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Concerns Abound Over 300-Unit Housing Development in Windsor

A lack of preparedness on behalf of the applicant and concerns over traffic contributed to the decision to postpone a public hearing on The Village at Poquonock proposal by one month.

A 300-residential unit project planned for Poquonock Avenue met resistance at Tuesday night's meeting of the town planning and zoning commission. Residents packed town hall council chambers to express their concerns — and there were many concerns — with the proposed Village at Poquonock, which could change the historic neighborhood for ever.

Among those residents in attendance was Kathy Phelps, who identified herself as a descendant of one of Windsor's founders; as a woman who has spent her entire life in town.

"I look at that sign and it says "The first English settlement in Connecticut," Phelps told the commission pointing to the town seal. "That should mean something. That should really mean something. We're losing that in Windsor."

Phelps continued, imploring the commission to "leave Poquonock alone." She's fine with the town approving projects in the Day Hill Road area — Windsor's corporate area — but she wants to maintain the historic and small town feel in her neighborhood, she said.

Phelps was one of nearly a dozen residents to address the commission during the public hearing — most presenting questions in an effort to learn more about the large-scale project rather than expressing an outright opposition to it.

Represented in residents' concerns were three familiar topics when new projects are proposed: traffic, schools and socio-economic status of those who would move in.

With the planned construction of eight two-story apartment buildings in an area populated by single-family homes and relatively sizable land plots, a few residents expressed wishes to learn the anticipated rental price of the properties — information that may give insight into the types of neighbors they could soon have and what impact those neighbors may have on the neighborhood.

The prospect of introducing apartments to Windsor's housing landscape, something that hasn't been done in four decades, is a topic of contention on an annual basis.

Just 14 months ago, a hesitation to approve rental properties based on the welcoming of families who may not be looking to settle down in Windsor was clear when a developer's plan to construct apartments on Mechanic Street was being considered.

Residents also questioned traffic studies commissioned by the applicant — questions that peaked the interest of Town Planner Eric Barz, who said he would like answers to those questions, as well, and would like to take some time to look into them on an independent basis.

In particular, Barz said he would be interested in learning the impact the proposed development would have on traffic on River Street.

The majority of residents who expressed concern over an influx in traffic on Poquonock Avenue, one of Windsor's main roads, said the traffic study, which was conducted over the summer, was done at the wrong time of year.

The study should have been conducted while school was in session, some residents said, explaining that traffic picks up significantly during the academic year.

With a need to address traffic concerns and receive more information with respect to the inland and wetlands office's analysis of the project, the planning and zoning commission decided to postpone the hearing until its next scheduled meeting, which will be held on November 13.

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