Ridgefield considers selling Pond's Edge land; can lead to 100 housing units, 20 affordable

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox
Ridgefield Town Hall

Ridgefield Town Hall

FILE PHOTO

RIDGEFIELD —  The town hopes to sell a piece of property known as Pond’s Edge on 877 Ethan Allen Highway, which can lead to about 100 housing units, including as many as 20 affordable ones. 

Ponds Edge is an 8.5- to 10-acre piece of property located at the former Benrus Watch Corporation and at the entrance to the Route 7 sewer plant, which was built in the 1980s. The plant is being decommissioned and a larger sewage treatment plant is being installed, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. 

The price of the property is $441,000. Remediation would be needed to clean up contamination that has collected on the site.

The town has an agreement with the Water Pollution Control Authority that if it allocates $2.9 million —  the cost of the sewer work —  when the Pond's Edge property gets sold, the $441,000 would go back to the town's American Rescue Plan Act funds, Marconi said.

The applicant, Ridgefield Professional Office Complex, originally proposed to build 85 units on the new property. That proposal, however, was rejected by the Planning & Zoning Commission at a public hearing last June. Ridgefield Professional Office Complex has come back and included an affordability component. The total built would now be about 100 units with about 15 to 20 as affordable.

The plan would support the state's efforts to encourage towns, where less than 10 percent of its housing stock considered “affordable,” to develop more. Affordable housing is defined as costing less than 30 percent of the income of a household earning 80 percent or less of the area’s median income.

Contamination, clean-up

At the Benrus Corporation, barium was used to illuminate watches, which is what led to the contamination, Marconi said.

"Back then, the barium was just dumped on the property. Waste was just dumped into a waste pool and that's what eventually seeped into the ground and created a contamination issue," he said.

The Water Pollution Control Authority is going to cover the cost of all the remediation, Marconi said.

"We're responsible for the cleanup of the sewer plant and any associated potential contamination relative to the sewer plant. That's part of the contract with the contractor for the demolition," Marconi said. "We are not responsible for any pre-existing contamination, which we know is on that site."

Marconi will show a draft of the contract with the applicant to the town's attorneys. If it's approved, a date for a public hearing will be set. As part of the agreement, any work that needs to be done to the property must take place by Dec. 31 2024. 

CORRECTION: An original version of this article incorrectly reported information related to the town's ownership of Pond's Edge. The town aims to sell the property.