July 11, 2018

CT Construction Digest Wednesday July 11, 2018

Letter: Tony Guerrera champion of highway safety, protecting labor workers

To the Editor:
Voters in Rocky Hill, Newington, Wethersfield, Middletown and Cromwell — towns that make up the 9th District in Connecticut’s State Senate — deserve a senator who’s committed to working for fair and sustaining wages for working families, equal pay for equal work, and equal rights for all people. Tony Guerrera has proved during his nine terms in the state House of Representatives that he is such an individual.
Further, his strong promotion of laws to achieve these goals has been recognized this year by many in organized labor. In endorsing Tony, the Connecticut Laborers District Council said, “Your honest and practical approach sets you apart from other candidates.”
The Connecticut Employees Union Independent Local 511 praised Tony for “your tireless commitment to working families…We need strong leadership that will help turn this state around and your election is a critical part of this.”
And the International Union of Operating Engineers cited Tony as “a strong advocate for creating a first-class transportation network in Connecticut…and creating good-paying construction jobs for Connecticut residents.”
It should also be mentioned that Tony has been a champion on highway safety, and protecting both workers and the traveling public. His election is critical in moving our state forward.
Tony Guerrera is clearly a man used to hard work to support his family and to advocate for programs and services that will benefit all the citizens he represents at the state Capitol, especially working men and women. That’s why I’m proud to urge voters in the 9th District to support him in the Democratic primary election for the state Senate Aug. 14 and in the Nov. 6 general election.
Mark Negralle, East Hampton

Plans changing to build upscale mall in West Haven VIDEO

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The plans to build an upscale mall in West Haven are changing.
The city is giving up its fight to exert eminent domain over a local gas station.
Related content: West Haven plans to close streets for potential mall construction
Without an agreement with the property owners, the city now needs to change its plan for the location of the mall.
The city's Planning and Zoning Commission put forward a new plan for the mall. A meeting was held on Tuesday night to talk about finalizing a site plan. Developers are hoping to have the project completed in two years.

State panel to NB, engineering firm: That's enough new Tilcon info

NEW BRITAIN – The state Water Planning Council on Tuesday denied a request by the city and Lenard Engineering to submit more information on the Tilcon quarry expansion plans to the agency.
The WPC is preparing to submit final documents on the proposed project to the legislature.
“We’re not going to allow that,” WPC Chairman Jack Betkoski, a vice chairman of the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, told James Ericson, Lenard’s vice president, as the engineer tried to explain that all water from the quarrying project would be pumped off site.
“It’s compromising the process, I think we have been very fair to all parties,” Betkoski said.
The WPC, made up of representatives from four state departments dealing with water planning, is required by state law created to explore the Tilcon project and to submit their findings and several other documents, including a summary of public comments, to the legislature by Aug. 26.
The agency held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon, in part to discuss what it needed to submit to the legislature on the project by the deadline.
The proposal would require a vote by the legislature to allow Tilcon to mine Class I and Class II protected watersheds owned by the New Britain Water Department for 40 to 50 years. When the mining is complete, Tilcon would return the quarry to the city as a “storage reservoir.” Tilcon would pay the city for the mining rights and would donate open space to New Britain, Plainville and Southington as part of the deal.
According to a law enacted in 2016, the city was required to hire an outside consultant to do a study on the potential environmental impact of the project. The study done by Lenard was released at the end of February. The WPC and the state Council on Environmental Quality were required to review the 500-page report on the study and submit comments. Both agencies panned the project, saying it had the potential to pollute the city’s water supply.
Ericson and Ray Esponda, the director of the Water Department, have been backtracking since providing comment and a public presentation explaining aspects of the project that weren’t explained in the study.
WPC member Lori Mathieu, a representative from the state Department of Public Health, told the other members that she was surprised to hear the two explaining new facets of the project during a public hearing on the project on June 26.
“Forty-eight people testified,” Mathieu said. “Of the 48, 46 were against it and two spoke for it.”
Esponda and Ericson tried to give the council the same presentation they offered residents during the public hearing, but WPC member David Kalafa, a representative from the state Office of Policy and Management, pointedly asked why more information was needed now. “Why wasn’t it included (in the study)?” Kalafa asked. “Our charge was to review the report on the study.”
Betkoski then said the city and Lenard “couldn’t have another bite of the apple” by rebutting the council’s conclusions on the project.

Montville to hold referendum on $10M road repairs project

Benjamin Kail
Montville — The town on Election Day will seek voters' support to spend up to $10 million over the next few years to perform what officials say are much-needed repairs on at least a third of the town's roads.
"Some need more work than others," Town Council Chairman Tom McNally said Tuesday. "Some are a simple mill and pave, others are total reconstructions. We have to dig them up, put in a whole new base and do drainage work."
McNally and Town Council Deputy Chairman Wills Pike said Public Works Director Donald Bourdeau already is working on a list of dilapidated roads but likely will conduct more road surveys and engineering work in advance of repairs if the public approves the project.
The town plans to finance the project over the next few years with up to $10 million in 10-year bonds. McNally and Finance Director Theresa Hart said the town likely would borrow between $2 million to $4 million each of the next few years to cover road repairs scheduled by Bourdeau.
The town must hold a referendum if it intends to spend "anything over 5 percent of the general tax levy," Hart said on Tuesday. The town's general tax levy is about $39.8 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year
Ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, will include a question asking whether the town should appropriate up to $10 million "for road improvements and payments and authorize" bond funds to finance the project.
McNally noted the town typically spends about $900,000 on road maintenance every year. The town cut that amount in half this year and intends to do likewise moving forward, freeing up money that could help cover annual bond payments down the road, McNally said.
The town will seek bids from contractors for some of the work, and perform some repairs and drainage work in-house, McNally added.
The town will send homeowners informational mailers on the project later this summer.
McNally said while a complete list of roads set for repairs over the entire project likely won't be finalized before construction begins next year, the town would provide notice of work schedules each season "so people have a heads-up what roads are slated for renovation."

Zoning hearing for new Peachtree project in Norwich postponed

Claire Bessette           
Norwich — A zoning variance public hearing on the new proposed 120-unit housing project on the grounds of the former Peachtree Apartments at 2 Westledge Drive was postponed to next Tuesday at the request of the developer.
With only four of the five regular members in attendance, the Zoning Board of Appeals developer Darwin Gebbie asked to postpone the public hearings and reviews to the special meeting planned for 7 p.m. July 17. By state law, projects require four votes to approve an application, so Tuesday’s vote would have to have been unanimous.
Several residents of the neighborhood attended Tuesday’s meeting and were disappointed in the postponement.
“It’s very unfair,” Elizabeth Street resident Claire Silva said. “We all came out and now you’re telling us to go home.”
Silva and other residents talked with Gebbie and project attorney Mark Block outside the meeting room. The developer offered to meet with neighbors to explain the proposed project.
Silva said she had problems with the previous Peachtree Apartments residents cutting through her yard and garden. She told Gebbie “a seven-foot chain-link fence” would please her.
The former Peachtree complex consisted of two long buildings positioned close together resembling a set of brackets. The complex burned to the ground in a fast-moving fire April 26, 2008. There were no injuries.
The new proposed project consists of four buildings arranged in a quad. The developers need ZBA approval of a zoning variance for the total number of units before seeking site development plan approval from the Commission on the City Plan.