On May 9, Ridgefield residents who drive on Danbury's Turner Road to reach their homes, were outspoken in their opposition to Belimo Air Controls moving to Turner Road and doubling its workforce.
That opposition quieted down after May 17.
The background is that Belimo Air Controls on Old Ridgebury Road makes devices used in heating and cooling buildings, and the company wants to double the size of its factory and its workforce in the next seven years. Danbury offered the firm tax incentives to stay in town, and Belimo decided to expand in Danbury at the site of a former Novo Nordisk factory on Turner Road.
The Novo factory closed in the mid-1990s, and a piece of its property in Ridgefield was then subdivded off for residential development. Those homes have deed restrictions on them.
Danbury Attorney David Bennett reminded 74 of those residents of the deed restrictions in a letter he sent to them via certified mail, return receipt requested, dated May 17.
"...The Grantee by acceptance of this Deed agrees that the Grantee will not oppose any future development of the Novo Nordisk Property, or any portion thereof, located in Danbury, Connecticut ..."
Bennett's letter tells the Ridgefield residents Belimo is under contract to buy the land for $8.4 million (Belimo has since purchased the land,) and that, "all current owners of any real property ..." are bound by the deed restrictions and they may be subject to money damages and court costs if they oppose the project.
The letter ends by saying, "This correspondence shall serve as a formal demand for you to fulfill your obligations under page 4 of the Agreement and to cease and desist from any action, present or future, in opposition to the development or use of my client's real property as described in the agreement."
Bennett declined to comment Tuesday, saying the letter speaks for itself.
Interested in Ridgefield’s news, events, community bulletins, blogs and businesses? Sign up for the free Ridgefield Patch daily newsletter, "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Calls to six neighbors went unanswered Tuesday. Their original opposition appeared in this May 10 story on Danbury Patch.
"They can't talk about it any more. They're quiet," said Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi. "There are still issues, traffic is one for me."
Marconi said when the Belimo development first arose, which was before the neighbors were reminded about the deed restrictions, they worried about traffic and their children sharing Turner Road with buses, workers and tractor trailer trucks. He said the Ridgefield Board of Education shares that worry. Marconi said attorneys for Belimo point to the existing factory and say it has no traffic issues.
"I'd like to just have calmer head prevail. I'd like to sit down and discuss the idea of staggering the departures or arrivals to spread out the traffic," Marconi said. He said when the traffic doubles in size with the workforce, the traffic problem will grow worse.
The project is nearly ready to begin construction. A request for a height variance was withdrawn, so now the project awaits its building permits. No further board or commission review is required. The Danbury Permit Center has no permit requests from Belimo to proceed with the project as of Tuesday. The company's original announcement said it would demolish the dilapidated Novo factory this summer and begin construction in September. No demolition or building permits have yet been requested.
John Coppola, CFO and sometimes a spokesman for Belimo, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
The Ridgefield homes off Turner Road were built after 1994, but buyers knew someday the industrial land next door in Danbury would be developed or the factory would reopen.
"A factory is the worst possible outcome. I figured it would be an office, not industrial, not trucks," said Ben Caiola, speaking in May. Caiola said in May he had two children, ages 10 and 8, and he worried about buses driving on Turner Road at the same time factory-bound semi tractor trailer trucks were using Turner Road.