Aug. 29--ANSONIA -- Construction of the Fountain Lake Industrial Park is expected to begin in the coming months after the Planning and Zoning Commission approved developer Robert Scinto's plans for the 44-acre site off Route 8, dismissing a neighbor's complaint that the project will leave him landlocked.
The commission voted unanimously Monday to approve the first portion of the new industrial complex, which will be built on hilly terrain off Great Hill Road, in the northern end of the city. Scinto plans to build a 30,000-square-foot office building and road on the property, as well as prepare two other lots for construction.
"I'm delighted and looking forward to a great project," Scinto said Tuesday. "We're in the engineering phase right now."
The approval may face a challenge, however. George J. Shuster, of Oxford, who owns about 13 acres of undeveloped land north of Fountain Lake, maintains his property will be landlocked under the Fountain Lake development plan. At a meeting earlier this month, Shuster asked Scinto to amend a planned road so it reached the Scinto/Shuster property line, allowing better access to Shuster's property.
Scinto said Wednesday that he doesn't intend to change his road plans, but would like to "work out something" with Shuster. Scinto acquired the 44-acre Fountain Lake from the city last year for $1.12 million. It is his first venture in Ansonia. Corporation Counsel Kevin Blake said in a letter that the PZC did not have to require Scinto to give up a parcel for a road that was not proposed. He added that the Shuster property is not landlocked, but Shuster could make a claim for an easement based on necessity through the courts.
"This commission is not the proper venue for the determination of property rights as they affect title and easements," Blake said.
Shuster disagreed with Blake's assessment.
"I'm a small property owner and I'm faced with a Goliath, and what the town did was completely wrong," he said. Shuster did not say if he would take legal action against the city, but referred all comments to his attorney, George Mendillo, of Woodbury. Mendillo could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Scinto's approval from the PZC comes with several conditions, including that blasting on the property be limited from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and that truck traffic to the site be restricted after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Scinto also cannot do construction on weekends and holidays and must implement noise abatements and have dust control measures. He has until the end of 2011 to finish the first phase.
"We'll start maybe three to four months from now," Scinto said. "I think everything they asked me to do is reasonable."
PZC Chairman Bart Flaherty said he likes the rules the commission has in place. "I hope he gets it done in two years," Flaherty said. "I think that's a good time frame. This is very positive for the city of Ansonia."
When complete, the project is expected to generate millions in tax revenue for the city.
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