The Town Council learned Monday that the developer of the Foundry has applied for a demolition permit, a move that drew criticism from one resident at the council's meeting. Comments by resident James Zagroba about the integrity of the council's involvement with the Foundry visibly irked Mayor Anthony LaRosa.
Zagroba said the council "betrayed" Rocky Hill residents by not doing enough to make sure the Foundry was developed as open space. He said he was also upset with how the Foundry negotiations were handled in "the darkness of executive session."
LaRosa took umbrage with those comments and said the council tried to take the Foundry under eminent domain. However, the town lost that effort in court and had to enter into negotiations with the developer.
"We did everything within our power to get that to happen," LaRosa said. He added that he realized the neighborhood had raised a lot of money and were focused on keeping the land as open space.
"We've always been looking for more open space," said LaRosa, who attended some of the neighborhood's fundraisers. "Unfortunately, we lost putting a park down there."
One resident said there is a rumor the demolition will stop after the $425,000 the town is putting toward the project is used up. The mayor said that accusation is false and the money will be paid in thirds to the developer after each of the three phases of the demolition is completed.
Town Manager Barbara Gilbert said the developer has agreed there will be no demolition traffic on Riverview Road and Pratt Street. Trucks will only travel on Glastonbury Avenue, which is a state road.
"I could not deny them access to that road," Gilbert said.
Gilbert informed the council that the owner plans to reuse some of the building's bricks and thus the Foundry could not be condemned. If the building was condemned, all the materials would have to be disposed.
Representatives of the Foundry's developer submitted an application for a demolition permit on Friday. However, the town staff wanted changes made to the application, including provisions for the truck routes and dust. The developer agreed with the changes and resubmitted the application Monday morning. The application needs to be approved by the building official.
Gilbert said the owner must pay the taxes owed on the Meadow Road portion of the property before they can obtain a demolition permit.
Northeast Utilities and the Metropolitan District Commission have signed off on the demolition, however they have not submitted letters to the town yet. The state Department of Public Health did a walk-through of the property as well, Gilbert stated.