Wallingford officials choose not to buy land originally planned for Tyler Mill parking lot

WALLINGFORD — City Council voted this week to reject a deal to buy land for parking at the south end of Tyler Mill Preserve due to environmental concerns.

The council had voted on March 24 to purchase the property at 3 E. Dayton Hill Road at a cost of $60,000, with an additional $5,000 allocated for environmental study and title work. Councilors Joseph Marrone and Jason Zandri both said they were not interested in completing the contract given the revelation that there had been a spill at the site.

“I was about to do it in the first place. My main desire to do so was twofold. It adjoins the reserve right now and there is already a parking problem at that entrance…so I thought that offered a solution,” Zandri said at Tuesday’s meeting. “…I’m not interested in putting the city in a position where we could potentially own an environmental problem.”

Had the city purchased the land at the intersection of Woodhouse Avenue and East Dayton Hill Road, it would also have prevented future development on the outskirts of the reservation.

Currently, some park users enter the south end of Tyler Mill Park along a bend on Woodhouse Avenue, which presents security concerns. Others use the existing car parks at two nearby football pitches.

Company attorney Janis Small told the meeting that there appear to be drums, cans, pipes and machine parts at 3 Dayton Hill Road, as well as a mound with pipes, a tarp and metal parts that appear to have been buried. The drums are believed to be empty.

According to city records, the property is owned by Jack Farrelly Co., a Bloomfield-based pipe distribution company. Company representatives could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. The company lists the locations on its website, including 150 Universal Drive, North Haven.

“I was the only one who voted ‘no’ when we voted (March 24th) because I just didn’t think it was a necessary purchase for $60,000…but now that we have some issues, I think that it would be a good chance to maybe rethink and revisit this before we get ourselves in trouble,” Councilwoman Christina Tatta said Tuesday.

An amendment to the motion to accept the contract was proposed. This would have created a 60-day extension for the vendor to complete the cleanup, under city supervision, and for an environmental report to be generated. The extension would also have allowed more time to resolve issues regarding a restriction imposed on the land preventing development, which the legal department said could be construed as preventing parking.

The amendment was defeated, with Marrone, Zandri, Tatta, Samuel Carmody and Vincent Testa voting against the extension.

Councilman Craig Fishbein said he would like to see the city continue to negotiate a new contract, potentially with a different sale price, and suggested an executive session be held at the next council meeting on the matter.

Council votes on ARPA funds

On Tuesday, the council was to discuss finalizing applications that businesses and nonprofits would use to apply to receive a portion of the city’s $13.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, however, the topic was filed to give advisers more time to assess the draft nominations and a related memo from Small delivered to advisers on Monday.

After offering to discuss the demands on the table, Carmody said he thought delivering the package the day before the board meeting left insufficient time to prepare for the discussion. He also noted that UHY Advisors, a consultant hired by the city to help with the ARPA process, promised to prepare the applications within a week of the April 12 council meeting.

“I’m making this motion because this package was delivered to us yesterday afternoon and I think we as counsel should be given the opportunity to have more than one day to review such important information,” he said. he declared. “And frankly, I think the administration continues to deliberately try to prevent this board from having a say in the disbursement of ARPA funds.”

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