THOMASTON — The Economic Development Commission, meeting on Monday, August 12, discussed updates on the parking survey, business happenings and public comments regarding MJW Services, LLC.
Following a previous discussion about parking problems in Thomaston, Chairman Jeff Dunn explained that the development district parking survey had been sent to the members of the EDC.
Once the survey has been completed and evaluated by members of the commission, it will be sent to the public.
Mr. Dunn aims to share the survey with the community and get the public’s input on the current state of parking in downtown Thomaston.
The discussion moved to the development of a “convenience/humidor tobacco/ice cream store” moving into the Fuller Building, according to Economic Development Commission Liaison Stacey Sefcik.
Public hearings are scheduled to discuss applications from the business regarding an apartment above the store, and the size of the signage that the owner would like to use which exceeds the limit permitted.
The signage requires a special permit under the specified regulations.
Currently the owner has proposed three 8x2 foot signs to be seen along the route as well as a variety of window signs that are being reviewed.
A discussion ensued about the development of the business.
Member Amanda Burch explained that it might be helpful to attract new businesses. Although there was some controversy, there is an overall sense of positivity for its arrival.
“I have mixed feelings on it too,” said Mr. Dunn, “because I’m thrilled to see the building being used instead of the old merchandise.”
In reference to the signage being put in by the owner, member Lissa Jennings said, “We don’t necessarily want to regulate the signage but we certainly should want to maintain a certain aesthetic.”
Ms. Sefcik added that it is a special permit that requires a public hearing which means that the community will be able to voice their comments and concerns.
The meeting concluded with public comments from Megan Hill and Ted Williams, the owners of MJW Services, LLC.
They said that they recently purchased 37 acres of M1 zoned property on 1617 Waterbury Rd. They recently received approval for a special permit that allows earth recycling. They are currently selling topsoil and millings and are beginning to bring in equipment to recycle materials properly.
Ms. Hill and Mr. Williams hope to give back to the community with projects like the Naugatuck River Greenway by sorting material from their facility. Their goal is to work material now, save up money and eventually look into putting commercial buildings up and creating a business, depending on public demand.
They have received scrutiny from surrounding neighbors about hours of operation and noise and traffic.
When applying for the permit, they verbally asked for an allowance of operations 24/7 because it allowed the town to bring millings of concrete and asphalt via Route 8 to their facilities to recycle.
A special meeting is scheduled to discuss the operating hours because Mr. Williams verbally asked for 24/7 hours.
It is important to their business because MJW would need to bring milling material and materials for water and sewage in at night. The engineer submitted weekday hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekend hours of 6 a.m. to noon.
In regard to the noise complaints, Ms. Hill and Mr. Williams live on a state road that has received heavy traffic for years as opposed to the neighbor who is submitting the biggest complaint lives on an M1 lot 900 feet away from the MJW facility.
“I didn’t try to hide this: this is what I wanted to do,” said Ted Williams. Ms. Hill and Mr. Williams said that they want to bring business and make the town of Thomaston better. Mr. Hill explained that this was the first time that they bought property on a M1 lot.
They sought support from the Economic Development Commission so that they can continue their business, adding that they went through the proper channels to get appropriate authorization before buying the land. “We are one of the few facilities in the area that actually has this special permit,” said Ms. Hill.
Resident Paul Yoos said he thought it was clear to him that they were talking about 24/7 hours of operation and he understood that the milling crushing would not be done every day and that it is acceptable for a 12 hour period.
He said that would only be enough time for customer service hours.
That would not account for the time it would take to operate and maintain their facility. He believes that it is unfair for Ms. Hill and Mr. Williams to be scrutinized for trying to run a reputable business when they completed their applications properly.