announced at the Board of Selectmen meeting last night that the town will hold a public hearing on Feb. 1 concerning the selection of a site for the new facility.
His announcement followed the presentation of the report on the DPW facility to the BOS by the Public Works Building Committee, which recommends that the
“I think it’s only fair,” said the first selectman of the public hearing.
Second Selectman Andy Campbell said he hoped the town would upload as much information as possible from an electronic version of the committee’s report to the town website for the public to read.
“There’s plenty to digest,” the first selectman said.
The Public Works Building Committee voted unanimously to recommend the Tabor Drive tract of land to the BOS on Jan. 4. The runner-up in the committee’s selection of a site is a privately owned property at 20 Northeast Industrial Road.
At the meeting, Jeff Alberti from the Foxboro, Mass.-based engineering consulting firm of Weston & Sampson gave a rundown of the selection process, noting that the Tabor Drive site achieved a higher score as a location for the DPW facility both when the cost of land acquisition was factored into the decision and also when a comparison between it and the Industrial Road site was purely operational.
The DPW Building Committee has worked since the fall of 2010 on the site selection, at first considering seven sites before narrowing it down to two—the site, which the town of Branford seized by eminent domain in 2004, and the property at 20 Northeast Industrial Road.
The location of the DPW facility on the site off Tabor Drive has not been without controversy. The site is part of a 77-acre tract of land that the town seized by eminent domain in 2004 because of concerns over potential contamination from the town landfill, which is adjacent to the Tabor Drive tract.
The seizure followed plans by a developer called New England Estates for use of the land for residential purposes, rather than the light industrial standards to which a DPW facility must conform. That seizure prompted a number of lawsuits, one of which--litigation with the Marcus Law Firm, which served the town as outside legal case at one phase during the eminent domain case--continues.
“They both have issues,” said , who retired from the Board of Selectmen last fall, of the two locations under final consideration for the new DPW facility.
He conceded that the history of the land off Tabor Drive has been contentious, acknowledging that issues hover around the Tabor Drive site “like a cloud.”
Yet, with regard to the charge of contamination on the proposed DPW site off Tabor Drive itself, he said, “The testing has been coming back relatively benign.”
At the BOS meeting, RTM member and Republican Town Committee Chair Ray Ingraham, among others, expressed his disappointment that last night’s BOS meeting had not produced a fuller presentation on the two sites still under consideration for the new DPW facility.
First Selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos said information on the two sites would be aired during the public hearing. He noted that the BOS had just that evening received the building committee’s report.
The DPW, whose former facility was demolished in March, operates out of rented space on Route 139.
Following action by the Board of Selectmen, the decision on where the town will locate the new facility must go to the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting for approval.