Vessel still seeking IWWC approval

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Septic system versus sewer hookup a critical issue

In late 2023, Vessel RE Holdings, LLC and Vessel Technologies, Inc., applied for an Inland Wetlands and Watercourses (IWWC) permit for a septic system and groundwater runoff system as part of a 47-unit multi-family development at 37 Hartford Ave. The 2.5-acre site abuts an extensive wetland that extends to Salmon Brook. The possible pollution from storm runoff and septic seepage containing nitrates, requires IWWC permits before the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) can consider the proposal.

The original application was withdrawn. An amended 42-unit plan was submitted, including a reengineered septic system and a revised parking lot location. Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD) and Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) approvals for the reengineered system, were missing.

Vessel’s attorney, Timothy Hollister, answering commissioners’ questions, has repeatedly stated Vessel was awaiting DPH and FVHD approvals. On March 13, Hollister reversed that statement saying that Vessel engineers were finalizing the septic system design and would submit the plans to DPH and FVHD soon. He requested the hearing be continued to April.

With the IWWC decision pending, Vessel representatives met with Granby’s Development Commission and scheduled, and then withdrew from, a meeting with P&Z on March 12. P&Z has penciled in a presentation and public hearing in late April on the condition IWWC approves and issues the required permits.

The proposed septic system versus a town sewer hookup is a critical issue being questioned by abutters and the public. Vessel contends that connecting to the sewer at Bank Street, as was required for Rushford Meade, is excessively expensive. A resident, Curtis Johnson, disagrees and presented a construction cost breakdown to back his opinion. Hollister was asked how many of the four Vessel developments in Connecticut have septic systems. He replied, “none.”

Most of those other projects met vehement disapproval from townspeople. Two towns denied approval and were sued by Vessel. Both towns ultimately negotiated approvals. Granby is the only application dependent upon wetland impacts and protecting Salmon Brook, a Federally designated and protected stream.

The IWWC may reach a decision at its next meeting on April 10. Further information on this project can be found at  Click on Agendas and Minutes and scroll to either IWWC or P&Z.