Zone change approved for Miller Rd. development

Approval for a zoning change to allow development of age restricted housing just north of the Bethany-Beacon Falls border was granted recently by the Beacon Falls Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Chatfield Estates (known earlier as Woodhaven Estates) will be accessed through Miller Road in Bethany and Skokorat Road in Seymour. Over 60 residents of the Miller Road neighborhood signed a petition protesting the use of that road for the proposed 266-unit condominium.

Throughout the public hearings, Miller Road was to be an emergency access only, but Jeff Burkett, Chairman of the Beacon Falls Planning and Zoning Commission, told the Bulletin, "We feel it would be good for Miller Road to be open. It would give people access to get out that way. We could get through to help you in Bethany also. It could benefit Bethany…and the Woodhaven Golf Course could benefit economically."

Burkett said Bethany's Selectmen could upgrade Miller Road if there were concerns about it.

The developer, Burkett said, has proposed to put up land for a firehouse. The Town of Bethany had testified during the public hearing, that the Hinman Road firehouse was the closest to the site and would be first responders to emergencies at Chatfield Estates, straining Bethany's volunteer resources.

The application still has to go through wetlands approval and back to the TPZ with site plans, but Burkett said, "This is probably one of the most environmentally sensitive plans I've seen….the land coverage is under 25 percent."

Reporting on developments at a recent Board of Selectman meeting, First Selectwoman Derrylynn Gorski, said the town is considering an appeal, as are several other parties. Town Attorney Kevin McSherry, who is reviewing the application and decision, told the Board of Selectmen that the application for a special permit will have to deal with the impact of the entire project.