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Housing Proposed for Jelliff Mill Site

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – A new plan to redevelop the site of the old Jelliff Mill property into housing is on the books.

Bryan and Cheryl Gardiner, owners of the property at 41 Jelliff Mill Road and 47 Jelliff Mill LLC want to demolish the former mill building and a nearby home to build a pair of buildings that will host 16 townhouses. The town’s Inland Wetlands Commission was informed of the application during its meeting Monday.

Timothy Hollister, the attorney representing 47 Jelliff Mill LLC, said the property owners wanted to go to in a new direction from the previous plans. An application to transform the building into office space met with resistance from neighbors in the summer of 2010.

The owners “spent a lot time trying to very carefully design the proposal they’re putting forth now. It will look better than the flat, one-story block commercial industrial warehouse,” Hollister said. “We hope to explain it to the town and the neighborhood, and that’s what we’ll do in a couple of weeks."

The original Jelliff Mill had stood on the Jelliff Mill Pond since the early 18th century. But when a fire destroyed the building in 1949, the owners replaced it with a concrete structure to prevent another blaze. The neighborhood surrounding the building now is zoned as residential, but the mill was grandfathered in and allowed to operate as an industrial property.

Both the Inland Wetlands Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission are expected to hold public hearings on the project. Town Planner Steven Kleppin expects the Planning and Zoning Commission to hold its hearing next month, though the planning office has not received 47 Jelliff Mill’s application. Hollister said he should file the planning and zoning application by Thursday.

Hollister said the new project would have a low impact design, and the amount of stormwater discharge from the new development would be reduced.

Carolyn Reynolds, who lives uphill from the old mill, said she would welcome a residence or an office area. She opposed previous plans to build a restaurant on the property, fearing heavy traffic and the presence of rodents.

“I’d have no problem" with townhouses, she said. “It sounds like a good idea.”

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