Danbury considers paving on scenic road
DANBURY — Some residents are urging the city to pave a deteriorating road, despite a portion of the street being considered scenic.
The residents described poor conditions on Long Ridge Road, which is off Mountainville Road and leads to Redding.
“The road is full of potholes,” longtime resident Christine Fiore wrote to Tthe City Council. “Myself and neighbors and those driving through on Long Ridge Road have had damage to their cars, including flat tires, not to mention the bicyclists, runners and walkers who have fallen as a result of the bad road.”
Fiore and another resident said a cyclist recently broke their collarbone after a fall on the road.
The Public Works Department wants to pave the entirety of the street, but under city ordinances needs City Council approval to improve scenic roads in “excess of routine maintenance,” according to a letter the mayor sent to the council.
This is the only road in the city that is characterized as scenic.
But resident Stephen Szurlej, who has lived on Long Ridge Road for 40 years, said the paving is long overdue and should not be further delayed.
“I don’t know why they’re using this scenic designation as an impediment to taking action here because this scenic portion is a small part of the road,” he said.
The scenic section runs south of Brushy Hill Road to Old Lantern Road, he said.
To be considered scenic, a road must not abut “intensive” commercial development or traffic and must meet certain length requirements, according to city ordinances. The street must fit at least one of various other criteria, including being unpaved and offering scenic views.
“It’s already paved but it’s in such a state of disrepair you wouldn’t know it,” Szurlej said.
A City Council ad hoc committee is studying whether to permit paving on the scenic part. The city will schedule a public hearing on the issue. The Planning Commission and the full council must approve the plan.
Residents have been protective of the road, defeating a plan about five years ago for a church they feared would hurt the rural character of the street and lead to the removal of its scenic designation.
But Szurlej said neighbors are fine with the scenic part being paved.
“Not only are we OK with it, we would love it,” he said. “We desperately need it. What good is a road that you can’t even ride or walk or cycle on? It will in no way diminish the scenic characteristics of this road.”