By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Tilcon Connecticut is seeking approval from state lawmakers to lease city-owned watershed land for gravel mining over 40 years—a proposal that would give additional acres of open space land to Plainville, New Britain, and Southington.
In late February, Tilcon presented the details about the proposal during a pair of public forums.
Tilcon, which provides paving and construction services, as well as crushed stone, hot mix asphalt and ready mix concrete, plans to use 131 acres of woodlands south of its gravel mine near Route 72. That land is owned by the city of New Britain, which would retain ownership of it, according to Tilcon’s proposal.
Under the proposal, New Britain would gain a water reservoir in addition to 95 acres of open space. Plainville would receive 157 acres of open space, and Southington would receive 75 acres of open space land near Crescent Lake park. If the state approves Tilcon’s proposal, future development would not occur on the open space lands.
Since the proposal involves watershed lands, a change in state law is required. In 2007, Tilcon proposed a similar 40-year plan in the same site, but no changes in the law were made.
Tilcon representatives said expanding the company’s existing quarry with the adjacent water department property will extend the “viable life” of their business, and build a reservoir to plan for future water needs. The proposed reservoir would hold 4.7 billion gallons of water, and could serve up to 2,000 people year-round.
“Our goal is to have an equitable transfer of assets among New Britain, Plainville, Southington and Tilcon…which offers benefit for each of the parties and creates sustained economic, financial, and environmental value for the entire region,” said Gary Wall, president of Tilcon. “We think the whole package is a good package.”
Tilcon’s proposal also includes the creation of a “no blast” zone, in which mining could not occur within least 1,000 feet from Plainville homes. Wall said this forested buffer would move the blasting farther away from residents’ homes. Residents living near Tilcon’s quarry have reported noises and other disruptions caused by the mine blasting.
“Currently, we can get as close as 300 feet,” said Wall.
“As our blasting gets farther away from your house, the less arouse,” said Bill Schappert, sales/technical representative of Austin Powder Company to Plainville residents. “The expansion moves us farther away from Maria Road and View Street.”
To review Tilcon’s presentation, go to: www.plainvillect.com/pages/page_content/Plainville_home.aspx.