with the Commission.
- Sedimentation and erosion control measures must be installed prior to commencement of site activity and the Land Use office must be notified within 48 hours of installation. Said measures must be regularly inspected by applicant within 24 hours after a major storm event. All measures must be maintained during construction and be properly removed with all affected land restored prior to requesting final inspection.
- The applicant must designate an authorized representative, responsible for all sedimentation and erosion control measures, must be registered with the Naugatuck Land Use office, in addition to being listed on the drawings (a name, address, business telephone number, off-hours telephone number and other pertinent contact information must be included on the plan). All sedimentation and erosion control measures must be provided and installed in accordance with the Connecticut State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control dated 2002, or as updated or amended.
- Applicant shall submit reports, as determined by the commission, with the status of the construction to the WEO.
- Prior to the issuance of the wetland permit, all Inland Wetland Development Fees and Regulated Area Fees shall be paid to the Borough of Naugatuck.
- Wetlands flagging must be maintained throughout the project.
- Applicants shall supply a written and detailed maintenance plan. Inorganic fertilizers or pesticides are not allowed.
Recommendation to Zoning:
- Pre-blast survey to be done prior to blasting/hammering of ledge.
- Bond to be set for protection of wells impacted by development.
- Conservation Easement.