Are there any easements on the property that prevent the Town from fully using the site?
YES. There is an easement designed to protect the property at 1 Mountain Spring and various utility and access easements and restrictions. The Town is in the process of conducting a title search which will identify all encumbrances.
Are there any wetlands or floodplain on the property?
There are no inland wetlands or watercourses on the property. There are no areas of 100-year flood plain on the property as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Are there grants available to help clean up the property?
Yes, there are grants available for assessment and remediation of 'brownfield' properties. Farmington has never pursued this funding but staff members do have extensive experience applying for and administering State brownfield grants.
Can the Town use the needed environmental clean-up costs to reduce the purchase price?
Yes, it is anticipated that the Town will retain a Licensed Environmental Professional (LEP) to secure an official LEP summary and opinion of what needs to be done on the site. It is likely the Town can secure an exemption from the Property Transfer Program pursuant to recent statutory amendments that seek to encourage the redevelopment of impaired properties. The Town will be asking for a reduction in purchase price and liability protections from the State which can be passed on to a future developer.
Has the Town considered the traffic impact?
Yes, the Town conducted a traffic study which evaluated the development of the site in accordance with the most detailed concept plan. The study can be found on the Town web site at the following link: Traffic Study.
Has there been a professional market study performed?
Yes, Realty Concepts performed an extensive market analysis. You can view the market study through the Town's website.
Has there been any input from Farmington residents into the process?
Yes, the Town conducted public workshops and meetings over the past 3 years. Over 500 residents have participated in one way or another. All workshops and meetings included extensive public notice and participation. The design workshops were on: March 26th, 2015- over 200 participants, March 27th 2015 ' over 60 participants, March 28th 2015 - over 100 participants, September 11, 2015 - over 100 participants. The public participation process won a state-wide award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Has there been any thought as to how the entire area should be developed?
Yes three (3) different conceptual plans have been prepared as part of the Town's public outreach process.
How did the State become the owner of the Parsons property?
The state acquired the Parsons property, the building and the Parsons Chevrolet /Oldsmobile dealership using its power of eminent domain for public transportation improvements.
How much did the State pay for the property?
Available public records indicate the State paid $925,000 for the property and the business in 2009.
How much will it cost the Town to buy the property?
Per the Special Act, the initial offer from the State will be the average of the two independent appraisals.
Is the State done working in the area?
The State Department of Transportation (DOT) and its contractor Tilcon, are finishing up the final punch list items, including replacing top soil and dead, dying, and inappropriate landscape materials.
What about the neighboring properties? Who owns them? Are they available?
The adjoining properties are owned by the Farmington Historical Society and Norton Lane Properties Inc.
What does the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) say regarding the property?
The POCD, adopted in 2018 by the Plan and Zoning Commission, strongly encourages the redevelopment of the parcel in accordance with the current zoning, the conceptual plans and the award winning public outreach process.
What happens if the Town declines to purchase the property?
In the worst case, the State could choose to utilize the parcel for some purpose. (Commuter parking, salt storage building, DOT maintenance facility, etc.) That use would be exempt from zoning and design regulations and tax exempt. The State could auction the property to the highest bidder and the Town would have no control over who the developer is or what is proposed. Some experienced developers have suggested it is a good pharmacy site. The development would be subject to the zoning regulations, but if it complies with the regulations the Commission must approve.
What is the environmental condition of the property?
The Town conducted a phase one environmental site assessment which documented the existing conditions and evaluated the work performed by the State. The report identifies Areas of Concern (AOC) which have been evaluated. The remediation is not complete.' The DOT only investigated and remediated what they 'touched' along the proposed roadway. They did not 'chase' the contamination for full cleanup. There is other missing documentation regarding soil disposal. Because of the former auto body operation the site it is currently a property subject to the CT Transfer Act.
What is the process for Farmington to acquire the property from the State?
Special Legislative Act No. 15-1, which was approved in the June 2015 special session of the CT Legislature and signed by the Governor, gives the Town right of first refusal to purchase property. Once the DOT Commissioner declares the property surplus and not needed for highway purposes the DOT will perform two independent appraisals of the property and offer it to the Town.
What is the zoning for the property?
The property is zoned Farmington Center with a Farmington Village District overlay zone.
Will the new signs the State installed that obstruct people walking on the sidewalk be removed?
All signs placed within the travel way of the sidewalk will be reviewed. Unnecessary signs will be removed and required signs will be modified to clear the travel way.
Will there be better landscaping and flowers planted?
Yes, the Town is committed to the beautification of this gateway and the Committee has established a Quality of Life sub 'committee to determine the most appropriate landscape and gateway features. It is anticipated that the sub-committee will be retaining a landscape architecture firm to advise the Town.