Abandoned no more? Work expected to resume soon at 197 Branchville Road

Broken rocks, hills of dirt, uncut grass...

After bothering neighbors for years with a vast collection of purchased and found objects in the yard — junk, some judged it — a property on upper Branchville Road has more recently been a concern due an appearance of abandonment by builders, mid-project.

Work is expected to resume soon, First Selectman Rudy Marconi told The Press Thursday, Aug. 8

“They’re refinancing, and work should start again in about two weeks,” Marconi said.

The first selectmen was passing along what the town building department had been told when it inquired about the status of the project at 197 Branchville Road with attorney Raymond Lemley of Branford, who represents the property owner, Branchville Development LLC.

Attorney Lemley had spoken to The Press in 2017 on behalf of Alket Dajani and Aleks Rakaj, business partners who purchased the property that July.

“They do real estate,” Lemley said at the time. “They do some development work, small projects here and there … They try to buy foreclosed houses, fix them up — they try to stick to higher-end neighborhoods — and fix them up and flip them.”

The old house on the site was demolished and new and larger house was started — but not finished. The work just stopped.

Marconi said he hadn’t gotten any formal complaints about the property recently, and the town hadn’t taken any official action concerning it. But he was aware that the project appeared to be in some kind of limbo.

“I drive by it all the time,” Marconi said. “And it’s a shame that all that work was done and it was just left as if someone didn’t come back to work.

“I would think there’s some damage of the interior — not a lot,” he said. “The house is framed out. There are windows in it, but no doors. And piles of dirt. There’s no plumbing or electrical work.”

Marconi said the permits issued by the town for construction work give applicants six months to complete projects, but builders exceed this limit fairly often and it isn’t something the town regularly goes after people for.

In the case of 197 Branchville Road, Marconi said, the town building department was told work is expected to begin again soon.

“They’re at the end of their refinancing process,” Marconi said, “and should commence work in about two weeks.”