Old town hall site for sale despite pollutant

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
April 7, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — The town is continuing work to ready the former Town Hall site for possible sale to developers, although officials have found petroleum contamination in the area.

The contamination comes from a spot where the town used to have underground petroleum and oil tanks, interim Town Manager Michael Paulhus said.

The town hired a firm to conduct an environmental survey of the property, which found that the petroleum tanks had leaked.

The firm will take further soil samples at the site to see how far the petroleum spread. The tanks were removed in 1993, Paulhus said.

“Every indication is that it’s of little impact, but you don’t know until you test it,” Paulhus said. “Should there be something, then we’d have to look for the funds in terms of remediation.”

Future work could include digging out the contaminated area and replacing the soil, he said.

The town has been working in recent months to prepare the property to be sold.

Town Council members are hoping the sale and development of the site will increase the town’s grand list and raise tax revenues.

Work was also recently completed on a wetlands survey of the 5-acre property. Paulhus said the survey showed that very little of the land is made up of wetlands.

Town offices moved from 1599 Foxon Road to their current location at 909 Foxon Road in 2003.

The town’s community center is now in the old Town Hall building, but council members have not yet decided what will happen with the community center if the property is sold.

Paulhus said any sale is still several years in the future. The town is moving ahead with plans to relocate Wall Field, but a new field next to the Police Department on Forest Road will not be completed until at least 2010.

“There’s some strategic planning to do,” Paulhus said.

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