Still Meadow re-zoned commercial/light industrial

Commercial and light industrial use appears destined for the town-owned Still Meadow property just off Route 7 in New Milford.

The Town Council has taken the advice of the Economic Development Commission and recommended making a zone change to the 19-acre site, currently zoned for multi-family use.

At Monday's meeting, the council voted, 5 to 3, to recommend changing the zone to B2, and the mayor will pass that recommendation on to the town's land-use boards.

The hope is the B2 designation would encourage the building of a hotel and banquet facility on the parcel.

The Economic Development Commission believes the change allows the "highest and best use of the property," mirroring the zone of the adjacent commercially zoned, privately-owned 20-acre parcel that fronts Route 7, just north of Starbucks.

That would make the Still Meadow property on the corner of Fort Hill and Peagler Hill roads more marketable, EDC members believe.

Council member Mary Jane Lundgren had asked Monday the council wait until a Level A aquifer mapping is finished before making a decision on a zone change recommendation. Ms. Lundgren is concerned about protecting the aquifer that lies under the property.

Resident Anne Cutter, an alternate for the Sewer Commission who is running for a council seat, agrees with Ms. Lundgren. She believes the new mapping will impose regulations that will affect what business would purchase Still Meadow.

Mayor Pat Murphy favors following the EDC recommendation.

She noted Tuesday most of New Milford sits over two aquifers that at this time are mapped with a DEP ranking of Level B.

"This area is already a regulated area with regards to the aquifer," said Mayor Murphy. "Everything we already do in the town is over one of the two aquifers and is regulated by DEP, zoning, the aquifer protection commission."

Mayor Murphy noted that, with the zone change to B2, when a developer would be looking for a site for a hotel with banquet facility, the Still Meadow parcel would come up with an Internet search. This would provide income while providing services to the community, she said.