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Attorney criticizes Norwich plan of development

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published June 19. 2013 4:00AM

Norwich - A local attorney who has represented numerous developers on projects throughout the region criticized portions of the draft Norwich Plan of Conservation and Development during Tuesday's public hearing on the plan.

Norwich resident Glenn Carberry of the New London firm TCORS told the Commission on the City Plan that the draft plan fails to promote job creation and economic development. He said the plan ignores the potential of the former Tarryk Farm in Occum and a 90-acre property called the "Occum triangle," bounded by Canterbury Turnpike, Route 97 and Interstate 395.

Carberry's firm had represented the controversial Byron Brook Country Club Occum development that first called for a luxury condominium complex, golf course and clubhouse. The project later was downsized and then withdrawn when the economy soured.

The new draft Plan of Conservation and Development designated the former farm areas for "low density" housing development and placed the triangle property owned by the same developers outside the Occum village area targeted for development.

Carberry said the Occum part of the plan ignores the city's pressing need for more commercial land and the lack of retail development space.

"The Commission should not ignore the potential uses for 90 acres located off of an exit of 395 with water, sewer and road frontage," Carberry wrote in a letter on behalf of Byron Brook Country Club LLC. "We believe the plan should be targeting the Occum Triangle for future development just as Waterford, Montville and Lisbon have done with their frontage parcels in their Plans of Development."

Giving low priority to the former Tarryk Farm would reverse 25 years of city planning priority that once targeted the area for a business park or planned development district. Carberry called it "unjust and detrimental" to now drop the area from priority development status. The Tarryk Farm area could be promoted as an agribusiness or other suitable type of development, he said.

Referring to the Montville plan another time, Carberry said Montville devoted 22 pages of its plan of development to an economic profile for job creation.

The Norwich plan, Carberry said, "lacks any sense of urgency and provides very little focus on the goals of generating jobs in the City and increasing the tax base. Those objectives must be a priority or else your other objectives will become nearly impossible to achieve."

Prior to Carberry's presentation, Mayor Peter Nystrom questioned why the Tarryk Farm and the Occum triangle parcel seemed to be left out of targeted development areas.

Planimetrics President Glenn Chalder said the plan neither promotes nor discourages development from that area. The many maps depict various city assets and goals.

"Should these parcels come back to the city for development," Chalder said, "we would encourage dialogue."

Planning commission member Frank Manfredi asked if Carberry had specific language changes he would propose for the plan, and Carberry said he would draft proposed language. Manfredi later moved to table action to adopt the plan to consider Carberry's suggestions.

Boswell Avenue resident Kathleen Murphy urged the commission to "please preserve our neighborhoods." She said she has experienced changes in her neighborhood that should not have happened.

City Planning Director Peter Davis said some of the specific issues addressed by residents at the public hearing will be part of a separate document, a comprehensive plan of development. He said the maps in the plan of conservation and development are "advisory."

c.bessette@theday.com

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