Giuffrida Park
Land Use Inventory

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                     

LIST OF FIGURES                                                    

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS                                        

I.    INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF STUDY                            

II.   THE TRI-TOWN LAMENTATION MOUNTAIN STUDY AREA       

III.   PRESERVATION IN EXISTING PLANS OF DEVELOPMENT     

        a.    State of Connecticu

Plan of Conservation and Development

        b.    Regional Plans

        c.    Local Plans

IV.   EXISTING LAND USE                                

V.    EXISTING PUBLIC UTILITIES               

VI.   EXISTING ZONING AND OPPORTUNITIES                              

       FOR CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT

 

VII. NATURAL FEATURES                                  

    a.    Topography

    b.    Drainage

    c.    Slopes

    d.    Soils

    e.    Vegetation

    f.     Limitations Composite Map

VIII.  LIMITATIONS COMPOSITE MAP            

IX.    PROPOSED LAND USE                             

FIGURES

APPENDIX

 


List Of Figures

Figure Number                          Title

1     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Study Area

2     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Existing Land use

3     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Zoning

4     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Topography

5     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Drainage Patterns

6     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Slopes

7     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Soils

8     Toposequence Diagram of a Traprock Ridge System

9     Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Constraints Map

10   Lamentation Mountain Study, Tri-Town Project - Proposed Land Use Map

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

In 1991 the Berlin, Meriden and Middletown Conservation Commissions launched the Lamentation Mountain Tri-Town Project (the "Tri-Town Project") to work on a uniform and consistent conservation and development plan for Lamentation Mountain, which lies in the three towns. The Tri-Town Project met three times to review available historical, geological, and biological information, and existing maps and to establish study goals and planning options. At an initial project meeting on March 19, 1991 presentations were made by Jelle DeBoer of Wesleyan University (geology and water resources); Joseph Hickey, Department of Environmental Protection (trap rock ridges and recreation); Jim Gibbons, University of Connecticut Extension Service (natural resource planning); and Geoff Colegrove, Midstate Regional Planning Agency (computerized mapping).

In 1992, the Tri-Town Project received a $300 grant from the Rockfall Foundation (Middletown, CT). These funds were used for the development of the Natural Resource Inventory and final copies of this report. The Natural Resource Inventory of Lamentation Mountain was carried out by Ms. Beth Lapin of The Nature Conservancy during the summer of 1992. In 1993, the Tri-Town Project received recognition as an Outstanding Planning Program from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association. The project was also acknowledged in the recent State Plan of Conservation and Development by the Connecticut office of Planning and Development.

The planning meetings and technical information compiled by the many volunteers, officials and organizations involved in this project provided the foundation for the focus and scope of the following report.

Others, whose interest, participation, and contributions made the completion of this report possible include: W. Voelker, R. Schmidt from the town of Berlin, D. Caruso, J. Netherton, R. Gibson from the City of Meriden; W. Warner, L. Bowers, R. Klattenberg from the City of Middletown; Northeast Utilities Service Company; the Connecticut Forest and Park Association; Midstate Regional Planning Agency; and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

 


I. INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The Lamentation Mountain/Chauncey Peak ridgeline is a section of the Central Connecticut traprock ridge system that has been called Connecticut's Central Park. It constitutes the municipal boundary between the municipalities of Berlin, Meriden and Middletown. The fact that the study area is divided among three municipalities, three state planning regions and three soil and water conservation districts makes this location highly unique within the State of Connecticut.

The traprock ridge environment offers unique plant and wildlife habitat, magnificent and panoramic views of the central Connecticut Valley, extensive hiking and educational opportunities and a place of peace and solace. Because of the existence of these special characteristics it became apparent to local planners and conservationists that a long-term strategic plan was needed to guide the conservation of this important resource and to ensure that development will proceed in an environmentally responsible manner.

Since the inception of this planning effort it has been well understood that many of the challenges which municipalities experience today transcend their boundaries and are of regional and often statewide concern. The protection of Lamentation Mountain/Chauncey Peak is one of these challenges which must be cooperatively addressed at all levels of government. Coordination is necessary not only between the three muncipalities which are located in three different counties (Hartford, Middlesex, and New Haven) but also the three different regional planning agencies for those counties. For this reason, this multi-town planning effort is particularly innovative and forward-looking. It involves not only working at the three levels of government but also with multiple players within each level of government. This cooperative planning effort will insure that all participants within the three levels of government will be working in concert to provide for the coordinated conservation and development of this precious resource.

The rights and desires of landowners are of great importance to the Tri-Town Project. This report is intended to promote meaningful discussions with landowners and town land use agencies. The Tri-Town Project invites landowners views and seeks their input and support. If necessary, amendments will be incorporated. This report will also serve as a guide for use by town and city commissions, as well as, developers and property owners. The carefully guided conservation and development of this multi-town resource will benefit those who own land on the mountain by formulating recommendations to assist them by making the development process flow more smoothly. In addition, it will benefit all residents of the State by preserving and improving accessibility to this resource of statewide significance.

 

STUDY GOALS

The purpose of this multi-town planning effort was to identify the study area's natural features, analyze the constraints and opportunities for development and provide innovative land conservation and development recommendations designed to guide the future growth of the study area.

With this purpose in mind the Tri-Town Project Committee established the following project goals:

1) Permanently protect unique features, such as special wildlife habitats, rare and endangered species, the talus slope and the cliff faces;

2) Maintain an unimpeded and publicly accessible trail network, which allows for access to the higher elevations;

3) Maintain the natural scenic beauty of the mountain landscape as viewed from the mountain and from surrounding locations;

4) Promote open space planning and development techniques compatible with the natural qualities of the mountain and, in particular, the traprock ridgeline.

 

II. THE TRI-TOWN LAMENTATION MOUNTAIN STUDY AREA

The ridge under study is located in the Connecticut River valley in central Connecticut and runs approximately 3.5 miles north to south through the town of Berlin and cities of Meriden and Middletown (Figure 1 displays the study area within the state).

The ridge, which includes Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak, has a maximum elevation of 720 feet above sea level. It is typical of many ridges in Connecticut with its steep west facing cliff and much more gradual east sloping side. The ridge runs on a slight southwest to northeast direction. From its higher elevations, Mt. Tom (Massachusetts) can be seen to the north, Sleeping Giant Mountain to the south, the Western Highland to the west and the Eastern Highlands to the east.

The study area, displayed in Figure 1, is approximately 1300 acres. It is bounded on the west by the 250-foot contour line at the base of the mountain running parallel to Connecticut Route 15, also known as the Berlin Turnpike. Westfield Road in Meriden and Country Club Road in Middletown constitute the southern extreme of the study area. The eastern boundary is an unimproved road known as Stantack Road. Stantack Road runs northerly from Country Club Road in Middletown to Spruce Brook Road in Berlin. In general, Spruce Brook Road constitutes the northern boundary of the study area.

 

III. PRESERVATION IN EXISTING PLANS OF DEVELOPMENT

a. State of Connecticut Plan of Conservation and Development

The State Plan of Conservation and Development designates the majority of the study area as a "Conservation Area". A small area at the lower elevations in Middletown is designated as "Rural Area". The State Action Strategy for Conservation Areas is as follows:

"Plan and manage, for the long-term public benefit, the lands contributing to the state's need for food, fiber, water and other resources, open space, recreation, and environmental quality and ensure that changes in use are compatible with the identified conservation values."

b. Regional Conservation and Development Plans

The Midstate Regional Planning Agency has designated the portion of the study area in Middletown as "Open Space" on its Regional Plan of Development.

The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency has designated the portion of the study area in Berlin as "Conservation/Preservation "on its Regional Plan of Development.

The South Central Regional Council of Governments has designated the portion of the study area in Meriden as "Limited Growth" on its Regional Plan of Development.

c. Local Plan's of Development

Meriden's Land Use Plan, adopted in 1985, identifies the bulk of the study area as Parks/Open Space. Also included in the study area is land designated as industrial, this being the present site of the traprock quarry. A smaller area on the western slope of Lamentation Mountain is designated as Residential-Low Density. The Plan also has as an objective "to protect the integrity of environmentally sensitive areas." In addition, the Plan recommends "acquisition of marginal lands adjacent to Giuffrida Park.....".

Middletown's "Guiding the Future: A Plan of Development for the Year 2000", adopted in 1990, identifies the area as Proposed Open Space. The Plan also contains a section on steep slopes and ridgelines. Quoting from the Plan:

"These large parcels of wooded land have value for their plant and wildlife habitat, passive recreational use, and scenic quality. These values qualify them for consideration as protected open space."

"If these areas are threatened with development the Planning and Zoning Commission should consider creative development proposals which would cluster development at lower elevations and leave the higher elevations as open land."

The plan also discourages the extension of public water and sewer into this area.

The Berlin Plan of Development adopted in 1992 focuses on the publicly owned land in the study area. The plan identifies Lamentation Mountain State Park and four parcels owned by the town within the study area. Private lands are identified as rural density. With regard to the traprock ridgelines the plan indicates that:

"The Town should seek to acquire as much of this resource as possible and to restrict development activities to well below the ridgelines and steep slopes."

 

IV. EXISTING LAND USE

Figure 2, the existing land use map, shows that the majority of the study area is undeveloped. As displayed on the land use map the Blue Blazed Mattabesset Trail provides pedestrian access to the ridgeline and runs the entire length of the study area. The trail can be accessed from Country Club Road in Middletown, Giuffrida Park in Meriden or from a small parking area on Spruce Brook Road in Berlin.

a. Meriden

In Meriden approximately 600 acres of land are located within Giuffrida Park, a city owned park containing a golf course and a watershed protection area for Bradley Hubbard Reservoir, a city water supply. There are also scattered single family homes, a large traprock quarry, and an automobile junkyard. A total of 32 privately owned lots exist within the project boundaries, the majority of which make up the quarry. The remaining small residential lots are located in the southwest portion of the study area.

b. Middletown

In Middletown, the current land use is primarily undeveloped privately held woodlands. The only other land use is 11 scattered single family homes on large lots. The majority of the homes (7) are located off of a private road at the southern extremity of the study area in Middletown. As stated, with the exception of these single-family homes, the remainder of the land in Middletown is undeveloped. There are 49 privately owned lots. The Existing Land Use and Zoning Map indicates that the large area of undeveloped land in Middletown is fragmented into long narrow lots with the only access to the study area from Middletown via an unimproved city road (Footit Drive). City records do not indicate that Stantack Road, the study area's eastern boundary, is a city road. The land in Middletown surrounding the study area is predominately undeveloped with the exception of scattered single family homes and two large residential subdivisions. The southern most subdivision, known as the Old Farms Subdivision, was constructed as an Environmentally Sensitive Cluster Design. This subdivision serves as an excellent example of the effectiveness of this planning design to integrate environmental protection with development.

c. Berlin

The Town of Berlin has the smallest portion of land within the study area. Most of this land is completely undeveloped and six parcels are held as open space by the Town of Berlin or the State of Connecticut. The land owned by the State is Lamentation Mountain State Park, an undeveloped park that is accessible from the Berlin Turnpike. The only improvement on these parcels is a water tower owned by the Town of Berlin. There are three large undeveloped parcels of land at the western extreme of the study area. These parcels are privately held and have, along with significant development potential, direct access to Route 15. The land surrounding the study area in Berlin is developed with a residential and an industrial subdivision, and limited commercial development including restaurants and motels. The residential subdivision, known as "Lamentation Mountain Estates", at the northern extreme of the study area is also an excellent example of an Environmentally Sensitive Cluster Design.

 

V. EXISTING PUBLIC UTILITIES

a. Meriden

Public water and sewer lines currently do not service any of the study area. However, water and sewer service is available along Route 15 and a portion of Westfield Road. Connections could be made to these systems to service at least a portion of the study area if development were to occur.

b. Middletown

City sewer is available in the Old Farms subdivision adjacent to the area and city water and sewer are available in the Westfield Hills subdivision, which is also adjacent to the study area. While City water and sewer are available, due to topographic constraints it may be difficult to extend these lines. Furthermore, the City's Plan of Development currently discourages any further extensions into the study area.

c. Berlin

Public sewer and water are available along the Berlin Turnpike and from the Spruce Brook Road area. There is also a major gas line, which traverses the study area in Berlin.

 

VI. EXISTING ZONING AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT

a. Meriden

Meriden zoning is R-R (Rural-Residential) and M-3 (Industrial). The zoning of the study area is shown in Figure 3. The R-R zone requires 40,000 square feet of lot area. Permitted uses include single-family dwellings, public buildings, public and private utility substations, places of worship and public assembly, crop and tree farming, riding academies and stables, membership clubs, and child-care providers. The M-3 zone permits manufacturing, production and fabrication; offices, warehouses and distribution facilities; research and development; veterinarians; newspaper and job printing; industrial laundries; recreation centers; child care providers. Uses permitted by Special Exception include building materials and contractor's yards, feed and fuel storage, junk yards, commercial equipment, wholesale, retail, service and storage; bituminous paving plants and concrete plants; truck terminals; heliports, mobile homes and mobile home parks; factory outlets; and class II and III child care providers. Meriden also has a provision for cluster type development to allow for the maximum preservation of open space.

b. Middletown

Middletown zoning is R-60 Residential. This is a classic Rural Residential zone. The minimum lot area is 60,000 square feet and the permitted uses include farming, single family homes, day care centers, churches, schools, recreation areas, leaf composting areas and natural resource extraction.

In addition to standard subdivisions with large lots and thirty-foot road widths, the City of Middletown Zoning Code contains both cluster regulations and Large Lot Environmentally Sensitive regulations. In exchange for a more environmentally sensitive subdivision and a greater amount of open space, the cluster regulations provide for flexibility in lot size and dimensions, road widths and sidewalk requirements. The cluster alternative also has a density bonus incentive to encourage the use of cluster design. The Large Lot Environmentally Sensitive subdivision allows for 18-foot private gravel roads.

c. Berlin

Berlin zoning is Mountain Reserve 1 and Mountain Reserve 2. Mountain Reserve 1 is a single family, three-acre lot zone. It permits single family residential, farms, parks, schools, churches, nursing homes, golf courses, and other similar uses. Mountain Reserve 2 allows similar uses but also includes multi-family housing at a density of two dwelling units per acre and a maximum impervious surface coverage of twenty-five percent. While the MR-2 zoning does allow multi-family development, it is restricted to a maximum elevation of 350 feet MSL. Berlin also has a cluster type development provision to allow for the maximum preservation of open space.

 

VII. NATURAL FEATURES

The study area's unique environmental features impose limitations on development. The following site analysis covers topography, drainage, steep slopes, soils, and vegetative communities.

a. Topography

Both the Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak ridgelines are oriented north-south (see Figure 4). The Chauncey Peak ridgeline, approximately 3,000 feet in length, is located in the south central portion of the study area. At its northern most point, the ridge begins at a ravine with a stream at its base. This stream feeds into the Bradley Hubbard Reservoir. The ridge runs the length of the reservoir and at the southern terminus of the study area the ridge wraps around to the east. The summit of Chauncey Peak reaches elevation 688 mean sea level (MSL). From the top of the ridge to the west is a sheer cliff. From the top of this cliff elevation drops 377 feet to the shores of the reservoir.

East of the Chauncey peak ridgeline a significant portion of the eastern face has been altered. This alternation is due to an extensive quarrying operation. Undisturbed natural topography on the eastern slope is far more gently sloping from the summit. Elevation changes from 688 MSL at the summit down to a wetland area at approximately 400 MSL. This vertical change in elevation occurs over a horizontal distance of approximately 2,000 feet.

The much longer (approximately 2 miles) and much more recognizable Lamentation Mountain ridgeline is characterized by both exposed basalt cliffs with talus slopes and tree lined portions. Lamentation Mountain has a summit of 720 MSL with elevations along the ridge ranging from 550 at the southern terminus to approximately 250 feet at the northern terminus. From the top of the Lamentation Mountain ridgeline the elevation drops dramatically on the western cliffside of the mountain. The elevation changes over a horizontal distance of approximately 800 feet from approximately 600-720 MSL to approximately 350 MSL at the western edge of the study area.

As with Chauncey Peak, the eastern slope has a far gentler decline in elevation from the summit. Moving from the northern terminus south to the Meriden/Berlin boundary the eastern slope drops fairly rapidly from approximately 600 MSL to 250 MSL over a horizontal distance of approximately 1,000 feet. From this point to the eastern edge of the study area the land is more gently sloping, with elevations ranging between 200-250 MSL. South of the Meriden/Berlin boundary line, the ridgeline drops off much more gently from the summit at 720 MSL down to 400 MSL at the stream, which flows, into the ravine north of the Bradley Hubbard Reservoir. This change in elevation occurs over a horizontal distance of approximately 2,200 feet. East of the stream, which feeds into the reservoir the topography, is much more gently sloping with elevations ranging between 250-300 MSL.

b. Drainage

Overland flow of water off of the mountain drains into four distinct watersheds: the Harbor Brook, the Sawmill Brook, the Mattabesset, and the Belcher Brook watershed systems. The attached drainage map, Figure 5, illustrates these drainage patterns.

In the study area the Harbor Brook watershed drains overland to an unnamed stream, into the Bradley Hubbard Reservoir, Baldwins Pond, Harbor Brook, Hanover Pond, and finally into the Quinnipac River. Drainage from the western face of Chauncey Peak also drains directly into the reservoir.

The Mattabesset Watershed drains into Lamentation Brook, West Spruce Brook, Spruce Brook and their associated wetland corridors, which act as natural detention areas. At the northern end of the study area the streams converge into Spruce Brook, which flows northerly out of the study area to the Mattabesset River.

Drainage from the western face of Lamentation Mountain enters the Belcher Brook Watershed. This drainage eventually crosses the Berlin Turnpike and drains into Silver Lake and a large wetland south of the lake. Silver Lake feeds into Belcher Brook and flows northerly, eventually, converging with the Mattabesset River in Berlin.

Drainage from the Sawmill Watershed first enters a large wetland area at the base of Chauncey Peak. The wetland detains the water for a period of time and gradually drains easterly to Sawmill Brook flowing through Highland Pond and then northerly to the Mattabesset River.

As is clear from the above discussion, a significant portion of the drainage from the study area reaches the Mattabesset River. The Mattabesset River and the sediments that it carries flow to the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Therefore, it can certainly be inferred that the protection of water quality in the study area contributes to preserving water quality in the Mattabesset River, the Connecticut River and, Long Island Sound.

c. Slopes

The attached slope map, Figure 6, displays slopes of 0-5%, 5-10%, 10-15%, 15-25%, and greater than 25%. As the map clearly displays, there is a band of extremely steep slopes along the western face of both Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak. The combination of elevation above sea level, steep slopes, and exposed cliffs creates a significant natural feature in the region. These memorable ridgelines and cliffs are in plain view to anyone traveling the highways within the Central Connecticut Corridor. Equally impressive are the panoramic views from the ridgelines, which attract significant numbers of hikers and rock climbers each year. Because of these features, the undisturbed and steeply sloping traprock ridges with slopes greater than 25% are particularly significant and worthy of preservation.

There is also a significant amount of area with slopes between 15-25%. This characteristic, and to a lesser degree areas with slopes between 10-15%, clearly places restrictions on development. Due to the increasing cost of land versus development costs and the depletion of highly buildable land, steeply sloped lands have in many cases become feasible for development. In fact, they often provide dramatic and desirable home sites. However, development often requires extensive grading and deforestation. These practices on steep slopes can result in erosion and sedimentation. For these reasons, development on steep slopes, especially those in excess of 15%, should be discouraged. On slopes less than 15%, buildings should be carefully sited to insure watershed protection and preservation of the visual character of the area.

Considering the single factor of slope, those areas with slopes of less than 10% can be considered most desirable for development. These areas are predominantly at the base of the mountain in Meriden and Middletown. In Berlin at the western and northern extremes of the study area there are also fairly large areas with slopes of less than 10%.

d. Soils

The following soil classifications are taken from the soil surveys of Hartford, Middlesex and New Haven counties. The surveys were complied by the USDA Soil Conservation Service. The soil complexes are displayed on the soils map, see Figure 7.

Holyoke Rock outcrop complex (HZE)

This complex is characteristic of traprock ridgelines and has slopes generally ranging from 15 to 40%. This complex has poor potential for community development. The complex is limited mainly by shallowness to bedrock, steep slopes and rock outcrops. Excavation is difficult and blasting is required in most places. On-site septic systems require special design and installation.

Cheshire Holyoke very stoney silt loam, slopes 3-15% (CyC)

This complex has fair potential for community development. Shallowness to bedrock in the Holyoke soils and the bedrock outcrops make excavating difficult. On-site septic systems require very careful design and installation. Larger than normal areas are sometimes needed for on-site septic systems. A few areas of bedrock outcrops provide a scenic and picturesque setting for homesites.

Yalesville fine sandy loam 8 to 15% slopes (YaC)

This soil has fair potential for community development. The soil is limited mainly by shallow depth to bedrock and the steep slopes. Bedrock makes deep excavation difficult. On-site septic systems need careful design and installation and sites require filling in places.

Holyoke Rock outcrop complex 3 to 15% (HyC)

This complex has poor potential for community development. It is limited mainly by shallowness and by rock outcrops. Excavation is difficult and blasting is required in most places. On-site sewage disposal systems require very careful and often special design and installation. An area of five (5) acres or more is commonly needed for use as a suitable site for an on-site septic system.

Rock outcrop Hollis Complex (RP)

This complex has poor potential for community development. It is limited mainly by rock outcrops, shallow depth to bedrock and steep slopes. Excavation is very difficult and blasting is required in most places. On-site septic systems require very careful design and installation. In most places such systems are not practical because effluent seeps into cracks in the bedrock and contaminates groundwater. Also, an area of more than five (5) acres is generally needed for on-site septic systems.

Wilbraham silt loam (Wr)

This poorly drained soil is characterized in the State of Connecticut as an inland wetland soil. For this reason, the areas composed of these soils are carefully regulated by local inland wetland agencies. The soil has poor potential for community development. The soil is limited mainly by the high water table and the slowly permeable or very slowly permeable substratum. Areas generally need extensive filling for any type of development.

There is also numerous other soil groups within the study area which represent significantly smaller areas.

e. Vegetation

Figure 8 displays the natural communities that are common to traprock ridgelines. The study notes that the red cedar ledges, subacidic cliffs, subacidic talus, and subacidic talus forest/woodlands are all natural communities with limited examples within Connecticut. It indicates that for this reason occurrences of these communities are tracked by the Department of Environmental Protection's Natural Diversity Database. The report provides an exhaustive list of plant and animal species identified on the mountain, including the coyote, wild turkey, red tailed hawk, pheasant, ruffed grouse, white tailed deer, turkey vulture and copperhead snake.

In 1992 the Tri-Town Project employed Ms. Beth Lapin, a botanist with The Nature Conservancy, to conduct a natural resource inventory of the traprock ridgeline. This report identified the natural communities along the ridgeline in detail and in the study area in general. Portions of the report can be found in Appendix I.

The study identified two species of plants on Lamentation Mountain that are on the State threatened list. These are the wallrue spleenwart (Asplenium ruta mararia) and the yellow corydalis (Grydalis flavula). The field study also identified the Falcate Orange Tip (Paramidea midea) as an unusual invertebrate in this area. This small white butterfly is not listed by the Stat of Connecticut as threatened, endangered, or of special concern, however, its distribution is restricted and being tracked by the Natural Diversity Database. Because of the sensitivity of the above noted species, detailed information is restricted and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

 

VIII. LIMITATION COMPOSITE MAP

In order to better analyze the development opportunities and identify those areas most suited for development, a limitations composite map was developed. The Limitations Composite Map, (Figure 9), shows which areas are encumbered by a combination of soil, wetlands, slope and/or ownership factors and areas where lands are more easily developable. As displayed on the Limitations Composite Map, a developable band of property exits along the lower eastern slopes of Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak. These areas are not encumbered by soil type, land ownership, or steep slopes. The only other area that holds significant development potential is a band of land along the western extreme of the study area. This area has direct access to the Berlin Turnpike and public utilities. The remainder of the area, with the exception of four small isolated islands of developable land, can be considered generally undevelopable. To develop these areas, blasting, extensive regrading, and other significant modifications would be required. In most areas the ownership pattern of several long narrow wood lots adds additional difficulty for future development. Any unified development would require the assemblage of several parcels.

 

IX. PROPOSED LAND USE MAP

Based on site visits, an analysis of the Limitations Composite Map, the location of access points and the availability of utilities, the attached Proposed Land Use Map was formulated. (see Figure 10).

a. Meriden

In Meriden on the eastern slope there are three large parcels of privately owned land that hold limited development potential. These properties are somewhat constrained by soil type. For any significant development to occur on these properties, Stantack Road in Middletown would have to be improved to more acceptable standards, and a unified development plan for the three parcels, with development concentrated at lower elevations, would have to be formulated. Due to the existing salvage yard, locating potable wells may be an additional constraint to development. The existing quarry should be gradually reclaimed for a more compatible land use.

b. Middletown

In Middletown the majority of development should occur along Stantack Road at the lower eastern slope. Stantack Road runs at the base of several long and narrow wood lots. Due to this ownership pattern, it is unlikely that these lots will be assembled to allow a large unified development. Therefore, the potential in this area will most likely be limited to single family homes fronting on Stantack Road. There are some lots that could hold potential for small subdivisions. Home sites should be clustered at lower elevations and the less developable lands should be left undisturbed.

To encourage cluster development, Middletown should consider incentives such as reduction in lot area and frontage requirements and waivers of city street standards. In this way property owners would be allowed fair and economical use of their property while at the same time higher elevations would be preserved as permanent open space.

To accommodate development Stantack Road will have to be improved to acceptable standards. Considering the character of the area, this proposed land use plan does not recommend that Stantack Road be improved to full city standards. Rather, consideration should be given to waiving some of the road standards to allow a progressive and economical extension of the road as lots are developed.

To the south of the intersection of Stantack Road and Footit Drive there are two large parcels of land extending to the east out of the study area. These parcels are approximately 45 and 74 acres respectively. These parcels could support cluster development similar to that at the adjacent Old Farms Subdivision. When development plans are formulated for these parcels, consideration should be given to preserving the wetland corridor and the western extreme of the lots abutting Giuffrida Park as open space.

c. Berlin

At the western base of Lamentation Mountain in Berlin there is a large area of land suitable and approved for multi-family development. This area has direct access to Route 15 and all utilities. Once again, this development should be clustered at lower elevations to preserve the very steeply sloping cliffs and talus slopes as permanent open space. Unlike other developments, each year thousands of hikers will look down upon this development. Therefore, in developing these areas very careful attention must be given to the visual impact of the development from the ridgeline so as to create the most aesthetically pleasing viewing experience.

d. Tri-Town Open Space Corridor

In terms of open space, the 1964 "Middletown Plan of Development" proposed that the area of rugged land on Lamentation Mountain become a "City forest and wilderness park". The plan goes further and indicates that such a forest would provide "activities such as camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding... and many others". In light of this, consideration should be given to the establishment of a "regional forest and wilderness park". Clearly, as the region becomes more completely saturated with development a regional open space such as this could prove to be an irreplaceable resource in the Central Connecticut region. An example of an active open space similar to the one proposed can be found on Avon Mountain on Metropolitan District Commission land straddling the towns of Avon, West Hartford, Farmington and Bloomfield.

As the first step toward this "regional park" this plan strongly recommends that a corridor along the Blue Blazed Mattabesset Trail be preserved permanently as open space. This corridor should run from the southern to the northern extreme of the study area and traverse the Chauncey Peak and Lamentation Mountain ridgelines. This will ensure permanent access to the ridgeline for hikers, preserve the beauty of the ridgeline from below, and protect the rare species identified in the Natural Resource Inventory. To accomplish this objective, the State and each municipality should direct open space preservation funds towards this area. Furthermore, consideration must be given to creative strategies that allow for formal conservation easement and/or the purchase or transfer of development rights to lower elevations. Access points to the trails should be formalized and publicized so as to attract more visitors to this precious resource. Until a permanent corridor is formed, each municipality should work cooperatively with landowners and the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association to insure the long-term existence and accessibility of the many formal and informal trails on the mountain. The following findings and recommendations outline the actions necessary to implement this plan and create the Tri-Town Open Space Corridor/Regional Park.

 

 

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