NCDC reviews Dominion plans for emergency operation center in Norwich business park

Norwich — Officials from Dominion power company presented their plans to build a $5 million to $10 million emergency operations center in the Norwich business park to the Norwich Community Development Corp. Thursday in advance of seeking city permits.

NCDC, which oversees development and operations in the Stanley Israelite Norwich Business Park, must approve projects there to ensure they meet deed covenants that include acceptable building uses, no on-street parking and attractive building designs.

The 18,000-square-foot office building on wooded land at 24 Stott Ave. would house the emergency operations center for Millstone Power Station. David A. Smith, manager of the Emergency Preparedness Department for Dominion Nuclear Connecticut Inc., said the operations center would be used about six times a year for emergency planning drills.

It also would be used to store equipment and for planning meetings.

Project engineer Thomas Cummings outlined the plan announced Aug. 30. The facility would be built on 4.3 acres now owned by Easter Seals, to the immediate right of the main entrance and parking lot of the Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium. The operations center would have 75 parking spaces and would have permission to use the Dodd Stadium or Easter Seals lots for overflow parking if needed.

If an emergency occurred at the Millstone nuclear power station in Waterford, the operations center would serve as the command center with about 50 responders, with computers, communications equipment and the ability to dispatch crews to test air or soil in an affected area, Smith said.

During normal operations, there would be “very low” use of the building, but Smith called it “an important part of our emergency operations plan.”

The NCDC Business Park Committee will meet Wednesday to review and vote on the plans in advance of the city Inland Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Commission review of the plans Thursday and the Commission on the City Plan review on Oct. 15.

Easter Seals Executive Director Allen Gouse welcomed the project and said the land was “not useful to us.” The land was not being marketed for sale, but NCDC officials helped broker the deal.

Cummings said the site is ideal, because all utility lines are already in place along Stott Avenue. Dominion would pay property taxes on the facility.

c.bessette@theday.com


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