NEW BRITAIN – After two recent public hearings at which many residents spoke in opposition of the sale, the Common Council voted against the sale of 15-acres of city-owned watershed property located in Burlington during a meeting Wednesday.
The city owns 3,067.88 acres of watershed property in Burlington, and the town of Burlington was seeking to acquire two parcels of land on Covey Road totaling 15-acres for $276,000. Alderman Carlo Carlozzi and Mayor Erin Stewart explained that there was much confusion about what Burlington wanted to do with the land. Originally the town said it would use the property to construct a little league baseball field on the property, but the municipality has since said it wants to acquire the property with unrestricted intentions.
Out of concern that Burlington would flip the property and sell it to a developer, the council voted against the sale.
The property is designated as Class-3 watershed land, which does not require approval of the proposed sale by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Since the property is located in Burlington, the municipality has the right of first refusal on the sale of the property.
In other business, the council addressed the coming Energy Innovation Park project aimed for the old Stanley Works campus during Wednesday’s meeting. The council forwarded a resolution detailing a tax assessment deferral/modification agreement with EIP Investment, LLC, to the Committee on Administration, Finance and Law for discussion.
As currently written, the resolution would authorize Mayor Erin Stewart to enter into a 27-year tax assessment deferral/modification agreement with EIP Investment, LLC. According to the draft of the agreement, EIP will make tax payments to the city starting with the October 1, 2019 grand list that will gradually increase over the next 27 years. By that date in 2021, EIP will be the second largest taxpayer in New Britain.
The Energy Innovation Park project received approval from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in June and has received widespread support for stakeholders in the city and beyond. In short, the project will convert parts of the Stanley Works campus into a 20-megawatt fuel cell park utilizing clean energy and a data storage and processing center. In total, the multi-phase project is expected to provide more than $45 million for New Britain and $200 million in revenue for the state over its construction.
In other news Wednesday, the Common Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution prohibiting the sale of gasoline for use in all-terrain vehicles and other similar vehicles. The resolution adds a section to Article VII of the city’s Code of Ordinances.
“No retail dealer of gasoline shall sell, offer for sale, or attempt to sell, any article or product represented as gasoline for use in an all-terrain vehicle, dirt bike, motor-driven cycle, mini-motorcycle, motor scooter, minibike, mini-cycle, mini sports bike, chopper scooter or pocket bike as defined in Section 15-147 of the Code of Ordinances, unless that vehicle is conveyed to and from the retailer’s premises by a registered motor vehicle as defined in G.S. (Connecticut General Statutes) § 14-1, and no individual shall purchase or attempt to purchase gasoline for this purpose,” the proposed amendment reads.
According to the amendment, an individual or retailer who violates the ordinance will be fined $250. The New Britain Police Department will enforce the ordinance. Signs reading “Fueling of Unauthorized Vehicles Prohibited” will be added to all fuel dispensing locations.
Wednesday’s resolution also amends the definition of all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike to align with Connecticut General Statutes.
This ordinance amendment aligns with the Common Council’s effort in recent years to curb unsafe driving habits of these vehicles in the city. In December 2016, the council passed an ordinance prohibiting all-terrain vehicles and similar vehicles from city property. It also gave the police authority to confiscate vehicles found in violation.
To be clear, this ordinance refers to vehicles that are unregistered to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. In other words, if you can’t get a license plate for it, you can’t drive it in New Britain.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.