CHESTER-– A town meeting vote, and a second public hearing before the planning and zoning commission, will be required for a requested revision to the town plan of conservation and development that could allow Aaron Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to pursue the option of connecting to the town sewer system.
At the commission’s Oct. 10 meeting, Chairman Jon Lavy announced that a second public hearing would be required for the nursing facility’s petition because the full language for the five requested revisions to the 2009 plan had not been provided to the board of selectmen for review a required 65 days before the commission opened it’s public hearing on the petition on Sept. 12. In a related development, First Selectman Edmund Meehan said Tuesday he has confirmed that a town meeting discussion and vote are required before the planning and zoning commission can consider the requested changes to the town plan. The board of selectmen is expected to schedule a mid-November town meeting on the town plan revisions requested by Aaron Manor.
The nursing facility located off Route 148 has been under a state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection order for more than two years to upgrade a failing septic system that serves the facility. The town’s inland-wetlands commission earlier this year had asked representatives of Aaron Manor to explore the option of connecting to the town sewer system before pursuing a wetlands permit application for a new and more complex on site sewage disposal system.
Revisions to the town plan are needed for any expansion of the sewer system, which now serves the downtown village and areas running south on Route 154 to the Deep River town line. Alvin Wolfgram, engineer for Aaron Manor, had said at the Sept. 12 public hearing that connecting the nursing facility to the terminus of the existing sewer system, a distance of about 1.5 miles along Route 148, is feasible but very costly. Wolfgram added that constructing a new system on the Aaron Manor property would also be very costly.
Meehan said the town meeting on the requested town plan revisions would include a vote that would be advisory for the planning and zoning commission. If voters at the town meeting reject the requested revisions, it would then require a two-thirds majority, six votes on the nine-member panel, for the commission to further consider the Aaron Manor request. The commission has scheduled a second and “official”" public hearing on the Aaron Manor town plan revisions for Thursday Dec. 12.