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Kodiak01 t1_j19olce wrote

If on desktop browser, hit Ctrl-P to bring up the print view before the paywall pops up. You can then read the entire text in that window.

A Glastonbury homeowner is suing the town council, claiming it never should have authorized a developer to build 30 condominiums in a former warehouse along a busy local road.

Council members abused their discretion when they agreed to change the zoning of the old Consolidated Cigar warehouse on Hubbard Street, according to Leonard Factor’s lawsuit.

Changing the zoning last winter cleared the way for JS Advisors LLC, a Wallingford-based developer, to begin converting the building into condos. Nearby homeowners complained at the time that the project would worsen traffic, and Factor’s suit cites that as one of the reasons for the court to rescind municipal permits allowing the conversion. The council approved the project by an 8-1 vote last January, a decision he wants reversed.

Factor’s suit in Hartford Superior Court contends that adding 30 condos on a parcel of just 1.2 acres will diminish the value of his home next door. “The value of the property owned by plaintiff, and the use and enjoyment of his property, are adversely impacted by the council’s decision allowing for construction of the proposed development,” according to the suit filed by Factor’s attorneys, Timothy Herbst and Barbara Schellenberg of the Marino, Zabel & Schellenberg, PLLC.

The suit names the town council and JS Advisors as defendants; both have filed responses in court denying Factor’s allegations. This week, Judge Edward O’Hanlan directed attorneys for Factor, the council and JS Advisors to submit briefs in January.

The former Consolidated Cigar Corp. warehouse in Glastonbury in 2018. (Peter Marteka) Listen to this article

The property at the heart of the suit has been involved in controversy before. Consolidated Cigar built the roughly 50,000-square-foot warehouse in the early 1900s to store and pack tobacco, and the company went on to become Glastonbury’s biggest taxpayer for many years. It owned as much as 1,900 acres of tobacco fields in town in 1976, but left Glastonbury as the shade tobacco industry in Connecticut dwindled in the 1980s.

The three-story building at 38 Hubbard St. was considered for apartments nearly a decade ago, but neighbors argued that the proposal was simply too big for the neighborhood. Opponents rounded up 200 signatures on petitions for town planners to reject the proposal.

L.A.C. Group LLC had sought permission for 40 units, a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, but the council approved only 31.

L.A.C.’s attorney said at the time that while 40 units were economically viable, it was unclear whether the company could construct just 31 profitably. Ultimately the project wasn’t built.

Last year, JS Advisors put forward a new plan, this one for building condos instead of apartments. Neighbors told the plan and zoning commission as well as the council that the scale was too large for the residential zone where the old warehouse stands.

The council set several conditions for development but approved changing the property to an Adaptive Redevelopment Zone. Factor’s suit contends that town planners wanted density and parking caps to be considered when evaluating proposals in the ARZ, but the council didn’t follow through.

“Had the regulations been properly amended in accordance with the commission’s unanimous recommendation, the council would have been obligated to consider an entirely different standard for density in connection with the applicant’s proposed development,” according to the suit.


blu_crab t1_j1a3ghk wrote

Just looked up the plaintiff in the Glastonbury GIS. If he's so concerned about his property value, he may want to start by doing some basic maintenance, such as painting, of his own property, before telling other folks what to do with theirs.


Kodiak01 t1_j1a3pyt wrote

I'm going to ask my SIL and her hubby about this one as well. I know hubby is involved somewhat with local politics there.