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CT Construction Digest Thursday October 24, 2019

Shelton couple files motion to reargue judge’s Shelter Ridge ruling
Brian Gioiele
A local couple is asking the court to reconsider its recent decision to deny an appeal of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s 2017 approval of the Shelter Ridge Planned Development District request.
The appeal, filed by John and Judith Tillman, was denied by a Hartford Superior Court judge in late September. The couple had appealed the commission’s approval of a Planned Development District for the location that would become Shelter Ridge.The couple’s attorneys filed a motion on Oct. 17 to reargue the case, stating that the judge’s decision appears to “have been based on misapprehension of facts and/or misapplication of law.” A motion to reargue must be filed no longer than 20 days after the original ruling.
The judge, in the case of John Tillman and Judith Tillman vs. The Shelton Planning & Zoning Commission, originally dismissed the couple’s appeal, stating that the “plaintiffs have failed to establish that the decision was illegal or contrary to law, the commission acted arbitrarily or in abuse of discretion, or that the decision was not supported by substantial evidence.
“This court concludes that the commission’s determination on the issues of environmental and traffic impact are supported by substantial evidence,” the ruling further stated.
The Shelton Inlands Wetlands Commission had placed a continuation of a public hearing on the Shelter Ridge development on its agenda for Thursday, but that meeting has since been canceled. No new date has been scheduled.
This motion to reargue is the latest step in a process that began more than two years ago. After six public hearings, with hundreds of people voicing opposition, the Planning & Zoning Commission approved the PDD and zone change for the Towne Center at Shelter Ridge development at its March 7, 2017 meeting. The commission approved the plan by a 4-2 vote, with commissioners Ruth Parkins, Virginia Harger, Ned Miller, and Elaine Matto voting in favor and Jimmy Tickey and Anthony Pagoda, Jr. voting against it.
The Shelton Ridge proposal would sit on 121 acres fronting Bridgeport Avenue and Mill Street. The Tillmans’ property abuts a portion of the property.
According to the plans, Shelter Ridge would be a long-term project that encompasses both residential units and retail space — 375 “upscale” apartments and 300,000 square feet of retail space, to be exact.
Residents spent months voicing concerns about the possible negative effects of the plan, saying that the Shelton Ridge development and zone change would result in an increase in the volume of traffic the city currently experiences, increase an already high density of rental housing, result in blasting and construction for up to 10 years, and pollute the Mill River as well as the habitat of local wildlife.
It was this Shelter Ridge development that gave birth to Save Our Shelton in early 2016 with a goal of promoting responsible development. Save Our Shelton was instrumental in raising funds to cover the cost of the appeal.

Stonington fishermen say wind farm developer not responding to their concerns
Julia Bergman            
Stonington — Local fishermen say they've been waiting for months for Ørsted to respond to a host of concerns they've presented  about a proposed 75-turbine wind farm about a dozen miles southwest of Martha's Vineyard.
Joe Gilbert, who has a fleet of four commercial boats based at the Stonington Town Dock, said he met with John O'Keefe, head of marine operations for Ørsted, in March to discuss the "vast" concerns that he and other fishermen have ranging from potential environmental impacts to spacing in between turbines. The meeting, which lasted several hours, was productive with O'Keefe taking copious notes, Gilbert said.
"I thought it was the beginning of an open dialogue between the wind developer and the fishermen," Gilbert said. "I understand we have to try and coexist, and these folks came down wanting to know what our issues were to hopefully work with us so we would all be good neighbors."
Gilbert said he never heard back from O'Keefe about how Ørsted plans to address the issues, even after following up multiple times with him and other company officials. Eventually, he and a group of Stonington fishermen were offered a meeting in September with Matthew Morrissey, Ørsted's head of New England markets.
They reiterated their concerns, including those that required more immediate attention, such as a close call earlier in the year between a survey vessel and a fishing vessel in the waters south of Martha's Vineyard. Gilbert said the fishing vessel tried to communicate with the survey vessel to determine right of way, but the operators on the bridge of the survey vessel, which operates under the Marshall Islands flag, did not speak English.
Morrissey "promised a two-day response" to address their concerns, Gilbert said, but he and the others still haven't heard back.
"What started out from the fishermen's perspective as an open dialogue toward coexistence became nothing but stalls and delays," Gilbert said, and that's resulted in a loss of trust among fishermen.
Lauren Burm, head of public affairs for Ørsted, in an emailed statement to The Day, did not directly address the company's alleged lack of response to the fishermen, but said "sharing marine resources is critical not only to the success of offshore wind but for larger efforts to create a sustainable energy source."
"We understand the challenges that can come with co-existence in the ocean, including Connecticut's deeply-rooted fishing industry," Burm said.
Burm said in response to feedback from fishermen and community members, Ørsted revised its turbine layout pattern to "accommodate historical fishing patterns and ease transiting."
In addition to the wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard, which will provide a combined 700 megawatts of power to Connecticut and Rhode Island, Ørsted and its partner, Eversource, last month submitted to state regulators several proposals to provide more offshore wind power to Connecticut.
Ørsted is the first in the industry to partner with the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies with an interest in improving the compatibility of new offshore development with their businesses, and recently participated in a meeting with regulators, developers and commercial fishermen to discuss ways to co-exist as we develop the offshore wind industry here in the U.S, Burm said.
"It is a work in progress, but we will continue to work with Connecticut fishermen and fishermen up and down the East Coast and listen to their questions and concerns," she said.

Hartford HealthCare, Yale New Haven to build joint $72M Wallingford cancer-treatment facility
Joe Cooper
artford HealthCare (HHC) and Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS), the state’s two largest health systems, say they are teaming up to build a $72 million, 25,000-square-foot radiation treatment center in Wallingford.
The two health systems announced Wednesday that they'll ask the state Office of Health Strategy to approve the development at 932 Northrop Road so they can bring an advanced form of cancer treatment, known as proton beam therapy, to Connecticut.
HHC and YNHH have selected Proton International as project manager and operator of the new facility.
The radiation treatment uses high-energy proton beams instead of x-rays to irradiate cancer. The main benefit of proton therapy, which is only available at a few locations in the Northeast, is that the dose is more easily controlled, officials say.
According to plans, the Wallingford facility will include treatment, control and exam rooms, and clinical space. The facility will be staffed by physicians and clinicians from HHC and YNHH, in addition to new hires.
This isn’t the first attempt to bring a proton therapy center to Connecticut.
In 2013, a Boston health services company was targeting Connecticut for an ambitious $368 million regional health technology park development that would have included construction of a proton therapy center to treat cancer patients across New England.
That project — called ProTech Park — targeted several Connecticut towns, including Enfield, but it never materialized.

White House says infrastructure projects should seek private funding
Emilie Munson
White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow has a message for states and business leaders planning the nation’s biggest infrastructure projects: we’ll cut red tape for you, but don’t expect a check from us.
“Folks, we will give you the permits,” Kudlow said at the North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. “If you can figure out how to pay for it, go on ahead and do it.”
In a speech, Kudlow emphasized that President Donald Trump is focused on deregulation and speeding up federal permitting to kickstart rail, airport and other infrastructure projects. Trump campaigned in 2016 on a promise for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, but he has yet to deliver on that goal.
In April, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with Trump and announced an agreement to pursue a $2 trillion package to upgrade American highways, bridges, railroads and broadband. But since then, talks have fizzled as Democrats and Republicans disagree on how to pay for the package. Trump also derailed talks with Schumer and Pelosi on infrastructure in May when he objected to legislative oversight of his administration and walked out.
“I hate to say this, but don’t expect too much federal financial assistance,” Kudlow told infrastructure leaders Tuesday. “We’d like to say if we had it, we’d give it to you. But we don’t have it.”
“And I wouldn’t give it to you anyway,” Kudlow added, half-joking. “But you can raise the money privately.”
The U.S. DOT did not respond for a request for comment about whether Kudlow’s comments promoting private investment in infrastructure reflects changes in their funding formulas, grant programs or policies.
Norm Anderson, CEO of CG/LA Infrastructure, an organization that advocates for doubling American infrastructure investment, said Kudlow’s comment reflects a new reality, as the federal gas tax and other sources of transportation funding dwindle.“That model doesn’t work,” Anderson said, advocating for more private investment. “We have the largest percentage of infrastructure controlled by the public sector of any place in the world, including China.”
But any limiting of federal transportation grants could spell trouble for New York projects seeking millions in federal infrastructure dollars like the long-delayed $12.7 billion Gateway Tunnel providing rail access between Newark, N.J., and New York City.
But Congress holds the power of the purse strings and sometimes finds bipartisan agreement on infrastructure issues. Lawmakers are in the early stages of sketching out their infrastructure investment vision.
In August, a Senate committee unanimously approved legislation with more money for highway reauthorization than ever before. The bill reauthorizes $287 billion to repair the nation’s road and bridges. Kudlow indicated Tuesday that Trump supports the legislation.
But the full Senate has yet to vote on the bill and multiple other Senate committees have related legislation for highway investment to develop.
"Senator Schumer is supportive of the American Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 because of its increased highway spending, which is desperately needed for Upstate New York roads, and a strong climate initiative," said Allison Biasotti, Schumer's spokesperson. "While Schumer believes that the bill, as passed through committee, is strong, it’s imperative that the other relevant committees include their transit, rail, highway, and limo safety sections before it’s enacted."
The House has yet to write its highway reauthorization legislation, even as a Sept. 2020 deadline for current authorizations to expire ticks closer, said Justin Harclerode, communications director for Republicans on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
In March, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a bill that provides for $650 million per year in additional funds to the Airport Improvement Program.  This increased investment will provide for airport, runway, and taxiway infrastructure improvements at small and large airports across the country.
Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, who holds a seat on the committee, said his focus remains on boosting federal funds for broadband for rural communities.

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