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New Canaan Housing Plan Draws Traffic Concerns

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Traffic, parking, density and the safety of children were among the issues raised by neighbors of a proposed housing complex planned for the old Jelliff Mill property.

Dozens of residents filled the New Canaan Town Hall Auditorium on Tuesday for the continuation of a public hearing on the applications by 47 Jelliff Mill LLC as well as Bryan and Cheryl Gardiner to transform their properties into space for two buildings that would host 16 townhouses.

Pete Wray, who lives on Bickford Lane, worries about increased traffic on Jelliff Mill Road and Route 106 with the development as well as how many people would live there. Wray said he appreciates that someone wants to build affordable housing units but said the plan's current scope needs to be changed. “It isn’t the five affordable units that I’m worried about, but the 11 others,” Wray said.

Christine Bonarrigo, who lives on Spring Water Lane and teaches at New Canaan High School, doubted claims that not many children would live in the townhouses. The project should include a play area for kids who live there and well as better safeguards for children, she said. “We have some big concerns here with regard to another population that needs to be addressed,” Bonarrigo said.

Jim Cole, chairman of the New Canaan Police Commission, said the garages on the east side of the property could pose a sight issue for travel on the road. Fire trucks might have difficulty getting onto the property, he said. And he questioned the size of the parking spaces in the lot.

Sharat Kalluri of CDM Smith in New Haven, who analyzed area traffic, said the sharp S-curve on Jelliff Mill Road near the property should be investigated because some vehicles don’t stay in their lane.

Timothy Hollister, the attorney representing 47 Jelliff Mill LLC, said he will answer several questions when the public hearing continues March 13. The Inland Wetlands Commission, which is also reviewing the housing plan, will continue its hearing Monday.

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