Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Army Reserve Training Center Advisory Board Recommendations

September 10, 2008

Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano
City of Middletown
245 DeKoven Drive
Middletown, CT 06457

Re: Evaluation and Ranking of Middletown Sites

Dear Mayor Giuliano,
The Mayor’s Advisory Panel (“the Panel”) thanks you for the opportunity to provide an objective evaluation of potential sites in Middletown for the Army Regional Training Facility in a collaborative spirit. Attachment 1 presents a summary of the Advisory Panel’s review and conclusions. It was the Panel’s goal to provide a recommendation for the Army facility that has the least impact on the environment, enhances Middletown in a meaningful way, creates economic opportunities for the City and is consistent with sound land planning.


With the assistance of W. Warner (Director, Planning, Conservation and Development) the Panel identified approximately 55 sites having a total area over 25 acres, the minimum requirement as specified by the Army. From this list over 40 sites were initially removed due to several fundamental concerns such as a sites residential zone, impact on neighborhoods, isolation, extensive wetlands, floodplains, etc. The remaining list contained fourteen (14) sites (one site had two access options). A screening of these sites removed ten (10) from further consideration for multiple reasons including sale pending, abutting existing open space, prior delisting by the Army, prior Common Council opposition, topographic constraints or lack of an appropriate size. One property, Pratt and Whitney was also rejected because in our opinion the remediation of the site would clearly exceed the Army’s timeline for development.
As a result of this review process four (4) sites remained for the Panel to evaluate in greater detail using the following criteria: Least Significant Environmental Impact; Enhances Middletown in a Meaningful Way; Creates Economic Opportunities; and, Consistency with Sound Land Planning; The sites are the Manthay Property, Bysiewicz Property, CL&P River Road Property and Cucia Park. Each panel member rated each site and criteria from 0 – 10 (highest value). One panel member was out of the city and could not participate but was in agreement with the panel findings. In total, six (6) panel members and the Director of Planning, Conservation and Development provided scores (Total, 7). The scores were averaged and totaled to arrive at a final score.

Key Findings

The Panel’s key findings are summarized below:

Cucia Park (#1, Score 34.6)
• Exceeds Army minimum area requirements
• Zoned industrial
• Easy access to I-91 from the north and south
• No residential neighborhoods impacted
• Site bordered by industrial land and I-91
• Utilities (water, sewer) adjacent to the property
• No loss of tax revenue
• Potential for broad community support
• Potential revenue generator for the City
• On an existing public transportation route

CL&P River Road (#2, Score 25.1)
• Site far exceeds Army minimum area requirements
• Closest site to the downtown central business district; could spur economic growth
• Reasonably close proximity to Rte 9
• Adjacent to and in close proximity to two electric generating power plants
• Zoned industrial
• Distressed area due to the former Feldspar mining operations
• No residential neighborhoods impacted
• Careful siting of facility could minimize environmental concerns
• A unique opportunity for the Army to preserve the majority of the land for open space

Bysiewicz Property (#3, Score 13.4)
• Approved commercial and industrial subdivision and represents significant industrial growth opportunity
• Major economic loss to the city

Manthay Property (#4, Score 6.1)
• Adjoins residential neighborhood and zone
• Highly visible to residential area
• Significant wetlands present
• Potential significant loss of tax revenue

The Panel believes this was a fair, balanced and objective process. Given the information provided to us, we believe both Cucia Park and the CL&P River Road property stand above all others in the city. From a strictly community perspective, we believe both are suitable for development. The Bysiewicz and Manthay properties were markedly lower in the scoring and only included to maintain consistency in the ranking process. The Panel feels both properties should be removed from further consideration given their extremely low scores.
We understand that our recommendations will be considered by the Army in a process which is mutually cooperative. It is our expectation that the site selection process be open and collaborative. In addition, we request that the entire Middletown community be fully engaged in the project throughout the site selection, design and construction phases.

We would be pleased to meet with you should you have any questions regarding this report. Again, the Advisory Panel thanks you for providing us the opportunity to serve the City of Middletown.

Respectively Submitted,
Hugh Cox
Philip J. Pessina, Councilman
Stephen H. Devoto
Bryan K. Pollard
Ronald P. Klattenberg, Councilman
Arline Rich
Nancy Newman


Anonymous said...

Shoulda' Stepped in it Sooner.

A lot of doody-full labor went into these findings. All choices are about 5 miles and 10 minutes from town. One has been "found" advantageous on account of being closest...Doesn't the Connecticut River qualify as some sort of "wetland"?...Some sites are positively "zoned industrial" and others in the same zoning category are faulted for "represents significant industrial growth opportunity"... There were so many "findings" for some sites and so few for others.

Cucia Park is listed as more than 40 acres. Why did it take so long to to "find" it?

Keep you soles clean.

Jasper Cane

Anonymous said...

I would bet you that there would have been plenty of environmentalists or South Middletown residents who would have been eager to fill in for the absentee-balloting Advisory Panel member. The Panel's sermon was well-received by its choir, including obedience to the do-not- mention forbidding of the most sustainable, "closest", brownfield, re-use site of all, Mile Lane.

Anonymous said...

I remember that #2 was "delisted by the Army" and declared "unbuildable". Why did it stay under consideration by the Advisory Board?