Lenz opposes Banquet Facility on “The Preserve” Cries “Sour Grapes” on Orange Vineyard

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Aug 022013

An aerial view of 393 Derby Ave. aka "the Preserve"

An aerial view of 393 Derby Ave. aka “the Preserve”

This is a press release from the Orange Democrats.

Democratic First Selectman candidate Ken Lenz today said he would vigorously oppose any attempt by a developer to construct a commercial banquet facility on “The Preserve” on Route 34 in Orange. Lenz said he is concerned that many nearby homeowners are fearful about their property values, the traffic congestion and noise such a business would generate.

Lenz said “One of the advantages of having a Comprehensive Town Plan is that it lays out a vision for the community.  Nowhere in that vision was there supposed to be a banquet facility, or any other commercial endeavor on property that was a retreat facility once owned by the Legionnaires of Christ.”

Lenz is responding to concerns of neighbors  who informed him that Stellato Realty, LLC has conferred with town officials and unveiled plans for “The Windmill Vineyards” at 403 Derby Avenue. “It is bad enough that the owner has clear cut a tremendous amount of land on what they call “The Preserve,” but now they want to put a 15,000 square foot commercial facility on what was going to be a vineyard and three renovated single family homes”, Lenz said.

The developers are the owners of another large catering hall in Hamden and are proposing to create a similar facility on the property located on Rt. 34 between Orange Center and Racebrook Roads.

“The neighbors are concerned and rightfully so, that they will have to deal with noise, traffic and large crowds in their backyards.  This property abuts many homes on Racebrook Road, Green Hill Road, Walnut Hill Road and others. Is this the same developer who said a year ago that Orange will be very happy with the finished product? Well these neighbors and many of us in town are not happy!” retorted Lenz.

“First, the owners applied to Plan and Zoning under one premise, and then did what they wanted by clear cutting the land. A project of this size would not even be feasible without the possibility of a sewer connection which was permitted when Fieldstone Village was started four years ago. This was approved over the strong objections of many residents who live along the Grassy Hill Road/Derby Avenue (Route 34) corridor, and now their worst fears are being realized.

“This is a bad plan and further opens a “Pandora’s Box” of potential congregate housing development along Route 34 by extending public sanitary sewers further into Orange.  The time to take action is now. Let this developer know that this residential zone will not be changed and make them stick to their original proposal for a vineyard and renovating the existing houses,” Lenz concluded.