Wetlands commission to decide on request for 6 more homes at The Ridge at Monroe

Monroe Town Hall in the evening. Photo by John Babina

MONROE, CT — Inland Wetlands commissioners asked staff to draft a resolution of approval for The Ridge at Monroe’s application to add six more homes on its 14.9-acre property on Monroe Turnpike. The resolution will be discussed and voted on at the commission’s next meeting.

The Ridge already has an approvals for a 19 unit age-restricted housing development, which is under construction at 1271 Monroe Turnpike. The additional units would bring the total to 25.

Jason Edwards of J. Edwards & Associates, the engineering firm representing the applicant, told the commission the layout for the age 55 and older community would be slightly smaller than a 27-unit layout that had previously been approved on the property, which is next door to High Meadows condominiums.

“We’re not increasing that footprint over what was previously approved,” he said in a past meeting.

During the hearing a few neighbors spoke against the proposal, expressing concern over their wells, deforestation, a disruption to the water table and the potential for blasting.

On Wednesday, commissioners deliberated on the application to come up with a consensus before a resolution is drafted.

“My concern is that the houses, 20 to 25 homes have septic fields,” Commissioner Rick Smith said. “It’s 14.95 acres. I’m concerned we’re packing too much into too little space. It’s very dense with septic fields and septic tanks.”

Chairman Keith Romano said the net change in the area of disturbance is “close to zero” in the upland review area, “so we can’t go back and say we don’t like what we approved the previous time.”

“I wasn’t on the commission the last time,” Smith said. “I can’t be complicit.”

Vice Chairman Erik Lindstrom noted that the applicant shifted some things in the review area and Romano acknowledged it is packed. But Lindstrom agreed that there is no added impact in the upland review area.

“I’m not of a mind to approve this,” Smith said. “I guess I would have made a stink previously. Twenty-five homes on 14 acres, it’s too much.”

“If there’s a specific reason to deny it based on a regulation violation, I want to know about it,” Lindstrom said, explaining that commissioners’ decisions should be based upon the regulations.

“Their environmental experts said it was fine and our professionals didn’t say there was a problem,” Commissioner James R. Stewart said. “I need a professional who is going to say, ‘this won’t work. It will blow up the wetlands.'”

Stewart suggested that Smith look at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s standards, which includes best management practices and studies for criteria to hold developers to.

Smith said he was basing his opinion on testimony from a soil scientist, though he did not have the information with him that night. Other commissioners said Smith could find it in time for deliberations at their next meeting.

Commissioner Ryan Kelly said the commission can deliberate on a resolution of approval at their next meeting and decide to approve it, approve it with conditions or to deny it.

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

1 Comment

  1. Have the developer put up a 5 year bond large enough to fix the problem or remove enough houses and compensate the owners. That shouldn’t be a problem if all the assurance are correct. The developer of my area put up a bond to cover the roads.

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