Developer could purchase Ridgefield sewage treatment site to build multifamily development

Photo of Alyssa Seidman
Ridgefield’s District II sewer plant on Route 7. Wednesday, September 22, 2021, Ridgefield, Conn.

Ridgefield’s District II sewer plant on Route 7. Wednesday, September 22, 2021, Ridgefield, Conn.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

RIDGEFIELD — The site of the town’s District II sewage treatment plant, expected to come offline next year, is under negotiations to be sold to Ridgefield Professional Office Complex, LLC.

The entity has been authorized to include the premises (877 Ethan Allen Highway) in an application relative to the site, according to a recent letter from First Selectman Rudy Marconi to the Planning & Zoning Commission.

The entity owns a large triangular parcel of land between Routes 35 and 7. It includes Little Pond and the medical office complex at 901 Ethan Allen Highway. A little more than 2 acres in the middle of the parcel, where the sewer plant is located, is owned by the town.

Last fall, Richard Lipton, who represents the entity, came before the commission with a “pre-concept” for a residential project provided a purchase of the sewer plant property was successful and a zone change was approved.

The plan comprised a multifamily development to be built in the wooded section of the parcel closer to Route 35, Planning & Zoning Chairman Robert Hendrick said. Commissioners provided feedback on the arrangement of the homes, advising Lipton to consider other layouts, and also cautioned “sensitivity” relative to wetlands and the pond, Hendrick said.

A majority of the parcel is zoned as B-2, which means residential is generally not permitted. Two portions of the parcel are designated as open space.

“The plan could change since we’ve had no further discussion with him, but (the letter) signals that something is moving forward,” Hendrick said. “We don’t know exactly at this point.”

Marconi said the property will be purchased for the same price it was appraised for: $441,000.

The sale is related to the town’s ongoing sewer project. A top-to-bottom renovation of the District I plant on South Street is nearly 60 percent complete, and construction of a new pump station and force-main sewer line on Route 7 is expected to begin soon. The goal is to close the District II plant and pipe that wastewater to South Street for treatment through the new line.

“We cannot decommission the plant until the pump line is installed and the pump station is operational,” Marconi explained. “Once that project is complete … there will be no effluent flow into that facility, and we will begin razing (it). … Once it has been demolished and the property leveled, I would assume that the sale would take place.”

Hearst Connecticut Media asked Marconi why the site had not been considered for sale on the open market. He noted that beyond its easement for sewer trucks to get to and from the plant, there is no other access point.

“I don’t know anyone who would want to buy that property,” he said. “As the owners of the property we’re giving the applicant the permission to go forward with their application.”