Wetlands panel approves project with 23 conditions

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
June 6, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — A housing development on a piece of land that has been under discussion for nearly a decade won approval from the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency this week.

Sunwood Development Corp. is planning to build about 30 houses on the 64-acre Shanz Farm property at 1775 Middletown Ave.

On Wednesday, the agency unanimously approved the project, but attached 23 separate special conditions for issuing a permit.

The developer’s plan proposed 34 lots for the land, but some of the agency’s conditions could reduce the number slightly.

Different developments on the property have been under consideration in the town for years. The Planning and Zoning Commission twice rejected a developer’s plan to build a 200-unit subdivision for people 55 and older.

Sunwood Development has also previously proposed building about 115 or about 75 homes.

Some of the planned lots would fall near or within wetlands, which is why the proposal came before the Inland Wetlands Agency. On Wednesday, members said they think the conditions of approval will help protect the wetlands even more than the original proposal.

Large areas of the property will also be left open, and on Wednesday the agency recommended that the North Branford Land Trust eventually take ownership of those parcels.

Some of the conditions of approval left alternatives for the developer on how to reduce the houses’ impact on the wetlands. Agency member Shannon Miscio said she thought it should be up to the developer to choose from among the options.

“I personally think that the developer should pick,” she said. “I think each one that we listed does what we want; it’s just different ways of doing it.”

The development will still need approval from other town and state commissions before construction can begin.

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