Cheshire PZC closes hearing on divisive subdivision plan


CHESHIRE — The Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on a controversial proposed subdivision officially ended this week.

Now, residents opposed to the proposal await the group’s decision.

The plan, which calls for a 34-unit subdivision, named Whispering Oaks, to be built at 648 Wallingford Road, for those 55 and older, has garnered backlash since first being proposed this spring. On Monday night, residents once again turned out to Town Hall to express concerns over the impact on the surrounding area. 

At the July 12 PZC meeting, the applicant, Lovley Development Inc., from Southington, provided commissioners with multiple experts who testified that the plan is appropriate for the area and would not create traffic or water drainage issues. However, on Monday, residents continued to question those conclusions.

“I just don’t have any confidence in any of the reports that were completed by the engineering firms hired by the developer,” said Charles Martin. “How can I not believe that they are biased? None of us here believe their reports.”

Engineer Andrew Quirk, one of the architects for the project, reiterated that the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, after reviewing the proposal, has already deemed that the project “would not create a substantial risk of damage to any of the abutting properties” and that the project would actually decrease water flow in that area. 

“You’re telling me that 34 homes with 34 sump pumps will pump water out to nowhere?” asked David Schrumm. “I went to high school at Cheshire High, and there I learned that matter cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change. Where is all that water going to go?”

Commissioner Matt Bowman took issue with Schrumm’s assertions, explaining that Cheshire has one of the best sewer and water systems in the state.

Resident and lawyer Rob Wichowski, who previously presented the PZC with a petition opposing the project signed by 200 residents, said there is no need for this type of development in town. 

“The change from an R-40 zone to an ARPD (Age Restricted Planned Residential Development) is not necessary,” Wichowski explained. “Cheshire has a young population and they are going to leave if we have all these age-restricted developments in town.”

Commissioner Sean Strollo responded by explaining how the demographics of Cheshire are changing. 

“People are getting older, Cheshire is becoming more densely populated. This is something that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for Cheshire, and other communities like it,” he said. 

Another resident, Mike Galecki, took issue with Strollo’s categorization of Cheshire’s population.

“I don’t think we are getting older. I have kids who I know want to raise their families here one day,” he said. “What farms are even going to be left in town if this is all done? I live on a 30-acre farm, but it’s one of the last remaining ones in town.”

A vote on the project could occur at the next meeting for the PZC, the date of which has yet to be announced.

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