STONINGTON — Pawcatuck Landing LLC, which owns the previous Connecticut Castings Mill property at 75 Stillman Ave., notified Stonington officers Thursday that it could not grant the city any rights to entry the property.
Town officers mentioned they wanted to conduct additional testing for potential groundwater and soil contamination as a part of the Phase 2 remediation of the positioning. In Phase 1, the constructing was razed to stop contamination of the Pawcatuck River.
First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough mentioned the house owners’ determination was undoubtedly a setback in what was already anticipated to be an extended and difficult course of, and he or she has requested city attorneys to guage the city’s authorized choices.
“When I spoke with one of the owners recently, it seemed they would be willing to at least give us access to the property, but he reached out and told us they will not allow it,” Chesebrough mentioned. The information got here in an e mail. “It’s really disappointing. This was the first step of many, and now it’s another hurdle we will need to navigate.”
The manufacturing facility, which was bought by Pawcatuck Landings LLC in 2003, was inbuilt 1838 and initially operated as a water-powered woolen mill. It later grew to become a steel castings mill, which closed within the late Nineteen Nineties. The city completed demolition in September.
Part of the construction collapsed in an April 2019 storm, and the city licensed an emergency demolition at a value of $125,000 to stop lead, asbestos and PCBs from polluting the river. The Board of Finance later authorized utilizing $600,000 on the town funds to finish removing of supplies from the positioning.
Owners of Pawcatuck Landing, which is registered as a enterprise in Connecticut below Michael Pervier of Worcester, Mass., couldn’t be reached for remark.
If and when the city can acquire entry for testing, Chesebrough and Selectwoman Deb Downey mentioned there have been nonetheless various challenges forward earlier than the city can decide what might be achieved with the positioning. One of the problems, they mentioned, could be to restrict the city’s publicity to additional testing and cleanup prices, presumably by grants. The city can be looking for to recoup the 2019 prices from the house owners by tax liens and different authorized choices.
Downie mentioned she needed residents to bear in mind that latest developments have been the place to begin of what’s anticipated to be “a potentially very long process.” But all three selectwomen ran on platforms that included addressing the mill, she mentioned, they usually meant to do every thing they’ll.
“We intend to meet with state and federal representatives in the coming week and will be asking the question, ‘What are our options?'” Downie mentioned. “We need to see what type of grants or funding may be available, and what the conditions are to qualify for that funding.”
Chesebrough and Downie additionally famous that the property might now be thought of to be a floodway fairly than a floodplain. Such a designation would additional limit choices for growth, no matter whether or not the positioning stays privately owned or is acquired by the city.
Downie mentioned the city can be exploring partnerships, together with working with the University of Connecticut, which is within the web site for a brownfield case examine.
“UConn has a class that studies brownfield redevelopment. They had reached out to see if they could be part of the process because it would be a great opportunity to learn about regulations and the process for remediation, right from the beginning,” she mentioned. “It’s a partnership that would benefit everyone.”
Chesebrough mentioned the city will finally transfer ahead and can search to take action as rapidly a potential, whereas acknowledging the challenges. She and Selectwoman June Strunk mentioned Thursday that till the city can acquire entry, nevertheless, the main target will stay on working with the house owners and city attorneys to establish the neighborhood’s rights.
“The community still has its fair share of rights, as does the state, even if the owners try and tell us they won’t allow access for testing,” Strunk mentioned.