Feb. 07–The town plan and zoning commission is trying to determine the best route for trucks trying to access a proposed gravel operation along Dug Road.
William Dufford is hoping to mine 210,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel from a 10-acre parcel between Dug Road and Tryon Street in South Glastonbury. Residents along Duffords Landing, directly west of the proposed operation, are upset at the prospect of more than 12,000 trucks traveling through their small development.
The proposed route has trucks traveling from the gravel operation behind a pair of houses and then down their steep shared driveway to Duffords Landing — a short cul-de-sac — then on to Tryon Street. William Dufford, who developed Duffords Landing, lives just south of the development.
Virginia Blair, who owns a house at the end of the cul-de-sac, said at a public hearing this week that she opposed the plan to use the driveway and street as a “heavy construction machinery thoroughfare.” She purchased her home nearly four years ago after “being charmed by the lovely, quiet setting.”
“The thought of it is as upsetting as it is ludicrous,” she said of the trucking route. “Our children play here. Our neighbors’ children play here and this is a residential area, not an industrial district. … How grossly irresponsible would this decision be?
“If this land was to be utilized as an industrial gravel quarry zone, then so be it,” she added. “But do not sell it to profit and turn around years later as an industrial thoroughfare. This issue exemplifies zoning at its worst. … I urge you to use logic and pure common sense.”
Chairwoman Sharon H. Purtill asked the developer’s attorney, Meghan Hope, to return to the commission with other options for a truck route.
“We aren’t going to make everyone happy,” Purtill said. “But we need to try and get his right to develop his property and balance that with the neighbors. And balance that with the roads and the trucks and try and see if there is some way to resolve this.”
Over much of the past decade, trucks have entered past gravel operations at the site along Main Street to Dug Road. The filled trucks drove west along Dug Road and then exited north along Tryon Street. Sgt. Jeffrey Hodder, supervisor of the police department’s traffic division, said the division supported the new route in order to give Dug Road residents a break.
The residents of Dug Road bore the brunt of the truck traffic over the past years, he said, adding, “One of the suggestions was to split it up so there’s not 24,000 trucks going in and out of Dug Road at the same place. … It’s clear the Dug Road route has been working. It’s just a matter of if the commission wants to keep putting the residents on Dug Road through that same thing for four more years.”
Trucks travel north along Tryon Street to an intersection with traffic signals at Water Street and Main Street, giving the truck traffic “an opportunity to safely pull out into Main Street.”
Commission member Raymond Hassett suggested that the trucks enter and exit through Dufford’s property directly to the south of Duffords Landing and avoid Dug Road and Duffords Landing altogether. His suggestion was met with loud applause and cheers from the audience. Hope said she will ask Dufford about the viability of that route.
Beth Ann Dufford Couture, daughter of William Dufford, said she reached out to neighbors before the meeting. When the gravel operation is complete, Dufford plans to build a subdivision on the property.
“My father’s intention was to meet with everyone so they could ask him questions directly.” she said. “Not that the answers would always be good, but at least they had the chance to speak with him.”
No decision was made Tuesday and the public hearing is scheduled to continue at the commission’s Feb. 20 meeting.
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