Officials are moving forward with development plans for Lake Compounce, but action on the approval to remove 61,000 yards of material for potential amusement park expansion was tabled by the Planning and Zoning Commission last week.
Andrew Quirk of Kratzert, Jones and Associates, spoke before the commission during the July 18 meeting regarding earth excavation at the site on 2304 Mount Vernon Rd. KJA is a civil engineering, land surveying, building engineering and site planning company located in Southington.
Festival Fun Parks, LLC, owner of Lake Compounce, purchased roughly eight acres of land from Briarwood Real Estate in April with the intention to expand their facility. The parcel, just south of the lake and located across from Lincoln College of New England, is on the Southington side of the park.
Situated at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Welch roads, the property is bordered to the north and west by Festival Fun Parks, but it is bordered by residential properties to the west and the south with Mount Vernon Road to the east.
“The earth excavation is proposed in three phases, with any particular phase to be less than two acres at a time,” Quirk told the commission.
With the proposed plan, all trees on the parcel’s southern and western borders would remain in place. An initial step would be creating an emergency access road from Welch Road, which Quirk said would be a better location than where the current one is.
“That provides access to the park in the event of emergencies as well as fire department access for their fireworks show that they have,” said Quirk. The road would not be paved, just as Lake Compounce’s existing emergency access is not paved.
Echoing statements after their April purchase, Lake Compounce officials said there are no definitive plans for the land at this time.
“There’s been contemplation of maybe a parking area, picnic area or possible amusement expansion but there’s nothing definitive at this time, and that’s not part of this application,” Quirk said.
The public hearing was strictly for approval of the excavation, and PZC chair Mike DelSanto said the commission has to make a decision based on that.
“Not for parking, rides, or anything else,” said the chair.
A letter of support was submitted to the PZC from Briarwood Real Estate, but over a dozen residents appeared at the meeting to submit letters and speak against the proposal. They were all residents of Mount Vernon Road and Panthorn Trail.
Most of the residents against the application spoke about well water being disrupted, the loss of privacy, and continuing noise and dust from construction projects over the years. They also questioned the need for an earth excavation when there are no plans for development and an emergency access road already exists.
Should Lake Compounce decide on use for the land and plan to move forward, it will require a public hearing before the commissioners. The hearing last week was closed, and officials voted to table the application after hearing concerns from residents before posing their own questions about the project.
DelSanto said that Lake Compounce officials and those working on the project will address the concerns.
“We believe they are going to reach out to residents,” he said.
The application will be picked up again at the Aug. 15 meeting.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.