Opinions A Plenty: The Community Discusses Tabor Drive as Site of Future Public Works

Former selectman John Opie foreshadowed that picking Tabor Drive as the home for Public Works would be fraught with comments. Public officials and neighbors speak out as a decision of where to place the new PWD facility draws closer.

In early January, the all-volunteer  voted unanimously 10 acres of the 77-acre town-owned property off of Tabor Drive as the  for their . The conceptual estimate for building the new site, as outlined by the Mass.-based firm Weston & Sampson, will be approximately $11 million. In an earlier story, Art Baker said the building planned for Tabor Drive would cost $220 per square foot according to estimates; price range for a middle-of-the-road PWD range from $180 per square foot to $260 per square foot, stated Baker. Since Jan. 2011, Public Works has been operating out of a temporary facility, at 137 N. Branford Rd., after at 45 N. Main St., to make way for the. The is being leased to the town for three years at a sum of $114,375 the first year, $117,806 the second year and $121,340 the third year. 

Since late 2010, to site public works, four of which are town-owned and three of which were public pieces. Up until their recent decision, the committee was also considering a private parcel at 20 Northeast Industrial Road, which has two structures that would need to be renovated. It was determined by a committee, though a matrix, that the Tabor Drive piece would be the best place to site the new facility, which will be built from scratch and will include a gas and diesel fuel station.

The 77-acre parcel off of Tabor Drive is town-owned and was seized by eminent domain in 2003 after New England Estates had proposed erecting housing on the land. The town maintains that the land was taken due to the potential threat of contamination. You can read more about the seven-year case on the town’s website or in various archives of local news outlets.

At last week’s , the PWD building committee opened the floor to the public to answer questions regarding putting the new facility on the Tabor Drive parcel. While neighbors had concerns about traffic, noise and the off-site costs to remediate Tabor Drive, some RTM members wanted to know more about considering other parcels for the Public Works Department. After more than hour of discussion and debate, First Selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos said other parcels could be considered before the Public Works Building Committee holds a public hearing, which will be scheduled at in the next 60 days. Stick with Patch for updates.

Learn what some of the key players said at the meeting by checking out the photo gallery with this story. Do you have an opinion about putting Public Works at Tabor – our most recent poll (found here) shows about 55 percent of readers think it’s a good use of the property and 42 percent do not? Do you have a suggestion of another parcel? Will you be at the public hearing in two months? Be sure to leave your comments on this story. 

Kasey Faraci-Barnabei February 06, 2012 at 12:13 PM
The Walsh School is in greater need of improvement than a Public Works Facility. It appears that the individuals on the Board of Education are not at all proactive. Branford needs to get rid of the passive mindsets and in with new and energetic board members.
Nicole Ball February 06, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Leesan Villa said via Twitter: @BranfordPatch I honestly don't want it @ Tabor. I bought my home 11yrs. ago & I never dreamed the PWS would be 1 block away from my home. You can follow Branford Patch on https://twitter.com/BranfordPatch


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