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Opponents Hire Engineer, Challenge Turkey Ridge Subdivision Proposal

Published: July 15, 2017

A group of Toddy Hill Road area residents has hired a civil engineer who is challenging the technical design of a proposed 11-lot residential subdivision known as Turkey Ridge. The site is a 28.5-acre property on the corner of Toddy Hill Road and Turkey Roost Road.

Civil engineer Steven Trinkaus of Trinkaus Engineering, LLC, of Southbury, representing more than a dozen residents of six roads in that area, raised many technical objections to the Turkey Ridge proposal at a July 6 Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) public hearing. The Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation of Trumbull owns the site at 96 Toddy Hill Road. The proposed developer is Viade Development, LLC, of Woodbridge.

At a June 1 public hearing, nearby residents had raised a number of issues about the project’s potential adverse effects on their neighborhood. Those issues include stormwater control and the yields of their domestic water wells.

The project already has received a wetlands/watercourses protection permit from the town’s Land Use Agency staff. That permit application was not submitted to the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) for review.

The project would not require any new roads, greatly simplifying its construction. Eight of the proposed lots would have vehicular access to Turkey Roost Road, with the other three lots having access to Toddy Hill Road.

Each building lot would be served by its own domestic water well and septic waste disposal system. Wells would be located in the front yards and septic systems positioned in the backyards.

The project would be created under the terms of the P&Z’s “open space conservation subdivision” (OSCS) regulations, which are intended to maximize the amount of open space that would be preserved at the site for passive forms for recreation. The applicant proposes preserving 15.2 acres of open space.


Engineering Review

Mr Trinkaus told P&Z members that he has done a technical review of the plans prepared by Larry Edwards, who is the civil engineer for the applicant.

In a detailed statement to the P&Z, Mr Trinkaus stated that the application should be rejected by the P&Z because it does not comply with many sections of the town’s subdivision regulations.

Also, the technical design would not result in decreased stormwater runoff to adjacent downgradient properties, but would result in increased volumes of stormwater runoff, according to Mr Trinkaus. The applicant’s stormwater analysis lacks substantial information, thus underestimating the project’s negative effects on adjacent downslope properties, he charges.

The project’s stormwater management practices do not meet applicable state standards, according to Mr Trinkaus.

Additionally, he contends that the OSCS building-lot layout does not environmentally protect sensitive areas, such as wetlands, on the site.

The engineer provided detailed explanations of his objections to the project’s technical design.

During the public comment section of the hearing, David Barrett of 6 Kaechele Drive said he is concerned about stormwater runoff possibly entering his property and adversely affecting it.

Janis Nezvesky Shertzer of 24 Clearview Drive said she is concerned about stormwater drainage entering her area due to the proposed development. Some homes in her neighborhood already have wet basements, she said.

Christie Curreri of 109 Toddy Hill Road said she is concerned about new development resulting in flooding and soil erosion problems.

Noting that it is downgradient of the development site, Madeline Cady of 30 Turkey Hill terrace voiced concerns about stormwater drainage affecting her property.

Similarly, Elias David of 32 Clearview Drive, and Mark Smith of 12 Kaechele Drive commented on their stormwater drainage concerns.

Mr Edwards said he would review Mr Trinkaus’s engineering critique of the project and then comment when the P&Z public hearing on Turkey Ridge resumes on July 20. Town land use agency staff members also are expected to review the issues raised by Mr Trinkaus.

The development site lies west of Toddy Hill Road, north of Turkey Roost Road, south of Clearview Drive, and east and north of Kaechele Drive. The property is in a R-2 (Residential) zone, where normally a building lot would need to be at least two acres to meet the zoning regulations for such subdivision development.

However, because the applicant submitted the proposal under the terms of the OSCS regulations, the building lots at the parcel would be considerably smaller, with most lots being a bit larger than one acre. Through the OSCS rules, which also are known as “cluster housing,” relatively small lots at a site are “clustered” to maximize the amount of public open space land that is preserved at that site. Such public open space is used for passive forms of recreation such as hiking and nature study.

The OSCS rules require that at least 50 percent of a site be preserved as open space. In conventional subdivisions, at least 15 percent of a parcel must be designated as open space.

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