Neighboring communities discussing Tilcon plan

TilconBy TAYLOR HARTZ
STAFF WRITER

In February, Tilcon Connecticut proposed a project that would require them to lease watershed land owned by the City of New Britain.

Over 40-years, the crushed stone, concrete and hot asphalt mix company would use 130-acres south of their gravel mine for additional mining. In exchange, the communities of Southington, Plainville, and New Britain would gain more than 300 acres in open space.

Since the land they are looking to lease is on watershed property, it is protected land that requires a change in state law to be used as a mining site. All three communities have seen a great deal of public concern toward changing the law, losing protected land, and additional noise pollution.

On July 18, Southington resident John Sokolowski held a public information meeting at the Southington Public Library. Dozens of concerned residents, and local and state legislators, attended the meeting.

Paul Zagorsky, an attorney in Plainville, spoke on behalf of the Protect Our Watersheds CT organization. Zagorsky, a lifelong resident of New Britain, said he attended the meeting to speak out against Tilcon leasing the land.

“It will negatively effect both communities [Plainville and Southington] as the destruction of the watershed will lead to the loss of natural clean water running off that watershed into Wasal Resevoir and Crescent Lake,” said Zagorsky.

Steve Theriault, executive director of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, also expressed concerns with “the destruction of forest and wetland habitat and resulting impairment on groundwater resources as well as aesthetic.”

Originally, many town and state officials supported the additional open space that would come with the project – if the project goes through, Southington will gain 75 acres of Open Space near Crescent Lake, Plainville will gain 157 acres, and New Britain will gain 95 acres. However, after a lengthy public hearing in April, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee proposed what State Rep. David Zoni (D-Southington), a member of the committee, called a “study bill.”

This bill (Senate Bill 300) required that an independent study be conducted on the project within 180 days.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart (R) commissioned a study by Lenard Engineering, located in Glastonbury, Winsted, and Storrs, that is awaiting completion.

Lenard Engineering submitted a nine-step plan for their study to Gilbert Bligh, director of the New Britain Water Department, last month. The plan outlines the study of project start up and management, a review of quarry operations, reservoir development, and safe yield, water system planning, report preparation, an environmental review of existing conditions, a public hearing, and post submittal services.

Public hearings will be held in Southington, Plainville, and New Britain. The proposal will return to the CTGA Public Health Committee after the study is complete.

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