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Letter: Country Club of Woodbridge – Constructability Review

At the February 13 Woodbridge Board of Selectmen (BoS) meeting, copies of the Country Club of Woodbridge (CCW) Constructability Review were made public.  Evidently, this had just been received by the BoS prior to the meeting so no one had time to review it and comment on it.

This three-page document was created by Land Use Analyst Kristine Sullivan, consultant Jim Pretti, PE, and Terry Gilbertson, the town’s Building Official.  The review was limited to the two proposals currently under consideration for development of some of the CCW parcel.

It recommends the need to hire a traffic consultant to prepare a detailed study on the effect on state and local roads as well as the need for a State Traffic Commission Certificate.  It speaks to the obtuse angle at Rimmon Road, Ansonia Road and Fountain Street, along with the Park Lane and Woodfield Road intersections.  It even suggests the need for a traffic circle in this area!  Additionally, it suggests considering having the main entrance on Woodfield Road, not Ansonia Road.

The study report also addresses the wetlands and the need for a Woodbridge Inland Wetlands Agency permit as well as eventually an accurate surveyed wetland mapping.  It acknowledges onsite strings and intermittent streams, as well as the head waters of an extensive wetland system, and the criticality of understanding how these wetlands would continue to work with the proposals.  Additionally, stormwater must be considered such as directing to the wetland system near Johnson Road.

Additional sections address Fire Protection, Public Sewer, Electricity and Zoning, as well as Sale of Town Property.

As we know the CCW is presently zoned as a Residential A District that allows a single-family dwelling with restrictions on lot size, slopes, wetlands, setbacks and potential easements for ingress and egress, etc.  It acknowledges that development on the parcel would require the Town Plan and Zoning Commission’s approval to change the present zoning and the proposed regulation change needs to be in conformance with the Town Plan of Conservation and Development.  It further goes on to suggest the consideration of a Planned Development District.

I have addressed concerns on the development of the CCW in two earlier Letters to the Editor including the special significance and incredible historical significance of this property, and the incongruity of the potential development with surrounding homes and parcel.  This type of development belongs in the Village District Bradley Road area, not along Ansonia and Woodfield Roads.

The town is successfully paying down the August 28, 2009 acquisition cost for the CCW.  The golf course can be reconstructed and put on a plan to become profitable in a finite time.  The pool should be renovated to serve as an outdoor pool option for Woodbridge residents once again.  And yes, the clubhouse should be brought back to life one way or other as a Banquet/Restaurant facility such as what is offered at Traditions Restaurant at Oak Lane and maybe with a coffee shop to serve as a go-to location for Woodbridge residents.

Either sale with a development restriction to a golf operator, or long-term lease will take care of the golf club, to cover the need for certainty to book recurring events.  A long-term deal can be negotiated with a banquet facility operator too.

I have previously advocated the BoS for a Business Plan for the CCW.  It seems there is no interest or knowledge about this.  Therefore, request for proposals for management/purchase of all three entities should be considered.  Whatever plan the BoS decides on, putting the flawed proposals to a referendum does not acknowledge the previous commitments by townspeople to maintain this beautiful parcel as open space.  If the BoS decides on any further study, it must consider the existing zoning regulations without modification.

We all also must acknowledge that any tax reduction or savings, if it ever occurs, will be insignificant, so those that are concerned about rising property taxes need to look elsewhere.

This is not a Republican nor Democrat issue, we can all achieve common ground.  I suggest that a series of moderated public information sessions be scheduled to inform all with the truth.

Richard J. Forselius

 

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