Judge approves Norwich scrapyard sale

David Waddington, president of Connecticut Scrap, right, looks at the property of the former Shetucket Iron & Metal scrapyard before an auction on July 29, 2017, in Norwich. Waddington won the auction of the 3.68-acre property at 7 New Wharf Road. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
David Waddington, president of Connecticut Scrap, right, looks at the property of the former Shetucket Iron & Metal scrapyard before an auction on July 29, 2017, in Norwich. Waddington won the auction of the 3.68-acre property at 7 New Wharf Road. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Norwich — A Superior Court judge has approved the auction sale of the former Shetucket Iron & Metal scrapyard at Norwich Harbor to the president of Connecticut Scrap for $260,000, and the new owner plans to process materials left behind as soon as the transaction closes.

David Waddington, president of Connecticut Scrap, which has six facilities in Connecticut and Rhode Island, posted the winning bid of $260,000 at the July 29 business dissolution auction of the 3.68-acre property. Superior Court Judge Harry Calmar approved the sale Tuesday, and auction attorney Mark Block said he hopes to schedule the closing “as soon as possible.”

Waddington said Wednesday as soon as his purchase is finalized, he will begin processing the several piles of scrap metal and other materials left behind when Shetucket closed a year ago in July and plans to continue a “low-key operation” at the waterfront property.

“The doors will be open to bring material in,” he said. “It’s a small yard. It will be a low-key operation. I have a place to bring my boat now.”

Although scrapyards are no longer a permitted use in the harbor zone, the Shetucket Iron & Metal property is grandfathered in as an “existing nonconforming use.” City zoning and state environmental regulations would allow Waddington to continue the use of the property as a scrapyard.

Waddington said he has been contacted by some Norwich officials about his future plans for the property, and is willing to talk to city officials once the closing is held.

“I will see what my options are,” he said.

Locally, Waddington’s firm owns Connecticut Scrap in Uncasville, Yerrington's Salvage in North Stonington and Exeter Scrap in Exeter, R.I.

Norwich Alderman H. Tucker Braddock, a strong proponent of having the city attempt to purchase the property, seek funding to clean it up and turn it into a passive waterfront park, said Wednesday he already has reached out to Waddington. Braddock said he broached the idea of forming a partnership between the new owner and the city to pursue the cleanup and park plan, and hopes to bring the issue to the City Council soon.

Braddock, however, lost a bid for the Democratic Party nomination for mayor in July and will not be on the November ballot for re-election.

“I have four meetings left,” he calculated.

Braddock said he met with Waddington at lunch at the Marina at American Wharf across the harbor and pointed out the attractiveness of the harbor, with the marina, a condominium development on the east bank and the city’s Howard T. Brown Memorial Park on the west bank.

Braddock said creating a handicapped-accessible public fishing pier and passive park, or an open space with few amenities, at the scrapyard could help turn around the economic fortunes of downtown and create “positive growth for our downtown.”

City Manager John Salomone said city administrators did not get involved in the scrapyard transaction while waiting for the auction sale to become finalized. He said it would be up to the City Council to decide whether to pursue any future changes at the property.

“I think the City Council will have to take a look at it,” Salomone said. “Certainly, a scrapyard may be the only use that’s permitted now, but it’s not the best use for waterfront property. It would be up to the council to see if they want to enter negotiations with (the owner).”

c.bessette@theday.com

David Waddington, president of Connecticut Scrap, right, stands with his son Adam and grandson Ryder after winning the auction to purchase the former Shetucket Iron & Metal scrapyard on July 29, 2017, in Norwich. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
David Waddington, president of Connecticut Scrap, right, stands with his son Adam and grandson Ryder after winning the auction to purchase the former Shetucket Iron & Metal scrapyard on July 29, 2017, in Norwich. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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