Plan for development raises residents’ ire

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A site plan drawing for proposed houses to be built on land at the end of Fairfield Place in Beacon Falls. –CONTRIBUTED

BEACON FALLS — A proposed building project has residents concerned about their future.

Developer Charles Edwards has submitted an application to the Planning and Zoning Commission to build 14 houses on land at the end of Fairfield Place.

The plan calls for extending Fairfield Place, a cul-de-sac, and building 13 additional houses along the road. Another house would be built in the same neighborhood but have a driveway off of Burton Road. There are 16 houses on Fairfield Place.

The property where the new homes are proposed is zoned as R3, which allows for residential houses to be built on quarter-acre lots if there is water and sewer lines running to them. The houses along Fairfield Place are zoned R1, which allows for residential houses to be built on one-acre lots.

Last week, Fairfield Place residents let the commission know they don’t support the project during a public hearing, which was ultimately continued until next month, on the application.

Fairfield Place resident Steve O’Dea said the project would have a negative impact on the safety on the street.

“This road is narrow. You are going to increase the density,” O’Dea said. “I don’t feel safe with this project.”

Multiple residents raised concerns that a traffic study hadn’t been done and is needed before moving forward with the project.

“It is so dangerous. It is narrow and on a steep hill,” Fairfield Place resident Susan Ventresca said.

John Garcia, owner of the engineering firm John Paul Garcia & Associates, is working for Edwards and said a traffic study wasn’t necessary for the project.

Garcia said the study would show that there are 14 houses with an average of 2.5 cars per house. This means, on average, there would be six additional cars per hour during the morning and evening rush hours, he said.

“To say you need a traffic study for an additional 14 lots is a bit on the ludicrous side because it doesn’t tell you anything meaningful. This is not a 55-lot subdivision on a major intersection,” Garcia said.

Fairfield Place resident John Makarewicz said there would be a lot more traffic on the street during construction. Makarewicz said 22 trucks full of gravel were needed to level off his lot when his house was built.

Resident Fred Bowes said the construction traffic will cause the road to deteriorate.

“After it is all said and done, with all that heavy equipment going over it, if the street has to be redone, who is responsible for that? Is it the taxpayers,” Bowes said. “It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the taxpayers because [Charles Edwards] is developing up there and using the public road.”

Garcia said the development would have positive impacts. He said road has a substandard turn-around area for a cul-de-sac, which means emergency vehicles have a difficult time turning around.

If the road is extended, Garcia said the cul-de-sac will be larger and allow for emergency vehicles to turn around.

Attorney John Bennett, who is representing Edwards, said the project would include a retention pond, which would increase fire safety for the entire street.

“There is no adverse effect. It is our position that there is a very positive effect resulting in increased safety not just for anybody that might live there someday, but for everyone living there right now,” Bennett said.

O’Dea asked the commission to deny the application.

“The decision you make today, or whenever you vote on it, is permanent. You might not think about it again, but we have to live with it,” O’Dea said. “I will do anything for my family and I don’t want their safety jeopardized by a careless decision that benefits no one else but the developer.”