CEQ: Environmental Monitor - Current Issue

{Environmental Monitor}
 
 October 8, 2019
 
NOTE: New Regulations for the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) were approved in September 2019. The Regulations provide for more categories of notice about the status of proposed State actions, than in the past. The new categories are included in this edition.
 
 
   NEW! 1) Notice of Scoping for the Berlin TOD Boulevard Project, Berlin.
 
 
   No Notice for additional time has been submitted for publication in this edition.
 
 
   NEW! 1) Post-Scoping Notice for I-95 Interchange 74 Improvements at Route 161, East Lyme. 
 

   No EIE Notice has been submitted for publication in this edition.
    
 
   No Record of Decision has been submitted for publication in this edition.
 
 
   No Determination of Adequacy has been submitted for publication in this edition.
 
 
   NEW! 1) Former University of Connecticut Torrington Campus.
 
 
The next edition of the Environmental Monitor will be published on October 22, 2019.  
 
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Notices in the Environmental Monitor are written and formatted by the sponsoring agencies and are published unedited. Questions about the content of any notice should be directed to the sponsoring agency.
 
Inquiries and requests to view or copy documents, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, must be submitted to the sponsoring state agency.

 
 
Scoping Notices
 
"Scoping" is for projects in the earliest stages of planning.  At the scoping stage, detailed information on a project's design, alternatives, and environmental impacts does not yet exist.  Sponsoring agencies are asking for comments from other agencies and from the public as to the scope of alternatives and environmental impacts that should be considered for further study.  Send your comments to the contact person listed for the project by the date indicated. Read  More
 

The Following Scoping Notice has been submitted for publication in this edition.


1) Notice of Scoping for the Berlin TOD Boulevard Project


Municipality where proposed project might be located: Berlin

Address of Possible Project Location: 889 and 903 Farmington Avenue, Berlin

Project Description: The Department of Economic and Community Development (CT DECD) will be administering a grant to the Town of Berlin for the development of a boulevard from Farmington Avenue to the Berlin Train Station. The boulevard will be constructed on parts of the Town owned sites at 889 and 903 Farmington Avenue and will connect to the Berlin Train Station site through property owned by the State of Connecticut. The boulevard was originally funded by a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) Grant in 2014 and was intended to provide a second means of access and egress Train Station and to the Berlin Steel site to the north of the Train Station. The Connecticut Department of Transportation significantly expanded parking at the Train Station to accommodate the increased demand expected to be generated by the CTrail Hartford commuter rail line. The Berlin Station is now accessed only via the private Depot Road that is shared with Berlin Steel and the boulevard will provide a second means to access both the Train Station and Berlin Steel properties.

The Town recently entered into an agreement with Newport Realty Group (Newport) to sell four properties at 861, 889, 903 and 913 Farmington Avenue (less the portion of 889 and 903 Farmington Avenue reserved for the boulevard).  Newport will be developing these parcels into a transit-oriented development (TOD) that includes development of 19,000 square feet of commercial space and 76 market rate apartment units.  Newport also plans to retain and renovate the existing building at 861 Farmington Avenue.  The proposed boulevard will now also serve the privately-funded TOD project in addition to providing access to the Train Station and the Berlin Steel site.  The scope and the cost of the boulevard project has expanded since 2014 when the STEAP grant was awarded, to accommodate the proposed private TOD-development.  It may be noted that the Berlin Steel site that can be accessed via the boulevard is also being targeted by the Town for a potential future TOD project. 

The boulevard right-of-way will be 68 feet in width. The pavement width will be designed to accommodate two travel lanes plus diagonal parking. The boulevard will also include sidewalks and streetscape amenities.  Underground utilities will be constructed including sanitary sewer, water, storm drainage, natural gas and electric.  The boulevard construction may be phased to accommodate the phased construction of the TOD development.  The Town will be in charge of the maintenance of the boulevard except for the sidewalks.  Newport will take up the responsibility of sidewalk maintenance once the boulevard is built-out as part of the Purchase and Sales agreement with the Town of Berlin.

Apart from the STEAP grant, the boulevard project could be funded from other state and local programs/funding sources.

Project Maps:  Click here to view a map of the project area. Click here to view a site plan of the proposed project.

Written comments from the public are welcomed and will be accepted until the close of business on:  Thursday, November 7, 2019 

Any person can ask the sponsoring agency to hold a Public Scoping Meeting by sending such a request to the address below.  If a meeting is requested by 25 or more individuals, or by an association that represents 25 or more members, the sponsoring agency shall schedule a Public Scoping Meeting.  Such requests must be made by Friday, October 18, 2019.

Written comments and/or requests for a Public Scoping Meeting should be sent to:

Name: Mark Burno, Project Manager (Technical)
Agency: CT Dept. of Economic and Community Development
Address:  
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 5
Hartford CT 06103
E-Mail: mark.burno@ct.gov

If you have questions about the the scoping for this project, contact:

Name: Binu Chandy, Deputy Director
Agency: CT Dept. of Economic and Community Development
Address:  
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 5
Hartford CT 06103
Phone: 860.500.2454
E-Mail: binu.chandy@ct.gov

What Happens Next: The agency will make a determination whether to proceed with preparation of an Environmental Impact Evaluation or a Post-Scoping Notice within six months. The decision will appear in the Environmental Monitor.


 
Scoping Notice - Post-Scoping Notice (Need More Time)
 
If an agency is unable to publish a Post-Scoping Notice within six months after the comment period for scoping, the agency will publish an update with an action status and an estimate as to when a Post-Scoping Notice will be published. Such an update will be published by the agency at six-month intervals until the Post-Scoping Notice is published. Read More
 

No Notice for additional time has been submitted for publication in this edition.

 

 
 
Post-Scoping Notices
 
A Post-Scoping Notice is the determination by a sponsoring agency, after publication of a Scoping Notice and consideration of comments received, whether an Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) needs to be prepared for a proposed State action. Read More
 

The following Post-Scoping Notice has been submitted for publication in this edition.

 


1) Post-Scoping Notice for I-95 Interchange 74 Improvements at Route 161


Project Title:  I-95 Interchange 74 Improvements at Route 161 and Replacement of Bridge No. 00250


Municipality where project will be located: East Lyme


CEPA Determination:  On May 7, 2019 the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) published a Notice of Scoping  to solicit public comments for this project in the Environmental Monitor.  In addition to comments received from the general public, CTDOT received comments from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.  The CTDOT has taken all comments into consideration and has concluded that the project does not require the preparation of Environmental Impact Evaluation under CEPA.


The agency's conclusion is documented in a Memo of Findings and Determination and Environmental Assessment Checklist.


If you have questions about the project, you can contact the agency at:


Name: Kevin Fleming, Transportation Planner II

Agency: Connecticut Department of Transportation, Office of Environmental Planning

Address: 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Phone: (860) 594-2924



What happens next:
The Connecticut Department of Transportation expects the project to go forward. This is expected to be the final notice of the project to be published in the Environmental Monitor.


 

 
EIE Notices
 
After Scoping, an agency that wishes to undertake an action that could significantly affect the environment must produce, for public review and comment, a detailed written evaluation of the expected environmental impacts. This is called an Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE).  Read More
 

No EIE Notice has been submitted for publication in this edition.

 

 
Agency Record of Decision
 
After an EIE is developed, an agency will prepare a concise public record of decision, which takes into consideration the agency’s findings in the Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE), and comments received on that evaluation. Read More
 

No Agency Record of Decision has been submitted for publication in this edition.

 

  
OPM's Determination of Adequacy
 
After an EIE is developed. the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) will determine if the Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) is adequate. If not, OPM will specify the areas of inadequacy with reference to CEPA or the CEPA regulations and specify the corrective action required. Read More
 

No Determination of Adequacy has been submitted for publication in this edition.

 

 
State Land Transfer Notices
 
Connecticut General Statutes Section 4b-47  requires public notice of most proposed sales and transfers of state-owned lands. The public has an opportunity to comment on any such proposed transfer. Each notice includes an address where comments should be sent. Read more about the process.
 

The Following State Land Transfer Notice has been submitted for publication in this edition.

1) Notice of Proposed Land Transfer, Torrington

Complete Address of Property:  843-855 and 852 University Drive, Torrington, CT


Commonly used name of property or other identifying information: 
Former University of Connecticut Torrington Campus (the “Campus Property”)


Number of acres to be transferred: 
95.25 acres total. 843-855 and 852 University Drive consist of 91 acres and 4.25 acres, respectively.


Click to view map of property location
 

 Description of Property


Below is some general information about the property.  It should not be considered a complete description of the property and should not be relied upon for making decisions.  If only a portion of a property is proposed for transfer, the description pertains only to the portion being transferred.

Brief Description of Historical and Current Uses:  Before 1965, the Campus Property was undeveloped.  It was acquired by the University of Connecticut (“UConn”) in the 1960s for the purpose of establishing a branch campus in Torrington.  The Campus Property now consists of approximately 95 acres of land.  There are two buildings on the Campus Property: the campus’s former classroom building (the “Classroom Building”) and an agricultural center that hosts UConn’s Extension program (the “Extension Center”).

The Classroom Building was built and opened for use in 1965 and was used by UConn to host academic programs and other campus activities until the campus closed in the Spring 2016.  The Extension Center was built and opened for use in 2001 and continues to be used by UConn as an agricultural center in furtherance of UConn’s support of agricultural activities in Litchfield County.  UConn will continue to use the Extension Center for such purposes following the transfer of the Campus Property.

The Classroom Building and the Extension Center are located on 91 acres of land at the 843-855 University Drive location.  A parking lot and a cell tower are also located at this location.  The remainder of this location consists of approximately 85 acres of unimproved wooded land (the “Unimproved Land”).

The 852 University Drive location is across the street from the main portion of the former campus.  This location consists of 4.25 acres of land that includes at least a portion of the underground septic system that services the Classroom Building and the Extension Center.

The property to be transferred contains the following:

Structures:             Buildings in use   Buildings not in use       No Structures

Other Features:    Wooded land      Nonagricultural fields     Active agriculture

                         Paved areas       Ponds, streams, other water, wetlands

Water Supply:       Public water supply    On-site well                 Unknown
Waste Disposal:  
 Served by sewers      On-site septic system    Unknown


Click to view aerial view of property
Click to view photographs of property

 

The property is in the following municipal zone(s):

Residential Industrial  Commercial  Institutional
 Other: 
Special Exceptions granted for Educational, Cultural, Religious, Child Care, Philanthropic, Social & Fraternal Uses (Use Category 2.00) and Other Outdoor Activities (Use Category 6.99)

Not zoned  Not known


Special features of the property, if known
:  The Campus Property includes the Classroom Building and the Extension Center, as well as a parking lot and a cell tower.  The Classroom Building and the Extension Center are approximately 29,446 and 7,776 square feet, respectively.

Value of property, if known:
If checked, value is not known.

Links to other available information
:
Additional information about the Campus Property can be found at the University’s website.  The link is: https://evpacfo.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2318/2018/05/Torrington_Campus_-RFEI.pdf.

 

Type of Sale or Transfer:

Sale or transfer of property in fee

Sale or transfer of partial interest in the property (such as an easement).  Description of interest:

Proposed recipient, if known:
UConn has entered into two Purchase and Sale Agreements with Five Points relating to the sale of the Campus Property.  Five Points has the right to assign its right to purchase the Unimproved Land to the City of Torrington.  UConn understands that the City of Torrington intends to acquire the Unimproved Land from Five Points and, upon such acquisition by the City, grant Five Points the right to use the Unimproved Land.  Neither UConn nor the State of Connecticut will be a party to those transactions.

Proposed use by property recipient, if known
:  UConn’s sale of the Campus Property to Five Points is conditioned on Five Points granting UConn the right to continue to use the Extension Center and certain other portions of the Campus Property for the continuation of UConn programs, such as the continued operation of the Extension Center as an agricultural center in furtherance of UConn’s support of agricultural activities in Litchfield County and the operation of a wind tower for certain research activities.

 

The remainder of the Campus Property will be used by Five Points to establish an art and education campus, which is expected to include some or all of the following contemplated uses:

  • Art gallery;
  • Art classes for children, teenagers, adults, families and senior citizens;
  • Artist workshop spaces (such as printmaking, darkroom, painting and drawing space);
  • Launchpad Expansion program, including skills and employment training for young art professionals;
  • Sensory Garden located in courtyard of Building 1;
  • Hosting lectures;
  • Educational, cultural, philanthropic and social events, such as job fairs, art fairs, ceremonies and receptions, which may be located indoors or outdoors;
  • Accessory store for the provision of supplies, books, and other related goods to employees, students, and visitors of both UConn and Five Points;
  • Accessory office use and café use for employees, students, and visitors of both UConn and Five Points.

     

    In addition to the above, Five Points also desires, in the future, to render the remaining 85± undeveloped acres of 855 University Drive accessible to its employees, students, and visitors, in a manner that both respects and enhances the natural beauty of that acreage.  Currently the Unimproved Land has no recreational features and is not widely accessible to the public.  Contemplated future uses include an art park, sensory sculpture gardens, environmental installations, landscape designs, and walking trails.  It is contemplated that these future uses will be available to the public.  These enhancements and increased public access is planned to occur regardless of whether the Unimproved Land is acquired directly by Five Points or is acquired by the City of Torrington.

    The agency is proposing to transfer the property with the following restrictions on future uses:  UConn is reserving the right to continue to occupy and use the Extension Center building from Five Points and certain portions of the Campus Property for ongoing research activities pursuant to a lease agreement that will be entered into between UConn and Five Points at or prior the sale’s closing.  The reservation of rights relating to UConn’s continued use of the Extension Center is also subject to certain orders entered into on September 16, 2019 by the Connecticut Superior Court (Shaban, J.).  Except for these reserved uses of the Extension Center and Campus Property by UConn, UConn is not proposing any other restrictions on future uses of the Campus Property.
    If checked, the state is not currently proposing restrictions on future uses.

    Reason the State of Connecticut is proposing to transfer this property
    :  UConn has closed its Torrington branch campus operations and ceases to have any use for the Campus Property, except with respect to the Extension Center.  By transferring the Campus Property, UConn will reduce the expenses it incurs to continue to maintain and operate the Campus Property, including the Classroom Building.  The transfer of the Campus Property also provides an opportunity for the Classroom Building to be reutilized in a manner that benefits the City of Torrington and the surrounding community.

    Comments from the public are welcome and will be accepted until the close of business on November 7, 2019.


    Comments may include (but are not limited to) information you might have about significant natural resources or recreation resources on the property, as well as your recommendations for means to preserve such resources.


    Written comments* should be sent to:

Name:

Paul Hinsch

Agency:

Office of Policy and Management

Address:

450 Capitol Avenue MS#52 ASP

Hartford, CT 06106-1379

E-Mail:

Paul.hinsch@ct.gov


*E-Mail submissions are preferred.  (Comments from state agencies must be on agency letterhead and signed by agency head.  Scanned copies are preferred.)


What Happens Next?

To find out if this proposed transfer is the subject of further notices, check future editions of the Environmental Monitor. Sign up for e-alerts to receive a reminder e-mail on Environmental Monitor publication dates.


 
 
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Content Last Modified on 10/8/2019 8:29:41 AM