A Public Hearing was called by Danbury's Planning Commission to address Bethel’s desire to build a water tower in Danbury.
Since at least 2009, neighbors have insisted that they do not want to be able to see the water tank and Bethel has continued to develop different plans to disguise it.
At the last meeting in March, held at Bethel’s Municipal Center, Danbury home owners came up with ideas for foliage that would hide the tank and the meeting ended on a positive note.
One resident, Elio Ferreira said he was pleased with the progress, but was worried that when the plan was presented in a public hearing, community members who had never been a part of the discussions could disrupt the progress.
At this Wednesday night’s meeting, Town Engineer Andrew Morosky and the architectural team of Wright-Pierce once again presented their plan to Danbury residents, this time with large white pines placed close to the road and large rocks placed along the berm (the ledge or shoulder of the road) as additional natural coverage. Deciduous trees would be placed in front of and behind the tank, and lower foliage would make up the cover for the white pines as they grew.
According to Morosky, the original plan was denied by the Commission due to visibility, and he now felt the Wright-Pierce team had fully addressed the issue.
Danbury’s Planning Commission listened to the Bethel presentation, which included supportive letters from Danbury residents of Long Ridge Road as well as a letter in support of the installation of a fire hydrant from Danbury’s Fire Marshal. They looked over the charts that showed the new landscaping plan until the residents came forward, all 14 of whom spoke against the plan.
Elise Marciano, who accused Bethel of “wanting it their way or the highway,” said, “We do not want to deprive the people of Bethel of water, but if they are trying to hide the tank, why don’t they bury it entirely?”
In the previous meeting, Marciano had suggested many types of foliage that she felt would hide the tank adequately. This time, she said, “Just blast a little bit and bury it.”
Another resident, Mike Jordan, said that blasting could effect the foundation of his home and in a later conversation, Morosky said those concerns were valid.
Other accusations by Danbury residents included a suspicion that Bethel did not want to spend the money it would take to place the 750,000 gallon tank in an alternative spot, that water main pipes could be moved and blasting could safely occur, and that it was an industrial tank in a residential neighborhood.
In a later interview, Morosky spoke to the concerns of the Long Ridge Road residents. “The thing I wish they would understand is that it is a very low structure and they really won’t notice that it is there.”
According to Morosky, the tank will be 84 feet from the road and only seven feet will be exposed. A six foot fence would surround the tank and would be planted with Virginia Creeper, a type of ivy. The tank would be painted green.
Morosky denied that the placement was based on cost, but rather it was the best spot for the hydraulics, “Just like placing Danbury’s tank on top of the hill in Bethel was the best place for their tank.”
In terms of blasting, Morosky said that the ridge in that area was susceptible to vibration and could effect not only the housing foundations but the dam at the Eureka Reservoir.
“We were denied the first time due to visibility and we have addressed that,” Morosky said. “The tank will be invisible in a few months. I would hate to think the Commission would deny us based on the spare criticism from the few people who showed up. If they take a rational look, I am still hopeful we will prevail.”