Long vacant Delafield Island Home seeks approval for redevelopment
DARIEN — Since more than 200 trees were felled on the property in 2014, 122 Delafield Island Road has been a source of contempt for its neighbors, who feel its a blight on the community, and for town officials, who were not notified of the tree cutting.
Now the property, located on a peninsula that juts out into Scott Cove, is before the Planning and Zoning Commission, with a plan to raze and replace the existing home, build a seawall and plant more than 200 trees.
For both neighbors and the commission, it’s a step in the right direction. But questions linger.
“I guess the issue here is that, on the one hand, I want this to get done. On the other hand I’m going to have a lot of people saying, ‘There’s too much noise, there are too many trucks, what are we doing about that?’” said Alex Davidson, president of the Delafield Island Association and Tax District, at a Tuesday night meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, the second public hearing on the proposal.
“So I would like to get ahead of that so that we are all working together and cooperating to get this done,” Davidson continued.
Davidson suggested that his neighborhood association’s guidelines, including acceptable days and times of truck deliveries and pickups, be taken into account before Planning and Zoning green lights the project. The project, potentially spanning nine months, is estimated to require more than 700 trucks, the intensity of which the commission hopes to spread out as best they can. Commission Chairman John Sini suggested that a dialogue should begin between the neighbors and the applicant.
Safety, too, was a concern mentioned by Sini, especially given the narrow, windy nature of Delafield Island Road leading up to the property.
An additional concern raised in recent days was the appearance of an osprey nest on the dock of the property. Ospreys are a positive sign for the environment and have rebounded mightily since the pesticide DDT was outlawed in 1972.
But, according to biologist and Principal of Hartford-based Environmental Planning Services Michael Klein, the ospreys will migrate south in the late summer or early fall, at which point construction could begin without disturbing the birds.
But still, one question lingers:
“Who is the applicant?” Commissioner Jim Rand said.
According to Darien property records, the 2.53-acre parcel was purchased by 122 Delafield LLC., based in Alexandria, VA., in 2014. At no point during the initial cutting of the trees, nor in the first two public hearings for the proposed project has the owner been present, despite the requests of the commission Robert Maslan, the attorney representing the property owner did not offer up that information.
Without a clear sense of the applicant’s intentions, there is still a great deal of uncertainty for Davidson and his neighbors as to how willing to compromise the owner 122 Delafield might be.