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Water Issues Surround N. Salem Rd. Development Hearings

“For almost a year now, we’ve been hearing there’s a significant drainage issue in the area,” said Commission Chair Rebecca Mucchetti. “Where’s the water going?"

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission continued its investigation Tuesday into the viability of a 14-unit housing development at 7 and 9 N. Salem Rd., a project that falls under state statute 8-30g, which allows affordable housing projects to move forward with less restrictions.

The N. Salem Rd. development application, though, has been mired from the beginning in back-and-forth expert opinions and operational minutiae to prove that the project would either be a detriment to the health and safety of the area or not.

Tuesday evening, the conversation at the P&Z table brought water issues to the forefront -- because property owners in the area of N. Salem Rd. and New St. have dealt with flooding in the past, the question for the current application is, if this project is built, will it affect the direction or volume of water flowing northwest to private property?

Experts in landscape architecture and engineering representing the applicant Eppoliti Realty Co. assured the commission that the changes to the property would not affect the water – they have made several changes to the plan in the last few months to decrease the amount of impermeable surface and to make sure the detention system underground would support the expected volume of water.

But some say not enough has been done.

“For almost a year now, we’ve been hearing there’s a significant drainage issue in the area,” said Commission Chair Rebecca Mucchetti. “Where’s the water going? Once it goes underground, is it going to bubble up in the Christiansen property or the Silvistrani property?”

Part of the problem, the board agreed along with consultant Nicole Burnham, is that not enough testing has been done – tests that were recommended in the past, such as a mounding analysis, have still not been done under the pretense held by Eppoliti representation that the tests are not necessary.

“You’re not giving us what we keep telling you we need,” Mucchetti said.

The hearings will continue into the next few months at least, the commission agreed, as the Eppoliti engineers have until May to collect and analyze data regarding the possible water issues.

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