Glastonbury Residents Picket Apartment Building Proposal

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GLASTONBURY — A plan to convert a former cigar company warehouse into an apartment complex continued to get a mixed reaction from residents Tuesday.

The public hearing was the second on L.A.C. Group LLC’s plan to turn the former Consolidated Cigar Corp warehouse at 38 Hubbard St. into 40 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment units. On Tuesday night, an even larger overflow crowd packed into council chambers in town hall to give their views.

The commission hadn’t taken a vote late Tuesday after more than two hours of listening to speakers.

Much of the discussion continued to focus on the building’s location next to the historic Hubbard Green, where the town’s war memorials sit. The area is popular with walkers and people who like to sit on benches or visit the Historical Society of Glastonbury’s museum.

Main Street resident Jim Bennett, executive director of the society, said the green was used to muster troops for the Revolutionary War and a place to keep pigs, goats and chickens. He added he believes the developer has a right to develop the property, but suggested a smaller scale.

“The density rules everything else,” he said. “The 40 units is way too much. … This will impact the green.”

“These apartments will be a glorified dorm room,” added resident Susan Motycka. “They will use our beautiful green as a campus. This is not an asset to our community.”

Others said the building would bring much-needed housing to the center of town, especially for young adults looking to move into Glastonbury. Resident Greg Kelly said the developer has met the town’s criteria for parking and noted that a traffic study found no impacts.

“Clearly this project is an asset to the town,” he said. “These hearings have been fraught with conjecture and speculation.”

“This is not going to be a detriment,” added resident Karen Martin. “This will be an enhancement.”

Resident Gary Warner said the developer could take the building and turn it into an affordable housing complex, something Warner said he “wouldn’t care to have in our neighborhood.”

The developer is seeking a favorable recommendation from the commission to the council. The next step would be for the council — the town’s zoning authority — to hold a public hearing and vote on the project later this spring. The council is not bound by the commission’s recommendation.

“We live in the biggest small town in Connecticut,” resident Cheryl Newton said. “We don’t need to provide housing that is so densely packed.”

Ilene Gruenberg said she collected more than 200 signatures against the proposal. She said the proposal is “city-style” apartments on a historic town green.

“There are no other historic greens with apartment buildings on them,” she said.

Attorney Peter J. Alter said the developer’s Warehouse 38 On The Green project would consist of 12 two-bedroom apartments and 28 one-bedroom apartments. The building would return to its early 20th-century configuration.

By Peter Marteka, Hartford Courant.

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