East Lyme agency denies permit for 25-lot subdivision

East Lyme — The Inland Wetlands Agency denied an application last week for a permit to build the road, utility infrastructure and drainage improvements for a proposed 25-lot subdivision at Spring Rock Road and Green Valley Lakes Road.

The "Twin Valley" subdivision proposal represented the last phase of a subdivision started in the 1970s, the developer's attorney said at public hearings.

Residents in the neighboring area had expressed opposition on a Facebook page and at meetings and sent letters to the commission with concerns that included impacts on wetlands and vernal pools and the potential for polluted runoff to reach the Four Mile River.

Representatives for the developer had said at a public hearing that the project would have no direct impact on wetlands and included components that would reduce impacts to the surrounding area, including a 24-foot road to cut down on the amount of impervious surface in the development.

In its six-page Aug. 28 resolution, the Inland Wetlands Agency said it was denying the application because the development's proposed stormwater management system "is insufficient to reduce pollutant loads from the proposed development which will result or is reasonably likely to result in harmful pollutant loads being discharged into the wetlands and watercourses."

The existing soil's limited potential "to remediate effluent before it reaches the wetlands and watercourse will adversely impact the wetlands and watercourse," the commission also said.

The commission further noted that the developer has at least one "feasible and prudent alternative," including eliminating the need for an emergency access drive within the 100-foot upland review area by shortening the development's proposed road and reducing the number of lots on the cul-de-sac. 

The developers also withdrew an application before the Planning Commission.

The applicant, Bob Fusari Jr. of Real Estate Service of Connecticut, located in Old Saybrook, said by phone Wednesday that they are looking at all the options right now but have not yet decided on what would be the best route to take.

He expressed disappointment with the Inland Wetlands Agency's denial.

"We thought we had a solid application that met all their regulations," he said.

Residents of the Green Valley Lakes neighborhood who stood opposed to the application applauded the commission's decision.

"We are very excited about the decision made by the wetlands commission to protect this property," Diane Lepkowski said by email on Wednesday. Lepkowski, an intervenor in the application with her husband, Brian Lepkowski, said she was speaking on behalf of all the concerned citizens in the community and neighborhood.

"We abut this land and every day see the valued ecosystem it is," she said. "Without living here people don't realize the vast area of wetlands and diverse species that exist here. We were very concerned with the proposed development as they wanted to build on every available space that wasn't wetland. We knew it just wasn't right and would have such negative impacts on the environment. We couldn't be more appreciative of everyone who helped fight this and protect this valuable area."

k.drelich@theday.com

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