Trumbull P&Z refers Church Hill Road property sales to council

A map of the four Trumbull-own properties the town is considering selling.

A map of the four Trumbull-own properties the town is considering selling.

Contributed/Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission

TRUMBULL — The Planning & Zoning Commission voted Tuesday to refer the sale of four town-owned properties to the Town Council for possible approval.

The properties, which abut the Pequonnock River Valley, were purchased roughly five years ago, and possible options for them included building a community center.

Ultimately, nothing was done with the four properties - 2 South Edgewood Ave., 93 Church Hill Road, 85 Church Hill Road and 77 Church Hill Road. If the Town Council opts to sell the properties, they would be deed-restricted to use as single-family residences.

The commission discussed the proposal for roughly half an hour, with those in favor of the sale arguing that the site isn’t a good spot for a community center or senior center or similar use. On the other side were concerns about the potential use of the properties by the new owners.

The commission ultimately voted to send the matter to the council by a 3-2 vote along party lines, with Republicans Anthony Chory and Richard Deecken opposed, and Democrats Tony Silber, Tony D’Aquila and Chairman Fred Garrity Jr. in favor.

Chory said he thought selling the properties for use as housing was something of a waste.

“It just seems to me that, even though we don’t know what we would use (the property) for now, I just think that there’s such potential for a piece of property that’s adjacent to the town hall property and the Pequonnock Valley,” said Chory. “It doesn’t make sense to give it up to somebody who’s just going to put four houses up and probably make a lot of money.”

Deecken was concerned that, despite the deed restrictions, someone would buy up all the properties and lobby for zoning changes to allow for it to be turned into affordable housing.

Silber said the original acquisition of the properties, which occurred under former First Selectman Tim Herbst, had been “ill-conceived.”

Silber said he supports the idea of a community center or a new senior center, but didn’t think this is the right spot for a variety of issues, including traffic. He also worried that putting one of those structures on this site would obscure the Pequonnock River Valley, which he called “one of the real crown jewels” of the area.

“Why we would want to put a major municipal facility adjacent to the Pequonnock Valley and sort of diminish the view (and) the feel?” Silber said. “I don’t understand that.”