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Glastonbury Avalon Plan Back To The Drawing Board Again

Peter Marteka
Contact ReporterNature's Path & Way To Go

GLASTONBURY — In April, developer John A. Sakon went before the town planning and zoning commission with a proposal to add two more buildings to his Shoppes at Avalon project. The meeting lasted 45 minutes before the commission deemed the application incomplete.

On Tuesday, Sakon returned to the commission for a public hearing on a special permit for building expansion totaling 1,365 square feet and construction of 571 parking spaces. The result was the same — the commission determined that the application was incomplete.

Sakon spent much of the time at the hearing using a basic site map of the project. He used a marker to note the changes in parking, landscaping and pavement. He also spoke about relocating a garbage dumpster and catch basins. The commission was not pleased with a lack of engineered site plans.

"There's not enough detail," commission Chairwoman Sharon Purtill said. "For me there is not enough information. This is a big project to be on a little piece of paper with black and red marks."

After about an hour of discussion, Sakon said he will return with site plans that can be reviewed by town staff. He also criticized the commission for "failing" to work with him.

"We've been in this process for 8-10 years," he said about proposals to develop a 13-acre north Glastonbury parcel bordered by Main Street, Griswold Street and Route 3. "I assume the town wants this built so it can collect the $700,000 in taxes. ... I just want to take the dumpster where it doesn't work and move it to where it works.

"I want the commission to work with me," he added. "I don't want to waste time and money."

Retired Community Development Director Kenith E. Leslie, who returned to assist the commission during the meeting, said the town has had a protocol in place for years and "it works."

"This is not a final application," he said. "We don't have all the components."

Commission member Raymond Hassett said that "great headway" was made in the past year to get the 94,640-square-foot retail and restaurant development approved. Sakon has hired Diggs Construction of Hartford to build Avalon. It is intended to feature upscale restaurants and stores similar to West Hartford's Blue Back Square and South Windsor's Evergreen Walk. But the site remains vacant with little construction activity.

"You've received strong suggestions and opinions from people on this commission. I'm not sure why there has been so much resistance. We've given you good suggestions and partnered with you on this," Hassett said.

"We would like to move forward," Sakon said. "We would like to start construction. Financially, we can't deal with the extended time line each minor change will take. It's easier to take one step toward a 1,000-mile journey than to take a 1,000-mile leap."

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