Commission approves River Road zone change

The Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved a zone change that will allow developers to build 36 townhouses at 550 River Road, a property owned by Mayor Mark Lauretti.

Country Club of CT LLC was the official applicant for the zone change request for the 12.4-acre riverfront property. Commissioner Joan Flannery was the sole dissenter to the application, citing concerns that the property was polluted by industrial waste and possibly a Native American burial ground.

According to the application, “Blue Heron Cove” will consist of 15 dwellings, each containing two or three units, with attached two-car garages for each unit plus parking in front of each garage.

Lauretti’s company purchased the property in 2003 from Emhart Teknologies, leading to some controversy at the time. The mayor commented on the approval last week.

“It’s political controversy,” Lauretti told The Herald last week. “I have bought and sold property in this town for the last 30 years. Every time I’ve done it, the city has become the beneficiary, with the taxes.”

According to the Planning and Zoning documents, the applicant responded to several concerns raised by the public and commissioners, including providing a environmental report that the land was safe for residential use.

The commission is requiring some revisions to the application, to address concerns about landscaping, emergency access, retaining walls, and fence details. The commission would also like to see more details on a public access walkway the developer will build.

The final site development plans must be submitted for review and approval by July 1, unless the applicant requests an extension.