Naugatuck seeks special permit for new recycling center

The Naugatuck Recycling Center on Rubber Avenue. -RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials have taken a step toward relocating the recycling center, which is part of a larger plan to improve Rubber Avenue.

The Zoning Commission last week accepted a special permit application from the borough to build a new recycling center on a 13.4-acre, borough-owned parcel of land off School Street Extension. The application has to be reviewed by other land use boards as well as the police and fire commissions before coming back to the Zoning Commission for a hearing, which is scheduled for June 19 at 6:05 p.m. at Town Hall.

Maps submitted with the application show the new recycling center would be accessed through an entrance on School Street Extension, which is a dead-end, residential road.

The design for the new recycling center shows a loop with areas inside it for disposal of general waste and brush bulky waste. The plan also includes bins for storing items that need to be kept separate, like mattresses and electronics, an office, attendant booth and nine parking spaces.

Borough Engineer Wayne Zirolli said the new center will take up about 3 acres of the property.

The application states it will take a year to build the new center at an estimated cost of $200,000. The work includes clearing and grading the area, as well as some paving, Zirolli said. The plan is for borough employees to do as much of the work as possible to build the new center, he said.

Once the new center is built — if the application is approved — the plan is to move the recycling center from its location on Rubber Avenue at the intersection of Andrew Avenue, then sell the land for commercial development.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess described relocating the recycling center as the first phase in a major effort to upgrade Rubber Avenue.

Aside from the recycling center, the borough owns several other properties along Rubber Avenue, including the public works garage at 510 Rubber Ave., the Department of Public Works office at 246 Rubber Ave. and the former Park Department offices at 258 Rubber Ave. The Park Department has moved most of its operations to the former armory building next to Naugatuck High School on Rubber Avenue.

The borough also owns the former Visiting Nurses Association building at 600 Rubber Ave. Naugatuck High School uses the building now for an alternative education program, known as the Genesis Academy.

Eventually, the borough wants to sell these properties for commercial development to get them back on the tax rolls, Hess said.

The long-term plan is to build a new public works facility on borough-owned land known as “The Heights,” behind the Naugatuck Police Department on Spring Street. The land, which public works uses for storing materials and dumping brush, is adjacent to the parcel where the new recycling center would be built. An access road is planned to connect the two parcels.

Along with freeing up the borough-owned properties to sell, a number of road improvements are planned for Rubber Avenue in the near future. The work includes widening the road, paving and improving the sidewalks.

The offset intersection of Rubber Avenue and Hoadley Street and Rubber Avenue and Melbourne Street is also do for a makeover soon. The improvements planned for the intersection, which officials have described as one of the most dangerous in the borough, include new traffic lights, an automated crosswalk system, new sidewalks, turn lanes and some streetscaping.

Hess said the road improvements are expected to begin next year.